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People Vs Oanis Facts: Chief of Police Oanis and his co-accused Corporal Galanta were under instructions to arrest

one Balagtas, a notorious criminal and escaped convict, and if overpowered, to get hi dead or alive. Proceeding to the suspected house, they went into a room and on seeing a man sleeping with his back toward the door, simultaneously fired at him with their revolvers, without first making any reasonable inquiry as to his identity. The victim turned out to be an innocent man, Tecson, and not the wanted criminal.. Held: Both accused are guilty of murder Ratio: Even if it were true that the victim was the notorious criminal, the accused would not be justified in killing him while the latter was sleeping. In apprehending even the most notorious criminal, the law does not permit the captor to kill him. It is only when the fugitive from justice is determined to fight the officers of law who are trying to capture him that killing him would be justified.

U.S vs. Ah Chong

Facts: Ah Chong was a cook in Ft. McKinley. He was afraid of bad elements. One evening, before going to bed, he locked himself in his room by placing a chair against the door. After having gone to bed, he was awakened by someone trying to open the door. He called out twice, Who is there, but received no answer. Fearing that the intruder was a robber, he leaped from his bed & called out again, If you enter the room I will kill you. But at that precise moment, he was struck by the chair that had been placed against the door, & believing that he was being attacked he seized a kitchen knife & struck & fatally wounded the intruder who turned out to be his roommate. Held: Ah Chong must be acquitted because of mistake of fact.

US vs Valdez
The case of U.S. vs. Valdez, 41 Phil. 497 (1921), is analogous. In that case, the accused had brandished a big knife at the victim while they were on a small boat in the Pasig River. Before the accused reached the victim at the bow of the boat, the latter, believing his life in danger, threw himself into the water, disappeared beneath the surface and was seen no more. The accused therein was convicted of Homicide.
If a person against whom a criminal assault is directed reasonably believes himself to be in danger of death or great bodily harm and in order to escape jumps into the water, impelled by the instinct of self preservation, the assailant is responsible for homicide in case death results by drowning. 18

Another US vs Valdez
Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC DECISION

March 22, 1921 G.R. No. L-16486 THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appelle, vs. CALIXTO VALDEZ Y QUIRI, defendant-appellant. Angel Roco for appellant. Acting Attorney-General Feria for appellee. Street, J.: The rather singular circumstances attending the commission of the offense of homicide which is under discussion in the present appeal are these: At about noon, on November 29, 1919, while the interisland steamer Vigan was anchored in the Pasig River a short distance from the lighthouse and not far from where the river debouches into the Manila Bay, a small boat was sent out to raise the anchor. The crew of this boat consisted of the accused, Calixto Valdez y Quiri, and six others among whom was the deceased, Venancio Gargantel. The accused was in charge of the men and stood at the stern of the boat, acting as helmsman, while Venancio Gargantel was at the bow. The work raising the anchor seems to have proceeded too slowly to satisfy the accused, and he accordingly began to abuse the men with offensive epithets. Upon this Venancio Gargantel remonstrated, saying that it would be better, and they would work better, if he would not insult them. The accused took this remonstrance as a display of insubordination; and rising in rage he moved towards Venancio, with a big knife in hand, threatening to stab him. At the instant when the accused had attained to within a few feet of Venancio, the latter, evidently believing himself in great and immediate peril, threw himself into the water and disappeared beneath its surface to be seen no more. The boat in which this incident took place was at the time possibly 30 or 40 yards from shore and was distant, say, 10 paces from the Vigan. Two scows were moored to the shore, but between these and the boat intervened a space which may be estimated at 18 or 20 yards. At it was full midday, and there was nothing to obstruct the view of persons upon the scene, the failure of Venancio Gargantel to rise to the surface conclusively shows that, owing to his possible inability to swim or the strength of the current, he was borne down into the water and was drowned. Two witnesses who were on the boat state that, immediately after Venancio leaped into the water, the accused told the remaining members of the crew to keep quiet or he would kill them. For this reason they made no movement looking to rescue; but inasmuch as there witnesses are sure that Venancio did not again come to the surface, efforts at rescue would have been fruitless. The fact that the accused at his juncture threatened the crew with violence is, therefore, of no moment except tho show the temporary excitement under which he was laboring.

On the next day one of the friends of Venancio Gargantel posted himself near the lighthouse to watch for the body, in the hope that it might come to the surface and could thus be recovered. Though his friendly vigil lasted three days nothing came of it. It may be added that Venancio has not returned to his lodging in Manila, where he lived as a bachelor in the house of an acquaintance; and his personal belongings have been delivered to a representative of his mother who lives in the Province of Iloilo. His friends and relatives, it is needless to say, take it for granted that he is dead. The circumstances narrated above are such in our opinion as to exclude all reasonable possibility that Venancio Gargantel may have survived; and we think that the trial judge did not err in holding that he is dead and that he came to his death by drowning under the circumstances stated. The proof is direct that he never rose to the surface after jumping into the river, so far as the observers could see; and this circumstance, coupled with the known fact that human life must inevitably be extinguished by asphyxiation under water, is conclusive of his death. The possibility that he might have swum ashore, after rising in a spot hidden from the view of his companions, we consider too remote to be entertained for a moment. As to the criminal responsibility of the accused for the death thus occasioned the likewise can be no doubt; for it is obvious that the deceased, in throwing himself in the river, acted solely in obedience to the instinct of self-preservation and was in no sense legally responsible for his own death. As to him it was but the exercise of a choice between two evils, and any reasonable person under the same circumstances might have done the same. As was once said by a British court, If a man creates in another mans mind an immediate sense of dander which causes such person to try to escape, and in so doing he injuries himself, the person who creates such a state of mind is responsible for the injuries which result. (Reg. vs. Halliday, 61 L. T. Rep. [N.S.], 701. In this connection a pertinent decision from the Supreme Court of Spain, of July 13, 1882, is cited in the brief of The Attorney-General, as follows: It appeared that upon a certain occasion an individual, after having inflicted sundry injuries upon another with a cutting weapon, pointed a shotgun at the injured person and to escape the discharge the latter had to jump into a river where he perished by drowning. The medical authorities charged with conducting the autopsy found that only one of the wounds caused by a cut could have resulted in the death of the injured person, supposing that he had received no succour, and that by throwing himself in the river he in fact died of asphyxia from submersion. Having been convicted as the author of the homicide, the accused alleged upon appeal that he was only guilty of the offense of inflicting serious physical injuries, or at most of frustrated homicide. The Supreme Court, disallowing the appeal, enunciated the following doctrine: That even though the death of the injured person should not be considered as the exclusive and necessary effect of the very grave wound which almost completely severed his axillary artery, occasioning a hemorrhage impossible to stanch under the circumstances in which that person was placed, nevertheless as the persistence of the aggression of the accused compelled his adversary, in order to escape the attack, to leap into the river, an act which the accused forcibly compelled the injured person to do after having inflicted, among others, a mortal wound upon him and as the aggressor by

