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Rivera vs.

January 3, 2013 by Lagangang Butas

Rivera vs. People G.R. No. 166326. January 25, 2006 Petitioners: Esmeraldo Rivera, Ismael Rivera, and Edgardo Rivera Respondent: People of the Philippines Ponente: J. Callejo, Sr.

Photo courtesy of Google Images FACTS: As the victim, Ruben Rodil, went to a nearby store to buy food, accused Edgardo Rivera mocked him for being jobless and dependent on his wife for support. Ruben resented the rebuke and thereafter, a heated exchange of words ensued. In the evening of the following day, when Ruben and his three-year-old daughter went to the store to buy food, Edgardo, together with his brother Esmeraldo Rivera and Ismael Rivera, emerged from their house and ganged up on him. Esmeraldo and Ismael mauled Ruben with fist blows. And as he fell to the ground, Edgardo hit him three times with a hollow block on the parietal area. Esmeraldo, Ismael and Edgardo fled to their house only when the policemen arrived. Ruben sustained injuries and was brought to the hospital. The doctor declared that the wounds were slight and superficial, though the victim could have been killed had the police not promptly intervened. The trial court found the accused guilty of the crime of frustrated murder. An appeal was made by the accused, but the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial courts decision with modification, changing the crime to attempted murder and imposed an indeterminate penalty of 2 years of prision correccional as minimum to 6 years and 1 day of prision mayor as maximum. ISSUES: 1) Whether or not there was intent to kill. 2) Whether or not the Court of Appeals was correct in modifying the crime from frustrated to attempted murder. 3) Whether or not the aggravating circumstance of treachery was properly applied. 4) Whether or not the correct penalty was imposed. HELD: 1) Yes. The Court declared that evidence to prove intent to kill in crimes against persons may consist, inter alia, in the means used by the malefactors, the nature, location and number of wounds sustained by the victim, the conduct of the malefactors before, at the time, or immediately after the killing of the victim, the circumstances under which the crime was committed and the motives of the accused. In the present case, Esmeraldo and Ismael pummeled the victim with fist blows, while Edgardo hit him three times with a hollow block. Even though

the wounds sustained by the victim were merely superficial and could not have produced his death, intent to kill was presumed. 2) Yes. Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code provides that there is an attempt when the offender commences the commission of a felony directly by overt acts, and does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the felony by reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance. Although the wounds sustained by the victim were merely superficial and could not have produced his death, it does not negate criminal liability of the accused for attempted murder. The intent to kill was already presumed based on the overt acts of the accused. In fact, victim could have been killed had the police not promptly intervened. 3) Yes. The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack, which gives no opportunity for the victim to repel it or defend himself. In the present case, the accused attacked the victim in a sudden and unexpected manner as he was walking with his three-year-old daughter, impervious of the imminent peril to his life. He was overwhelmed with the assault of the accused and had no chance to defend himself and retaliate. Thus, there was treachery. 4) No. Under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, the penalty for murder is reclusion perpetua to death. Since the accused were guilty only of attempted murder, the penalty should be reduced by two degrees, in accordance to Article 51 of the Revised Penal Code. Thus, under Article 61 (2), in relation to Article 71 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty should be prision mayor. In the absence of any modifying circumstance in the commission of the crime other than the qualifying circumstance of treachery, the maximum of the indeterminate penalty shall be taken from the medium period of prision mayor which has a range of from eight (8) years and one (1) day to ten (10) years. To determine the minimum of the indeterminate penalty, the penalty of prision mayor should be reduced by one degree, prision correccional, which has a range of six (6) months and one (1) day to six (6) years. Hence, the accused were sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of from two (2) years of prision correccional in its minimum period, as minimum, to nine (9) years and four (4) months of prision mayor in its medium period, as maximum.