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Criminal Law Case Digest: Calimutan v.

Calimutan v. People
G.R. No. 152133, February 9, 2006
Lesson: Proof beyond reasonable doubt, Defense of Stranger, Proximate Cause,
intentional felonies and culpable felonies
Laws Applicable: Art. 3, Art. 4, Par. 1



February 4, 1996 around 10 am: Cantre and witness Saano, together with two other
companions, had a drinking spree at a videoke bar but as they were headed home, they
crossed paths with Calimutan and Michael Bulalacao.
Cantre, 26 years old and 5 ft. 9 inches, had a grudge against Bulalacao, a 15 yearold boy of 5ft. for suspecting that he threw stones at the his house on a previous night so
he punched him
Seeking to protect Bulalacao and to stop Cantre, Calimutan picked a stone, as big as
a mans fist and hitting Cantre at the left side of his back not noticing that Bulalacao was
already able to ran away.
Cantre stopped for a moment and held his back and Calimutan desisted from any other
act of violence
Witness Saano then brought Cantre home where he complained of backache and
also of stomach ache and was unable to eat
By night time, he felt cold then warm then he was sweating profusely and his entire
body felt numb
Having no vehicle, they could not bring him to a doctor so his mother just continue to
wipe him with a piece of cloth and brought him some food when he asked.
After eating a little, he vomited.
Shortly after complaining again of his backache and stomach ache, he died.
The Post-Mortem Examination Report and Certification of Death, issued and signed
by Dr. Ulanday, stated that the cause of death of victim Cantre was cardio-respiratory
arrest due to suspected food poisoning
With the help of the Lingkod Bayan-Circulo de Abogadas of the ABS-CBN Foundation,
an autopsy was done by Dr. Ronaldo B. Mendez which showed that there was internal
hemorrhage and massive accumulation of blood in his abdominal cavity due to his
lacerated spleen caused by a blunt object like a stone.
RTC issued a warrant of arrest and during arraignment Calimutan pleaded not guilty
to the crime of homicide
RTC: Essentially adopting the prosecutions account of the incident, held that
Calimutan was guilty beyond reasonable doubt of homicide with a penalty of
imprisonment from 8 years of Prision Mayor as minimum, to 12 years and 1 day of
Reclusion Temporal as maximum, and to indemnify the heirs of Philip Cantre the sum of
P50,000 as compensatory damages and the sum of P50,000 as moral damages
NOT defense of stranger , because after the boxing Bulalacao, he was able to run
thereby the unlawful aggression by Cantre ceased
The act of throwing a stone from behind which hit the victim at his back on the left side
was a treacherous
criminally liable for all the direct and natural consequences of this unlawful act even if
the ultimate result had not been intended
CA: Affirmed RTC

Calimutan filed a petition for review on certiorari contending that the dissimilar findings
on the cause of death constituted reasonable doubt
ISSUE: W/N he is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of homicide
HELD: NO. MODIFIED Calimutan is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of reckless
imprudence resulting in homicide, under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code, and is
accordingly sentenced to imprisonment for a minimum period of 4 months of arresto
mayor to a maximum period of two years and one day of prision correccional. Petitioner
Calimutan is further ORDERED to pay the heirs of the victim Cantre the amount of
P50,000.00 as civil indemnity for the latters death and P50,000.00 as moral damages

Proof beyond reasonable doubt requires only a moral certainty or that degree of proof
which produces conviction in an unprejudiced mind (NOT absolute certainty and the
exclusion of all possibility of error)
Dr. Mendezs testimony as an expert witness is evidence, and although it does not
necessarily bind the courts, it is accorded great weight and probative value
may sufficiently establish the causal relationship between the stone thrown by the
Calimutan and the lacerated spleen of the Cantre which resulted in the latters death
Proximate cause - cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by
any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and WITHOUT which the result
would NOT have occurred
Prosecution was able to establish that the proximate cause of the death of the Cantre
was the stone thrown at him by petitioner Calimutan.
Comparing the limited autopsy conducted by Dr. Ulanday and her unconfirmed
suspicion of food poisoning of the victim Cantre, as opposed to the exhaustive autopsy
performed by Dr. Mendez and his definitive finding of a ruptured spleen as the cause of
death, then the latter, without doubt, deserves to be given credence by the courts
Article 3 of the Revised Penal Code classifies felonies according to the means by
which they are committed, in particular:
(1) intentional felonies - existence of malicious intent
act is performed with deliberate intent (with malice)
(2) culpable felonies - absence of malicious intent
act or omission of the offender is NOT malicious
the wrongful act results from imprudence, negligence, lack of foresight or lack of skill
Absence of intent, Calimutan guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the culpable felony of
reckless imprudence resulting in homicide under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code
Reckless imprudence consists in voluntarily, but without malice, doing or failing to do an
act from which material damage results by reason of inexcusable lack of precaution on
the part of the person performing or failing to perform such act, taking into consideration
his employment or occupation, degree of intelligence, physical condition and other
circumstances regarding persons, time and place.