said attack manifested a determined resolution to cause the death of the deceased, by depriving him of all possible help and putting him in the very serious situation narrated in the decision appealed from, the trial court, in qualifying the act prosecuted as consummated homicide, did not commit any error of law, as the death of the injured person was due to the act of the accused. (II Hidalgo, Codigo Penal, p. 183.) The accused must, therefore, be considered the responsible author of the death of Venancio Gargantel, and he was properly convicted of the offense of homicide. The trial judge appreciated as an attenuating circumstance the fact that the offender had no intention to commit so great a wrong as that committed. (Par. 3, art. 9 Penal Code.) In accordance with this finding the judge sentenced the accused to undergo imprisonment for twelve years and one day, reclusion temporal, to suffer the corresponding accessories, to indemnify the family of the deceased in the sum of P500, and to pay the costs. Said sentenced is in accordance with law; and it being understood that the accessories appropriate to the case are those specified in article 59 of the Penal Code, the same is affirmed, with costs against the appellant. So ordered. Mapa, C.J., Malcolm, Avancea and Villamor, JJ., concur.

People vs Almonte
Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. 42607 September 28, 1935

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JUAN QUIANZON, defendant-appellant. Pedro B. Pobre for appellant. Office of the Solicitor-General Hilado for appellee. RECTO, J.: Charged with and convicted of the crime of homicide in the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Norte, and sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of from six years and one day of prision mayor, as minimum to fourteen years, seven months and one day of reclusion temporal, as maximum, Juan Quianzon appeal to this court for the review of the case. On February 1, 1934, a novena for the suffrage of the soul of the deceased person was being held in the house of Victoria Cacpal in a barrio, near the poblacion, of the municipality of Paoay, Ilocos Norte, with the usual attendance of the relatives and friends. The incident that led to the filling of these charges took place between 3 to 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Andres Aribuabo, one of the

persons present, went to ask for food of Juan Quianzon, then in the kitchen, who, to all appearances, had the victuals in his care. It was the second or third time that Aribuabo approached Quianzon with the same purpose whereupon the latter, greatly peeved, took hold of a firebrand and applied ran to the place where the people were gathered exclaiming that he is wounded and was dying. Raising his shirt, he showed to those present a wound in his abdomen below the navel. Aribuabo died as a result of this wound on the tenth day after the incident. There is no conflict between the prosecution and the defense as regards the foregoing facts. The question to be determined is who wounded Aribuabo. The prosecution claims that it was Juan Quianzon and, to prove it, called Simeon Cacpal, Roman Bagabay, Gregorio Dumlao and Julian Llaguno to the witness stand. The first witness, Simeon Cacpal, claims to have witnessed the wounding of Andres Aribuabo in the abdomen by Juan Quianzon. However, we find the testimony of this witness so improbable, incongruent and contradictory that we consider meritorious the claim of the defense that it was an error of the lower court to have taken it into consideration in formulating the findings of its judgment. Not so with respect to the testimony of the other witnesses. Roman Bagabay, one of the persons present at said gathering, testified that he saw Juan Quianzon apply a firebrand to the neck of Andres Aribuabo who shortly afterwards went toward the place where the witness and the other guests were gathered, telling that he was wounded and was going to die and naming Juan Quianzon as the person who wounded him. He also testified that Juan Quianzon, upon being asked immediately by him about the incident, admitted to him attacked Aribuabo with a bamboo spit. Gregorio Dumalao, a barrio lieutenant, who, upon being informed of the incident, forthwith conducted an investigation, questioned Aribuabo and the latter told him that it was the accused who had wounded him. He likewise questioned the accused and the latter, in turn, stated that he had wounded the deceased with a bamboo spit. Upon being brought before Juan Llaguno, chief of police of Paoay, for questioning, Quianzon confessed to Llaguno that he had applied a firebrand to Aribuabo's neck and had later wounded him with a bamboo spit. Before the chief of police could put this confession of Quianzon in writing, the later retracted, denying that he had wounded Aribuabo, for which reason in the affidavit Exhibit B the fact of having applied a firebrand to Aribuabo's neck appears admitted by Quianzon but not of having wounded the deceased with a bamboo spit. The disinterestedness of these three witnesses for the prosecution, Bagabay, Dumalo and Llaguno, is not questioned by the defense. Neither the accused, in his testimony, nor his counsel, in the brief filed by him in this court, was able to assign any unlawful, corrupt or wicked motive that might have actuated them to testify falsely in this case and knowingly bring about the imprisonment of an innocent person. Bagabay is not even a relative of the deceased. Dumlao, the barrio lieutenant, is a nephew of the accused. Llaguno, chief of police of Paoay, is an officer of the law whose intervention of this case was purely in compliance with his official duties. All the appellant has been able to state in his brief to question the credibility of these witnesses is that they were contradicted by Simeon Cacpal, the other witness for the prosecution, who testified that he had not seen them speak neither to Aribuabo nor to Quianzon in the afternoon of the crime. But the position of the defense in invoking Simeon Cacpal's testimony for the purpose of discrediting the other witnesses for the prosecution is untenable, after having vigorously impeached said testimony, branding it as improbable, incongruent and contradictory. If Cacpal is a false witness and the court believes this claim of the defense as true , none of his statements may be taken into account or should exert any influence in the consideration of the other evidence in the case. After discharging testimony of Simeon Cacpal, the evidence presented by the prosecution relative to the appellant's criminal liability for the death of Andres Aribuabo, briefly consists, first, in the victim's statement immediately after receiving the wound, naming the accused as the author of the aggression, and the admission forthwith made by the accused that he had applied a firebrand to

