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Case Name: Citation: Procedural History:

People of the Philippines vs Apolonio Apduhan Jr., et al G.R. No. L-19491, August 30, 1968

This is a review on the judgment convicting respondent to death and indemnifying the heirs of the victim.

Facts: Respondent along with five other persons entered the house of the spouses Miano, shooting Geronimo Miano and Norberto Aton that killed both and took money amounting to Php 322.00 belonging to Geronimo Miano. Respondent pleaded not guilty initially and later after advise from counsel Tirol, pleaded guilty. Judge Hipolito Alo informed respondent that the penalty imposed might be death and respondent insisted on pleading guilty with the condition that he be sentenced to life imprisonment instead of death. Respondent then desisted from his plea of guilt and having made it on record, counsel Tirol conferred with him and later manifested that respondent will enter the plea of guilty with the trial courts ascertainment that he was not forced into pleading guilty. The mitigating circumstances alleged by respondent were 1) intoxication that was not corroborated; 2) voluntary plea of guilty; and 3) Lack of intent to commit a grave so wrong that was withdrawn after prosecution withdrew the fourth aggravating circumstance abuse of superior strength. The aggravating circumstances alleged by the prosecution were 1) band; 2) dwelling; 3) nighttime; and 4) abuse of superior strength that was withdrawn.

Issue: Whether or not respondents voluntary plea of guilty is spontaneous and insistent.

Ratio Decidendi: No. Respondents initial plea was not one of guilty and changed it with the condition that he be sentenced to life imprisonment and not death since he will plead

guilty. Respondent then desisted from the plea of guilt and stated his plea of not guilty made in record, going back to plea of guilty only after conferring with his counsel. The virtue of Judge Alo's efforts in ascertaining whether Apduhan pleaded guilty with full knowledge of the significance and consequences of his act, recommends itself to all trial judges who must refrain from accepting with alacrity an accused's plea of guilty, for while justice demands a speedy administration, judges are duty bound to be extra solicitous in seeing to it that when an accused pleads guilty he understands fully the meaning of his plea and the import of an inevitable conviction. For failure to secure the required number of votes, the penalty of death cannot be legally imposed. The penalty next lower in degree - reclusion perpetua - should consequently be imposed on the accused.

Holding: The death sentence imposed upon Apolonio Apduhan, Jr. by the court a quo is reduced to reclusion perpetua, the judgment a quo is affirmed in all other respects.

Case Name: Citation: Procedural History:

People of the Philippines vs Mariano Oandasan G.R. No. L-29532, September 28, 1968

This is to assail the decision of the trail courts decision convicting respondent for homicide without taking notice of some of the mitigating circumstances that took event.

Facts: Respondent pleaded not guilty during arraignment in the Municipal Court of Flora, Mountain Province and elevated the case to the Court of First Instance of Cagayan with a plea of guilty and presented evidence to prove mitigating circumstances of incomplete self-defense, voluntary surrender aside from the voluntary plea of guilty. The decision in question, ignoring the plea of guilty in account of his former plea of not guilty before the Municipal Court and ignored incomplete self-defense as a mitigating circumstance, merely according defendant the benefits of voluntary surrender as an ordinary mitigating circumstance. Respondent was sentenced for the crime of homicide and indemnifying the heirs of the victim with the facts as follows: Respondent saw the victim chasing his son and throwing a wooden club which did not hit his son, in order to ask what was happening respondent approached the victim. The victim hit respondent with the club on the left shoulder and respondent drew his knife. Again, the victim hit respondent with the club on his head and respondent stabbed the victim on the front twice, one on the epigastric region and the other on the right hand.

Issue: 1) Whether or not defendants plea of guilty should be considered in his favor. 2) Whether or not incomplete self-defense is considered as privileged mitigating circumstance.

Ratio Decidendi: A circumstance that mitigates penal liability is when the accused voluntarily confessed his guilt prior to the presentation of evidence by prosecution and so the voluntary plea of guilty should be considered in his favor. The facts of the case clearly demonstrate an act of unlawful aggression by the deceased as well as lack of sufficient provocation on the part of respondent, and these circumstances carve out a good case of incomplete self-defense. In view of the plea of guilty and voluntary surrender with no aggravating circumstance entitles respondent "penalty next lower to that prescribed by law, in the period that it [the court] may deem applicable, according to the number and nature of such circumstances." (Article 64(5) Revised Penal Code.). In People vs Maula, appreciated incomplete self-defense, concurred in by minority of the accused as a privileged mitigating circumstance and by voluntary surrender. The penalty accused for homicide was brought down by two degrees.

Holding: The trial courts decision is modified sentencing respondent to an indeterminate penalty of four (4) months of arresto mayor as minimum, to two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of prision correccional as maximum, with the accessories of the law. In all other respects, the decision below is affirmed.