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G.R. No. 127818 November 11, 1998

Requisites of Culpa


On May 2, 1994, Grace Guillermo was nagging and pestering his husband Guillermo Nepomuceno,
who was jobless at that time, to fund the postdated check that she issued. Guillermo left home to
avoid the nagging and tantrums throughout the day, and when he went home that night, they had
some arguments. Guillermo was desperate to avoid the nagging, he decided to get a gun as if he
would kill himself. The two then grappled the gun and Grace was shot on her leg and then eventually
died. Guillermo Nepomuceno was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime parricide by
the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region (Manila, Branch 46).

Guillermo filed an appeal against the RTC decision contending that (1) the killing was accidental; (2)
he is not criminally liable as the killing was a result of simple negligence; (3) his guilt was not proven
beyond reasonable doubt.


1. Whether or not Guillermo Nepomuceno intentionally killed Grace Nepomuceno

2. Whether or not Guillermo is guilty of simple negligence


The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court finding Guillermo Nepomuceno
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime parricide for willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with
intent to kill and with treachery and evident premeditation, attack, assault and use of personal
violence upon his spouse, Grace Nepomuceno.

1. Guillermo contends that the incident was accidental and that he should be exempt from
criminal liability. For an accident to be exempting, presupposes that the act done is lawful.
Here, however, the act of accused-appellant of drawing a weapon in the course of a quarrel,
the same not being in self-defense, is unlawful — it at least constitutes light threats (Article
285, par. 1, Revised Penal Code). There is thus no room for the invocation of accident as a
ground for exemption. He stated that they were grappling the gun but the physical evidence
shows that there have been no nitrates in Grace’s hands, clear indication that she was not
able to hold the gun. Furthermore, the medico-legal officer opined that grappling for
possession of the gun was impossible because the trajectory of the bullet was going upwards
and there were no smudges or signs of close firing. The fact that the victim was not shot in
the head, or in any vital part of her body does not negate intent to kill. The extent of the
physical injury inflicted on Grace, as above proved, manifests intention to extinguish life.

2. It has been held that a deliberate intent to do an unlawful act is essentially inconsistent with
the idea of reckless imprudence. What qualifies an act of reckless or simple negligence or
imprudence is the lack of malice or criminal intent in the execution thereof. Otherwise stated,
in criminal negligence, the injury caused to another should be unintentional, it being simply
the incident of another act done without malice but with lack of foresight, or with carelessness
or negligence, and which has harmed society or an individual.