Aribuabo's neck and had wounded him, besides, with a bamboo spit. Both statements are competent evidence in the law, admissible as a part of the res gestae(section 279 and 298, No. 7, of the Code of Civil Procedure; U.S. vs. Macuti, 26 Phil., 170; People vs. Portento and Portento, 48 Phil., 971). Second, in the extrajudicial confession of the accused to the barrio lieutenant, Dumlao, and later to the chief of police Llaguno, in the same afternoon of the crime, that he was the author of Aribuabo's wound and that he had inflicted it by means of a bamboo spit. Inasmuch as this confession, although extrajudicial, is strongly corroborated and appears to have been made by the accused freely and voluntarily, it constitutes evidence against him relative to his liability as author of the crime charged (U.S. vs. so Fo, 23 Phil., 379; Peoplevs. Cabrera, 43 Phil., 64, 82; U.S. vs. Jamino, 3 P.R.A., 52; Francisco's Quizzer on Evidence). The defense of the accused consisted simply in denying that he had wounded the deceased and that he had confessed his guilt to the witnesses Bagabay, Dumlao and Llaguno. But such denial cannot prevail against the adverse testimony of these three veracious and disinterested witnesses, all the more because neither the accused nor any other witness for the defense has stated or insinuated that another person, not the accused, might be the author of the wound which resulted in Aribuabo's death, and because it is admitted by the defense that it was the accused, whom Aribuabo had been pestering with request for food, who attacked the latter, burning his neck with a firebrand, afetr which Aribuaboappeared wounded in the abdomen, without the accused and the witnesses for the defense explaining how and by whom the aggression had been made. It is contended by the defense that even granting that it was the accused who inflicted the wound which resulted in Aribuabo's death, he should not be convicted of homicide but only of serious physical injuries because said wound was not necessarily fatal and the deceased would have survived it had he not twice removed the drainage which Dr. Mendoza had placed to control or isolate the infection. This contention is without merit. According to the physician who examined whether he could survive or not." It was a wound in the abdomen which occasionally results in traumatic peritonitis. The infection was cause by the fecal matter from the large intestine which has been perforated. The possibility, admitted by said physician that the patient might have survived said wound had he not removed the drainage, does not mean that the act of the patient was the real cause of his death. Even without said act the fatal consequence could have followed, and the fact that the patient had so acted in a paroxysm of pain does not alter the juridical consequences of the punishable act of the accused. One who inflicts an injury on another is deemed by the law to be guilty of homicide if the injury contributes mediately or immediately to the death of such other. The fact that the other causes contribute to the death does not relieve the actor of responsibility. . . . (13 R. C.L., 748.) Furthermore, it does not appear that the patient, in removing the drainage, had acted voluntarily and with the knowledge that he was performing an act prejudicial to his health, inasmuch as selfpreservation is the strongest instinct in living beings. It much be assumed, therefore, that he unconsciously did so due to his pathological condition and to his state of nervousness and restlessness on account of the horrible physical pain caused by the wound, aggravated by the contract of the drainage tube with the inflammed peritoneum. "When the peritonitis is due to traumatism, or to a perforation of the stomach, intestine or gall-bladder, etc., it is indicated by violent shivering and pain first localized at a point in the abdomen, extending later to the entire abdominal wall; acute intolerable pain, which is aggravated by the slightest movement, becoming unbearable upon contact with the hand, a rag, or the bedclothes. The pain is continuous but it gives frequent paroxysms. The abdomen is swollen, tense. Vomittings of the greenish matter, which are very annoying and terribly painful, take from the beginning and continue while the disease lasts." (XVI Spanish-America Encyclopaedic Dictionary, 176; see also XXI Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911 ed.,

171.) If to this is added the fact that the victim in this case was mentally deranged, according to the defense itself, it becomes more evident that the accused is wrong in imputing the natural consequences of his criminal act to an act of his victim. The question herein raised by the appellant has already been finally settled by jurisprudence. The Supreme Court of Spain, in a decision of April 3, 1879, said in the case similar to the present, the following: "Inasmuch as a man is responsible for the consequences of his act and in this case the physical condition and temperament of the offended party nowise lessen the evil, the seriousness whereof is to be judged, not by the violence of the means employed, but by the result actually produced; and as the wound which the appellant inflicted upon the deceased was the cause which determined his death, without his being able to counteract its effects, it is evident that the act in question should be qualified as homicide, etc." In the case of People vs. Almonte (56 Phil., 54), the abdominal wound was less serious than that received by Aribuabo in this case, as it was not penetrating, merely involving the muscular tissue. In said case the death of the victim was due to a secondary hemorrhage produced twenty-four hours after the wound had been inflicted, because of the "bodily movements of the patient, who was in a state of nervousness, sitting up in bed, getting up and pacing about the room, as as a consequence of which he internal vessels, already congested because of the wound, bled, and the hemorrhage thus produced caused his death." The court in deciding the question stated that "when a person dies in consequence of an internal hemorrhage brought on by moving about against the doctor's orders, not because of carelessness or a desire to increase the criminal liability of his assailant, but because of his nervous condition due to the wound inflicted by said assailant, the crime is homicide and not merely slight physical injuries, simply because the doctor was of the opinion that the wound might have healed in seven days." The grounds for this rule of jurisprudence are correctly set forth in 13 R.C.L., 751, as follows: While the courts may have vacilated from time to time it may be taken to be settled rule of the common law that on who inflicts an injury on another will be held responsible for his death, although it may appear that the deceased might have recovered if he had taken proper care of himself, or submitted to a surgical operation, or that unskilled or improper treatment aggravated the wound and contributed to the death, or that death was immediately caused by a surgical operation rendered necessary by the condition of the wound. The principle on which this rule is founded is one of universal application, and lies at the foundation of the criminal jurisprudence. It is, that every person is to be held to contemplate and to be responsible for the natural consequences of his own acts. If a person inflicts a wound with a deadly weapon in such a manner as to put life in jeopardy, and death follows as a consequence of this felonious and wicked act, it does not alter its nature or diminish its criminality to prove that other causes co-operated in producing the fatal result. Indeed, it may be said that neglect of the wound or its unskillful and improper treatment, which are of themselves consequences of the criminal act, which might naturally follow in any case, must in law be deemed to have been among those which were in contemplation of the guilty party, and for which he is to be held responsible. But, however, this may be, the rule surely seems to have its foundation in a wise and practical policy. A different doctrine would tend to give immunity to crime and to take away from human life a salutary and essential safeguard. Amid the conflicting theories of the medical men, and the uncertainties attendant upon the treatment of bodily ailments and injuries, it would be easy in many cases of homicide to raise a doubt as to the immediate cause of death, and thereby to open a wide door by which persons guilty of the highest crime might escape conviction and punishment.

Assuming that we should disregard Simeon Cacpal's testimony, there is no evidence of record that the crime charged was committed by means of the knife, Exhibit A, and we only have the extrajudicial admission of the accused that he had committed it by means of a bamboo spit with which the wound of the deceased might have been caused because, according to the physician who testified in this case, it was produced by a "sharp and penetrating" instrument. Inasmuch as the mitigating circumstances of lack of instruction and of intention to commit so grave a wrong as the committed should be taken into consideration in favor of the appellant, without any aggravating circumstances adverse to him, we modify the appealed judgment by sentencing him to an indeterminate penalty with a minimum of four years of prision correccional and a maximum of a eight years of prision mayor, affirming it in all other respect, with cost to said appellant. Avancea, C.J., Abad Santos, Hull, and Vickers, JJ., concur.

People Vs. Toleng

Case Digest
Complex crime PEOPLE vs TOLING FACTS: Antonio Toling and Jose Toling, twins, both married, are natives of Barrio Nenita Samar. They are illiterate farmers tilling their own lands. Antonio's daughter, Leonora, was working in Manila. Jose's three children had stayed in Manila also since 1964. Antonio decided to go to Manila after receiving a letter from Leonora telling him that she would give him money. To have money for his expenses, Antonio killed a pig and sold the meat to Jose's wife for sixty pesos. Jose decided to go with Antonio in order to see his children. He was able to raise eighty-five pesos for his expenses. Leonora gave her father fifty pesos. Antonio's grandson, gave him thirty pesos. Antonio placed the eighty pesos in the right pocket of his pants. It was then noontime After buying their tickets, they boarded the night Bicol express train at about five o'clock in the afternoon. The train left at six o'clock that evening. The twins were in coach No. 9 which


A person who commits a felony is liable for the direct, natural and logical consequences of his wrongful act even where the resulting crime is more serious than that intended. Hence, an accused who originally intended to conceal and to bury what he thought was the lifeless body of the victim can be held liable as a principal, not simply as an accessory, where it is proven that the said victim was actually alive but subsequently died as a direct result of such concealment and burial. Nonetheless, in the present case, Appellant Garcia can not be held liable as a principal because the prosecution failed to

allege such death through drowning in the Information. Neither may said appellant be held liable as an accessory due to his relationship with the principal killer, Appellant Ortega, who is his brother-in-law. Statement of the Case This case springs from the joint appeal interposed by Appellants Benjamin Ortega, Jr. and Manuel Garcia from the Decision, dated February 9, 1994 written by Judge Adriano R. Osorio, finding them guilty of murder.
[1] [2]

Appellants were charged by State Prosecutor Bernardo S. Razon in an Information dated October 19, 1992, as follows:

That on or about October 17, 1992 in Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring together and mutually helping one another, without any justifiable cause, with treachery and evident premeditation and with abuse of superior strenght (sic) and with deliberate intent to kill, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab repeatedly with a pointed weapon on the different parts of the body one ANDRE MAR MASANGKAY y ABLOLA, thereby inflicting upon the latter serious physical injuries which directly caused his death. During arraignment, Appellants Ortega and Garcia, assisted by counsel de oficio, pleaded not guilty to the charge. Accused John Doe was then at large. After trial in due course, the court a quo promulgated the questioned Decision. The dispositive portion reads:
[4] [5] [6] [7]

WHEREFORE, finding accused Benjamin Ortega, Jr. y Conje and Manuel Garcia y Rivera [g]uilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged, the Court hereby sentenced (sic) them to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA and to pay the costs of suit. Accused are hereby ordered to pay the offended party the sum of P35,000.00 for funeral expenses of deceased Andre Mar Masangkay and death indemnity of P50,000.00. The Notice of Appeal, dated March 9, 1994, was thus filed by Atty. Evaristo P. Velicaria who took over from the Public Attorneys Office as counsel for the accused.

The Facts

Evidence for the Prosecution The trial court summarized the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses as follows:

Diosdado Quitlong substantially testified that on October 15, 1992 at about 5:30 in the afternoon, he, the victim Andre Mar Masangkay, Ariel Caranto, Romeo Ortega, Roberto San Andres were having a drinking spree in the compound near the house of Benjamin Ortega, Jr. at Daangbakal, Dalandanan, Valenzuela, Metro Manila. That while they were drinking, accused Benjamin Ortega, Jr. and Manuel Garcia who were [already] drunk arrived and joined them. That victim Andre Mar Masangkay answered the call of nature and went to the back portion of the house. That accused Benjamin Ortega, Jr. followed him and later they [referring to the participants in the drinking session] heard the victim Andre Mar shouted, Dont, help me! (Huwag, tulungan ninyo ako!) That he and Ariel Caranto ran towards the back portion of the house and [they] saw accused Benjamin Ortega, Jr., on top of Andre Mar Masangkay who was lying down in a canal with his face up and stabbing the latter with a long bladed weapon. That Ariel Caranto ran and fetched Benjamin Ortega, Sr., the father of accused Benjamin, Jr. That he [Quitlong] went to Romeo Ortega in the place where they were having the drinking session [for the latter] to pacify his brother Benjamin, Jr. That Romeo Ortega went to the place of the stabbing and together with Benjamin Ortega, Jr. and Manuel Garcia lifted Andre Mar Masangkay from the canal and brought Andre Mar to the well and dropped the latter inside the well. That Romeo Ortega, Benjamin Ortega, Jr. and Manuel Garcia then dropped stones measuring 11 to 12 inches high, 2 feet in length and 11 to 12 inches in weight to the body of Andre Mar Masangkay inside the well. That Romeo Ortega warned him [Quitlong] not to tell anybody of what he saw. That he answered in the affirmative and he was allowed to go home. That his house is about 200 meters from Romeo Ortegas house. That upon reaching home, his conscience bothered him and he told his mother what he witnessed. That he went to the residence of Col. Leonardo Orig and reported the matter. That Col. Orig accompanied him to the Valenzuela Police Station and some police officers went with them to the crime scene. That accused Benjamin Ortega, Jr. and Manuel Garcia were apprehended and were brought to the police station. On cross-examination, he said that he did not talk to the lawyer before he was presented as witness in this case. That he narrated the incident to his mother on the night he witnessed the killing on October 15, 1992. That on October 15, 1992 at 5:30 in the afternoon when he arrived, victim Andre Mar Masangkay, Romeo Ortega, Serafin and one Boyet were already having [a]

drinking spree and he joined them. That accused Benjamin Ortega, Jr. and Manuel Garcia were not yet in the place. That the stabbing happened between 12:00 midnight and 12:30 a.m. That they drank gin with finger foods such as pork and shell fish. That he met the victim Andre Mar Masangkay only on that occasion. That accused Benjamin Ortega, Jr. and Manuel Garcia joined them at about 11:00 p.m. That there was no altercation between Benjamin Ortega, Jr. and Manuel Garcia in one hand and Andre Mar Masangkay, during the drinking session. That at about 12:30 a.m. Andre Mar Masangkay answered the call of nature and went to the back portion of the house. That he cannot see Andre Mar Masangkay from the place they were having the drinking session. That he did not see what happened to Andre Mar Masangkay. That he only heard Masangkay asking for help. That accused Manuel Garcia was still in the drinking session when he heard Masangkay was asking for help. That Benjamin Ortega, Jr. and Manuel Garcia are his friends and neighbors. That when he heard Andre Mar Masangkay was asking for help, he and Ariel Caranto ran to the back portion of the house and saw Benjamin Ortega, Jr. on top of Andre Mar Masangkay and stabbing the latter. That Andre Mar Masangkay was lying down with his back in the canal and Benjamin Ortega, Jr. on top stabbing the former. That he did not see any injuries on Benjamin Ortega, Jr. That he called Romeo Ortega to pacify his brother Benjamin, Jr. That he did not do anything to separate Benjamin Ortega, Jr. and Masangkay. That he knows that Andre Mar Masangkay was courting Raquel Ortega. That Raquel Ortega asked permission from Andre Mar Masangkay when she left between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. That there was no trouble that occurred during the drinking session. PNP Superintendent Leonardo Orig substantially testified that Diosdado Quitlong is his neighbor for about 9 years. That on October 16, 1992 at 5:00 in the morning, he was summoned by Diosdado Quitlong and reported to him the stabbing incident that occurred at Daangbakal near the subdivision he is living. That he relayed the information to the Valenzuela Police Station and a police team under police officer Param accompanied them to the place. That he asked the police officers to verify if there is a body of person inside the well. That the well was covered with stones and he asked the police officers to seek the help of theneighbors (sic) to remove the stones inside the well. That after the stones were removed, the body of the victim was found inside the well. That the lifeless body was pulled out from the well. That the body has several stab wounds. That he came to know the victim as Andre Mar Masangkay. That two men were arrested by the police officers. On cross-examination, he said that he saw the body when taken out of the well with several stab wounds. That Diosdado Quitlong told him that he was

drinking with the victim and the assailants at the time of the incident. That Benjamin Ortega, Jr. stabbed the victim while the latter was answering the call of nature. NBI Medico Legal Officer Dr. Ludivico J. Lagat substantially testified that he conducted [an] autopsy on the cadaver of Andre Mar Masangkay on October 16, 1992 at the Valenzuela Memorial Homes located at Macarthur Highway. That he prepared the autopsy report and the sketch of human head and body indicating the location of the stab wounds. That the cause of death is multiple stab wounds, contributory, [a]sphyxia by submersion in water. That there were 13 stab wounds, 8 of which were on the frontal part of the body, 2 at the back and there were contused abrasions around the neck and on the left arm. There was stab wound at the left side of the neck. That the contused abrasion could be produced by cord or wire or rope. That there is (an) incised wound on the left forearm. That the stab wounds which were backward downward of the body involved the lungs. That the victim was in front of the assailant. That the stab wound on the upper left shoulder was caused when the assailant was in front of the victim. That the assailant was in front of the victim when the stab wound near the upper left armpit was inflicted as well as the stab wound on the left chest wall. That the stab wound on the back left side of the body and the stab wound on the back right portion of the body may be produced when the assailant was at the back of the victim. That the assailant was in front of the victim when the stab wound[s] on the left elbow and left arm were inflicted. That the large airway is filled with muddy particles indicating that the victim was alive when the victim inhaled the muddy particles. The heart is filled with multiple hemorrhage, loss of blood or decreased of blood. The lungs is filled with water or muddy particles. The brain is pale due to loss of blood. The stomach is one half filled with muddy particles which could [have been] taken in when submerged in water. On cross-examination, he said that he found 13 stab wounds on the body of the victim. That he cannot tell if the assailant or the victim were standing. That it is possible that the stab wounds was (sic) inflicted when both [referring to participants] were standing or the victim was lying down and the assailant was on top. That he cannot tell the number of the assailants. Evidence for the Appellants Appellant Manuel Garcia testified that in the early morning of October 15, 1992, he and his wife, Maritess Garcia, brought their feverish daughter, Marjorie, to the Polo Emergency Hospital. He left the hospital at seven o

clock in the morning, went home, changed his clothes and went to work. After office hours, he and Benjamin Ortega, Jr. passed by the canteen at their place of work. After drinking beer, they left at eight o clock in the evening and headed home. En route, they chanced on Diosdado Quitlong alias Mac-mac and Andre Mar Masangkay, who invited them to join their own drinking spree. Thereupon, Appellant Garcias wife came and asked him to go home because their daughter was still sick. To alleviate his daughters illness, he fetched his mother-in-law who performed a ritual called tawas. After the ritual, he remained at home and attended to his sick daughter. He then fell asleep but was awakened by police officers at six o clock in the morning of the following day.

Maritess Garcia substantially corroborated the testimony of her husband. She however added two other participants in the drinking session aside from Diosdado Quitlong alias Mac-mac and Andre Mar Masangkay, namely, a Mang Serafin and Boyet Santos.

Benjamin Ortega, Jr. likewise substantially corroborated the testimony of Appellant Manuel Garcia. According to him, between eleven and twelve o clock in the evening, Masangkay left the drinking session. Thirty (30) minutes after Masangkay left, he also left the drinking place to urinate. He went behind the house where he saw Masangkay peeping through the room of his sister Raquel. He ignored Masangkay and continued urinating. After he was through, Masangkay approached him and asked where his sister was. He answered that he did not know. Without warning, Masangkay allegedly boxed him in the mouth, an attack that induced bleeding and caused him to fall on his back. When he was about to stand up, Masangkay drew a knife and stabbed him, hitting him on the left arm, thereby immobilizing him. Masangkay then gripped his neck with his left arm and threatened to kill him. Unable to move, Ortega shouted for help. Quitlong came and, to avoid being stabbed, grabbed Masangkays right hand which was holding the knife. Quitlong was able to wrest the knife from Masangkay and, with it, he stabbed Masangkay ten (10) times successively, in the left chest and in the middle of the stomach. When the stabbing started, Ortega moved to the left side of Masangkay to avoid being hit. Quitlong chased Masangkay who ran towards the direction of the well. Thereafter, Ortega went home and treated his injured left armpit and lips. Then, he slept.
[12] [13] [14] [15]

When he woke up at six o clock the following morning, he saw police officers in front of his house. Taking him with them, the lawmen proceeded to the well. From the railroad tracks where he was asked to sit, he saw the police officers lift the body of a dead person from the well. He came to know

the identity of the dead person only after the body was taken to the police headquarters.

The Trial Courts Discussion The trial court explained its basis for appellants conviction as follows:

The Court is convinced that the concerted acts of accused Benjamin Ortega, Jr., Manuel Garcia, Jr. and one Romeo Ortega in lifting, carrying and dumping the victim Andre Mar Masangkay who was still alive and breathing inside the deep well filled with water, head first and threw big stones/rocks inside the well to cover the victim is a clear indication of the community of design to finish/kill victim Andre Mar Masangkay. Wounded and unarmed victim Andre Mar Masangkay was in no position to flee and/or defend himself against the three malefactors. Conspiracy and the taking advantage of superior strength were in attendance. The crime committed by the accused is Murder. Concert of action at the moment of consummating the crime and the form and manner in which assistance is rendered to the person inflicting the fatal wound may determine complicity where it would not otherwise be evidence (People vs. Yu, 80 SCRA 382 (1977)). Every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable. Accused (m)ust reimburse the heirs of victim Andre Mar Masangkay the amount of P35,000.00 for the funeral expenses of the deceased. The Issues In their ten-page brief, appellants fault the trial court with the following: I. The trial court erred in holding that there is conspiracy on the basis of the prosecutions evidence that at the time both accused and one Romeo Ortega lifted the body of Andrew Masangkay from where he succumbed due to stab wounds and brought and drop said body of Andrew Masangkay to the well to commit murder; The trial court erred in finding and holding that Andrew Masangkay was still alive at the time his body was dropped in the well; The trial court erred in convicting Manuel Garcia and in not acquitting the latter of the crime charged; and




The trial court erred in not finding that if at all Benjamin Ortega Jr. is guilty only of homicide alone.

On the basis of the records and the arguments raised by the appellants and the People, we believe that the question to be resolved could be simplified thus: What are the criminal liabilities, if any, of Appellants Ortega and Garcia? The Courts Ruling We find the appeal partly meritorious. Appellant Ortega is guilty only of homicide. Appellant Garcia deserves acquittal. First Issue: Liability of Appellant Ortega The witnesses for the prosecution and defense presented conflicting narrations. The prosecution witnesses described the commission of the crime and positively identified appellants as the perpetrators. The witnesses for the defense, on the other hand, attempted to prove denial and alibi. As to which of the two contending versions speaks the truth primarily rests on a critical evaluation of the credibility of the witnesses and their stories. In this regard, the trial court held:

The Court has listened intently to the narration of the accused and their witnesses and the prosecution witnesses and has keenly observed their behavior and demeanor on the witness stand and is convinced that the story of the prosecution is the more believable version. Prosecution eyewitness Diosdado Quitlong appeared and sounded credible and his credibility is reinforced by the fact that he has no reason to testify falsely against the accused. It was Diosdado Quitlong who reported the stabbing incident to the police authorities. If Quitlong stabbed and killed the victim Masangkay, he will keep away from the police authorities and will go in hiding. x x x Because the trial court had the opportunity to observe the witnesses demeanor and deportment on the stand as they rendered their testimonies, its evaluation of the credibility of witnesses is entitled to the highest respect. Therefore, unless the trial judge plainly overlooked certain facts of substance and value which, if considered, might affect the result of the case, his assessment of credibility must be respected.

In the instant case, we have meticulously scoured the records and found no reason to reverse the trial courts assessment of the credibility of the witnesses and their testimonies insofar as Appellant Ortega is concerned. The narration of Eyewitness Diosdado Quitlong appears to be spontaneous and consistent. It is straightforward, detailed, vivid and logical. Thus, it clearly deserves full credence.

On the other hand, in asserting alibi and denial, the defense bordered on the unbelievable. Appellant Ortega claimed that after he was able to free himself from Masangkays grip, he went home, treated his injuries and slept. This is not the ordinary reaction of a person assaulted. If Ortegas version of the assault was true, he should have immediately reported the matter to the police authorities, if only out of gratitude to Quitlong who came to his rescue. Likewise, it is difficult to believe that a man would just sleep after someone was stabbed in his own backyard. Further, we deem it incredible that Diosdado Quitlong would stab Masangkay ten (10) times successively, completely ignoring Benjamin Ortega, Jr. who was grappling with Masangkay. Also inconsistent with human experience is his narration that Masangkay persisted in choking him instead of defending himself from the alleged successive stabbing of Quitlong. The natural tendency of a person under attack is to defend himself and not to persist in choking a defenseless third person.
[22] [23]

Murder or Homicide? Although treachery, evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength were alleged in the information, the trial court found the presence only of abuse of superior strength. We disagree with the trial courts finding. Abuse of superior strength requires deliberate intent on the part of the accused to take advantage of such superiority. It must be shown that the accused purposely used excessive force that was manifestly out of proportion to the means available to the victims defense. In this light, it is necessary to evaluate not only the physical condition and weapon of the protagonists but also the various incidents of the event.
[24] [25]

In his testimony, Witness Dominador Quitlong mentioned nothing about Appellant Ortegas availment of force excessively out of proportion to the means of defense available to the victim to defend himself. Quitlong described the assault made by Appellant Ortega as follows:

ATTY. ALTUNA: Q A Will you please tell me the place and date wherein you have a drinking spree with Andrew Masangkay and where you witnessed a stabbing incident? It was on October 15, 1992, sir, at about 5:30 in the afternoon we were drinking in the house of Mr. Benjamin Ortega, Sr., because the house of Benjamin Ortega Sr. and the house of his son Benjamin Ortega, Jr. are near each other.




Mr. Witness, who were the companions of said persons, Benjamin Ortega, Jr., Manuel Garcia, you (sic) in drinking in said place? The other companions in the drinking session were Ariel Caranto y Ducay, Roberto San Andres and Romeo Ortega. What about this victim, Andrew Masangkay, where was he at that time? Also the victim, Andrew Masangkay, he was also there. You said that the two accused, Manuel Garcia and Benjamin Ortega, Jr. arrived drunk and joined the group? Yes, sir. What happened next? While we were there together and we were drinking ... (interrupted by Atty. Altuna) Who is that we? Referring to Benjamin Ortega, Jr., Manuel Garcia, Ariel Caranto, Romeo Ortega, Roberto San Andres, myself and Andrew Masangkay. Andrew Masangkay answer to a call of nature and went to the back portion of the house, and Benjamin Ortega, Jr. followed him where he was. What happened next? And afterwards we heard a shout and the shout said Huwag, tulungan nyo ako. From whom did you hear this utterance? The shout came from Andrew Masangkay. After Benjamin Ortega, Jr. followed Andrew Masangkay to answer a call of nature and after you heard huwag, tulungan nyo ako coming from the mouth of the late Andrew Masangkay, what happened next? Ariel Caranto and I ran towards the back portion of the house. And what did you see? And I saw that Benjamin Ortega, Jr. was on top of Andrew Masangkay and he was stabbing Andrew Masangkay. Will you please demonstrate to the Honorable Court how the stabbing was done telling us the particular position of the late Andrew Masangkay and how Benjamin Ortega, Jr proceeded with the stabbing against the late victim, Andrew Masangkay?



INTERPRETER: (At this juncture, the witness demonstrating.) Andrew Masangkay was lying down on a canal with his face up, then Benjamin Ortega, Jr. was nakakabayo and with his right hand with closed fist holding the weapon, he was thrusting this weapon on the body of the victim, he was making downward and upward motion thrust. ATTY. ALTUNA: (To the witness) Q A How many times did Benjamin Ortega, Jr. stabbed Andrew Masangkay? I cannot count the number of times.

It should be noted that Victim Masangkay was a six-footer, whereas Appellant Ortega, Jr. was only five feet and five inches tall. There was no testimony as to how the attack was initiated. The accused and the victim were already grappling when Quitlong arrived. Nothing in the foregoing testimony and circumstances can be interpreted as abuse of superior strength. Hence, Ortega is liable only for homicide, not murder.

Second Issue: Liability of Appellant Manuel Garcia Appellants argue that the finding of conspiracy by the trial court is based on mere assumption and conjecture x x x. Allegedly, the medico-legal finding that the large airway was filled with muddy particles indicating that the victim was alive when the victim inhaled the muddy particles did not necessarily mean that such muddy particles entered the body of the victim while he was still alive. The Sinumpaang Salaysay of Quitlong stated, Nilubayan lang nang saksak nang mapatay na si Andrew ni Benjamin Ortega, Jr. Thus, the prosecution evidence shows Masangkay was already dead when he was lifted and dumped into the well. Hence, Garcia could be held liable only as an accessory.
[28] [29]

We do not agree with the above contention. Article 4, par. 1, of the Revised Penal Code states that criminal liability shall be incurred by any person committing a felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended. The essential requisites for the application of this provision are that (a) the intended act is felonious; (b) the resulting act is likewise a felony; and (c) the unintended albeit graver wrong was primarily caused by the actors wrongful acts. In assisting Appellant Ortega, Jr. carry the body of Masangkay to the well, Appellant Garcia was committing a felony. The offense was that of concealing the body of the crime to prevent its discovery, i.e. that of being an accessory in the crime of homicide. Although

Appellant Garcia may have been unaware that the victim was still alive when he assisted Ortega in throwing the body into the well, he is still liable for the direct and natural consequence of his felonious act, even if the resulting offense is worse than that intended. True, Appellant Garcia merely assisted in concealing the body of the victim. But the autopsy conducted by the NBI medico-legal officer showed that the victim at that time was still alive, and that he died subsequently of drowning. That drowning was the immediate cause of death was medically demonstrated by the muddy particles found in the victims airway, lungs and stomach. This is evident from the expert testimony given by the medico-legal officer, quoted below:
[31] [32] [33]

ATTY. ALTUNA: Q Will you please explain this in simple language the last portion of Exhibit N, beginning with tracheo-bronchial tree, that is sentence immediately after paragraph 10, 2.5 cms. Will you please explain this? The trancheo-bronchial tree is filled with muddy particles. I ask you a question on this. Could the victim have possibly get this particular material? No, sir. What do you mean by no? A person should be alive so that the muddy particles could be inhaled. So, in short, you are telling or saying to us that if there is no inhaling or the taking or receiving of muddy particles at that time, the person is still alive? Yes, sir. Second point? The heart is pale with some multiple petechial hemorrhages at the anterior surface. And this may [be] due to stab wounds or asphyxia? These are the effects or due to asphyxia or decreased amount of blood going to the heart. This asphyxia are you referring to is the drowning? Yes, sir. Next point is the lungs? The lungs is also filled with multiple petechial hemorrhages. What could have caused this injury of the lungs? This is due to asphyxia or the loss of blood.



Are you saying that the lungs have been filled with water or muddy particles? Yes, sir. And, precisely, you are now testifying that due to stab wounds or asphyxia, the lungs have been damaged per your Report? Yes, sir. Continuing this brain and other visceral organs, pale. What is this? The paleness of the brain and other visceral organs is due to loss of blood. And, of course, loss of blood could be attributed to the stab wound which is number 13? Yes, sir. And the last one, under the particular point hemothorax? It indicates at the right side. There are around 1,400 cc of blood that accumulate at the thoraxic cavity and this was admixed with granular materials? And what cause the admixing with granular materials on said particular portion of the body? Could be muddy particles. Due to the taking of maddy (sic) materials as affected by asphyxia? Am I correct? Its due to stab wounds those muddy particles which set-in thru the stab wounds. So, because of the opening of the stab wounds, the muddy particles now came in, in that particular portion of the body and caused admixing of granular materials? Yes, sir. Continuing with your report, particularly, the last two portions, will you please explain the same? The hemoperitoneum there are 900 cc of blood that accumulated inside the abdomen. And what could have cause the same? [T]he stab wound of the abdomen. The last one, stomach 1/2 filled with muddy particles. Please explain the same? The victim could have taken these when he was submerged in water. What is the take in? Muddy particles. And he was still alive at that time? Yes, sir. (Underscoring supplied)

A Filipino authority on forensic medicine opines that any of the following medical findings may show that drowning is the cause of death:


The presence of materials or foreign bodies in the hands of the victim. The clenching of the hands is a manifestation of cadaveric spasm in the effort of the victim to save himself from drowning. Increase in volume (emphysema aquosum) and edema of the lungs (edema aquosum). Presence of water and fluid in the stomach contents corresponding to the medium where the body was recovered. Presence of froth, foam or foreign bodies in the air passage found in the medium where the victim was found. Presence of water in the middle ear.

2. 3. 4. 5.

The third and fourth findings were present in the case of Victim Masangkay. It was proven that his airpassage, or specifically his tracheo-bronchial tree, was filled with muddy particles which were residues at the bottom of the well. Even his stomach was half-filled with such muddy particles. The unrebutted testimony of the medico-legal officer that all these muddy particles were ingested when the victim was still alive proved that the victim died of drowning inside the well. The drowning was the direct, natural and logical consequence of the felony that Appellant Garcia had intended to commit; it exemplifies praeter intentionem covered by Article 4, par. 1, of the Revised Penal Code. Under this paragraph, a person may be convicted of homicide although he had no original intent to kill.

In spite of the evidence showing that Appellant Garcia could be held liable as principal in the crime of homicide, there are, however, two legal obstacles barring his conviction, even as an accessory as prayed for by appellants counsel himself. First. The Information accused Appellant Garcia (and Appellant Ortega) of attack[ing], assault[ing], and stab[bing] repeatedly with a pointed weapon on the different parts of the body one ANDRE MAR MASANGKAY y ABLOLA The prosecutions evidence itself shows that Garcia had nothing to do with the stabbing which was solely perpetrated by Appellant Ortega. His responsibility relates only to the attempted concealment of the crime and the resulting drowning of Victim Masangkay. The hornbook doctrine in our jurisdiction is that an accused cannot be convicted of an offense, unless it is clearly charged in the complaint or information. Constitutionally, he has a right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. To

convict him of an offense other than that charged in the complaint or information would be a violation of this constitutional right. Section 14, par. 2, of the 1987 Constitution explicitly guarantees the following:

(2) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a speedy, impartial, and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf. However, after arraignment, trial may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided that he has been duly notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable. (Underscoring supplied) In People vs. Pailano, this Court ruled that there can be no conviction for rape on a woman deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious where the information charged the accused of sexual assault by using force or intimidation, thus:

The criminal complaint in this case alleged the commission of the crime through the first method although the prosecution sought to establish at the trial that the complainant was a mental retardate. Its purpose in doing so is not clear. But whatever it was, it has not succeeded. If the prosecution was seeking to convict the accused-appellant on the ground that he violated Anita while she was deprived of reason or unconscious, such conviction could not have been possible under the criminal complaint as worded. This described the offense as having been committed by Antonio Pailano, being then provided with a scythe, by means of violence and intimidation, (who) did, then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of the complainant, Anita Ibaez, 15 years of age, against her will. No mention was made of the second circumstance. Conviction of the accused-appellant on the finding that he had raped Anita while she was unconscious or otherwise deprived of reason -- and not through force and intimidation, which was the method alleged -- would have violated his right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. [Article IV, Sec. 19, Constitution of 1973; now Article III, Sec. 14(2)] This right is safeguarded by the Constitution to every accused so he can prepare an adequate defense against the charge against him. Convicting him of a ground not alleged while he is concentrating his defense against the ground alleged would plainly be unfair and underhanded. This right was, of course, available to the herein accused-appellant.

In People vs. Ramirez, [fn: 69 SCRA 144] we held that a person charged with rape could not be found guilty of qualified seduction, which had not been alleged in the criminal complaint against him. In the case of People vs. Montes, [fn: 122 SCRA 409] the Court did not permit the conviction for homicide of a person held responsible for the suicide of the woman he was supposed to have raped, as the crime he was accused of -- and acquitted -- was not homicide but rape. More to the point is Tubb v. People of the Philippines, [fn: 101 Phil. 114] where the accused was charged with the misappropriation of funds held by him in trust with the obligation to return the same under Article 315, paragraph 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code, but was convicted of swindling by means of false pretenses, under paragraph 2(b) of the said Article, which was not alleged in the information. The Court said such conviction would violate the Bill of Rights. By parity of reasoning, Appellant Garcia cannot be convicted of homicide through drowning in an information that charges murder by means of stabbing. Second. Although the prosecution was able to prove that Appellant Garcia assisted in concealing x x x the body of the crime, x x x in order to prevent its discovery, he can neither be convicted as an accessory after the fact defined under Article 19, par. 2, of the Revised Penal Code. The records show that Appellant Garcia is a brother-in-law of Appellant Ortega, the latters sister, Maritess, being his wife. Such relationship exempts Appellant Garcia from criminal liability as provided by Article 20 of the Revised Penal Code:
[38] [39]

ART. 20. Accessories who are exempt from criminal liability. -- The penalties prescribed for accessories shall not be imposed upon those who are such with respect to their spouses, ascendants, descendants, legitimate, natural, and adopted brothers and sisters, or relatives by affinity within the same degrees with the single exception of accessories falling within the provisions of paragraph 1 of the next preceding article. On the other hand, the next preceding article provides: ART. 19. Accessories. Accessories are those who, having knowledge of the commission of the crime, and without having participated therein, either as principals or accomplices, take part subsequent to its commission in any of the following manners: 1. By profiting themselves or assisting the offender to profit by the effects of the crime. 2. By concealing or destroying the body of the crime, or the effects or instruments thereof, in order to prevent its discovery.

3. By harboring, concealing, or assisting in the escape of the principal of the crime, provided the accessory acts with abuse of his public functions or whenever the author of the crime is guilty of treason, parricide, murder, or an attempt to take the life of the Chief Executive, or is known to be habitually guilty of some other crime. Appellant Garcia, being a covered relative by affinity of the principal accused, Benjamin Ortega, Jr., is legally entitled to the aforequoted exempting provision of the Revised Penal Code. This Court is thus mandated by law to acquit him. Penalty and Damages The award of actual damages should be reduced to P31,790.00 from P35,000.00. The former amount was proven both by documentary evidence and by the testimony of Melba Lozano, a sister of the victim. Of the expenses alleged to have been incurred, the Court can give credence only to those that are supported by receipts and appear to have been genuinely incurred in connection with the death of the victim. However, in line with current jurisprudence, Appellant Ortega shall also indemnify the heirs of the deceased in the sum of P50,000.00. Indemnity requires no proof other than the fact of death and appellants responsibility therefor.
[40] [41] [42] [43]

The penalty for homicide is reclusion temporal under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code, which is imposable in its medium period, absent any aggravating or mitigating circumstance, as in the case of Appellant Ortega. Because he is entitled to the benefits of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum term shall be one degree lower, that is,prision mayor. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the joint appeal is PARTLY GRANTED. Appellant Benjamin Ortega, Jr. is found GUILTY of homicide and sentenced to ten (10) years ofprision mayor medium, as minimum, to fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal medium, as maximum. Appellant Ortega, Jr. is also ORDEREDto pay the heirs of the victim P50,000.00 as indemnity and P31,790.00 as actual damages. Appellant Manuel Garcia is ACQUITTED. His immediate release from confinement isORDERED unless he is detained for some other valid cause. SO ORDERED. Narvasa C.J., (Chairman), Davide, Jr., Melo, and Francisco, JJ., concur.