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G.R. No.

182518 January 20, 2009 months and one (1) day of reclusión temporal in its medium period,
as maximum.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee,
vs. (3) for each count, appellant is ordered to pay the heirs of the
MUHAMMAD ABDULAH, alias "BONG ABDULAH," alias "BONG victims civil indemnity of ₱50,000.00 and moral damages of
HASAN ZAMAN," Appellant. ₱50,000.00.

________________________________________________

Facts: G.R. No. 200087, October 12, 2016


For final review by the Court is the trial court’s conviction of YOLANDA LUY Y GANUELAS, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE
appellant Abdulah for murder of 3 females found in the area of the PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
apartment road in Maharlika Village, Taguig, Metro Manila [now, the
City of Taguig. The bodies had stab wounds, and the necks had This case involves the criminal attempt by the petitioner to smuggle
ligature marks. On November 15, 1992, prompted by a news report, dangerous drugs (shabu) inside a detention facility to her detained
the relatives of the victims went to Taguig, and there identified the husband by submerging the packets of shabu inside a plastic jar
dead bodies as those of Evelyn, Romelyn and Jovy. filled with strawberry juice and cracked ice. The attempt failed
because of the alacrity of the lady guard manning the entrance of
The police theorized that appellant Abdulah killed the victims to the jail compound.
avenge the death of his brother Rex, Romelyn’s live-in partner. The
police further believed that appellant must have been convinced of The petitioner expectedly denied that the shabu belonged to her.
the family’s involvement in the death of Rex, considering that Rex’s Her sole explanation for why she had the shabu at the time was that
killer was the former boyfriend of Romelyn and hailed from the a certain Melda had requested her to bring the jar of strawberry
same hometown as the family. juice inside the jail compound for her husband, Bong, also a
detainee, because Melda had supposedly forgotten to bring her
identification card that day, and because she was then in a hurry to
fetch her child.
EVIDENCE PRESENTED: The circumstantial evidence presented
and positive identification of appellant as the person who abducted RTC/ CA accused Yolanda Luy y Ganuelas guilty beyond reasonable
the victims, Evelyn and Jovy, are sufficient to render the conviction doubt of violation of Section 11, Article II, R. A. 9165 and is hereby
of the former for the killing of the latter. sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of twelve (12)
years and one (1) day and to pay a fine of P300,000.00 with
DEFENSES: denial and alibi subsidiary imprisonment in case of inability to pay the fine. The
Held: In this case, nevertheless, we find appellant liable only for the illegal drug confiscated from the accused is hereby ordered to be
death of Evelyn and Jovy, there being no evidence to show that he turned over to the Philippine Drug and (sic) Enforcement Agency
also abducted Romelyn. While the prosecution witnesses testified (PDEA) for disposition in accordance with law.
that appellant intended to proceed to the club where Romelyn Upon review, the Court has not found any valid reason to disturb
worked, no evidence was produced that he, in fact, reached the club the factual findings of the RTC and the CA.
and fetched Romelyn from there.

As in Delim,28 we also find, in this case, appellant guilty only of Secondly, a successful prosecution for the illegal possession of
homicide defined and penalized by Article 24929 of the Revised Penal dangerous drugs in violation of Section 11 of R. A. No. 9165
Code (RPC). Treachery and evident premeditation, the requires that the following essential elements of the offense be
circumstances alleged in the informations, cannot be appreciated to established, namely: (1) the accused is in possession of an item or
qualify the killing to murder, considering that these were not proven object identified as a prohibited drug; (2) her possession is not
during the trial. It is an ancient but revered doctrine that qualifying authorized by law; and (3) she freely and consciously possessed the
and aggravating circumstances before being taken into drug.
consideration, for the purpose of increasing the penalty to be The RTC after the trial and the CA on appeal rejected the
imposed, must be proved with equal certainty as those which petitioner's denial and explanation. We also reject them now.
establish the commission of the criminal offense. It is not only the Denial, aside from being easily fabricated, has been the common
central fact of a killing that must be shown beyond reasonable excuse tendered by those arrested and prosecuted for the illegal
doubt; every qualifying or aggravating circumstance alleged to have possession of dangerous drugs. Under Section 1115 of R.A. Act No.
been present and to have attended such killing must similarly be 9165, however, the mere possession of the dangerous drugs was
shown by the same degree of proof.30 enough to render the possessor guilty of the offense. Moreover, the
Considering the absence of any modifying circumstance in the denial by the petitioner, being self-serving and negative, did not
commission of homicide, the indeterminate penalty to be imposed prevail over the positive declarations of JO3 Joaquin. In order for
for each of the two counts should be within the range of prisión the denial to be accorded credence, it must be substantiated by
mayor, as minimum, to reclusión temporal in its medium period, as strong and convincing evidence.16 Alas, the petitioner did not
maximum. present such evidence here. As to her explanation, she could have
presented Melda herself to corroborate her story. Her word alone
Following current jurisprudence, appellant is ordered to pay the not enough because she had been caught in the actual possession
heirs of the victims, for each of the two counts of homicide, civil of the shabu during the routinary search at the gate of the jail
indemnity of ₱50,000.00 and moral damages of ₱50,000.00.31 compound. As such, we cannot allow her denial to gain traction at
all.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal is PARTIALLY
GRANTED. The July 17, 2007 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA- The penalty for the crime committed by the petitioner is provided
G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00023, and the August 24, 2000 Decision of the for in Section 11(3) of R.A. No. 9165, as
Regional Trial Court, Branch 158 of Pasig City in Criminal Cases Nos. follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
98124, 98125 and 98126 are AFFIRMED WITH THE FOLLOWING
MODIFICATIONS:
Section 11. Possession of Dangerous Drugs. — The penalty of life
(1) appellant is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two (2) imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from Five hundred
counts of homicide defined and penalized under Article 249 of the thousand pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten million pesos
Revised Penal Code; (P10,000,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless
authorized by law, shall possess any dangerous drug In the
(2) for each count, he is sentenced to suffer the indeterminate following quantities, regardless of the degree of purity
penalty of ten (10) years and one (1) day of prisión mayor in its thereof:cralawlawlibrary
maximum period, as minimum, to fourteen (14) years, eight (8)
x x x x

1
Article 39. Subsidiary penalty. — If the convict has no property with
(3) Imprisonment of twelve (12) years and one (1) day to which to meet the fine mentioned in the paragraph 3 of the next
twenty (20) years and a fine ranging from Three hundred preceding article, he shall be subject to a subsidiary personal
thousand pesos (P300,000.00) to four hundred thousand liability at the rate of one day for each eight pesos, subject to the
pesos (P400,000.00), if the quantities of dangerous drugs are following rules:cralawlawlibrary
less than five (5) grams of opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine or
cocaine hydrochloride, marijuana resin or marijuana resin x x x x
oil, methamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu", or other
dangerous drugs such as, but not limited to, MDMA or "ecstasy", 3. When the principal imposed is higher than prision
PMA, TMA, LSD, GHB, and those similarly designed or newly correctional, no subsidiary imprisonment shall be imposed
introduced drugs and their derivatives, without having any upon the culprit.
therapeutic value or if the quantity possessed is far beyond
therapeutic requirements; or less than three hundred (300) grams xxxx
of marijuana.
chanrobleslaw
chanrobleslaw To repeat, the RTC's imposition of subsidiary imprisonment "in case
Based on the provision, the correct penalty was an indeterminate of inability to pay the fine" of P300,000.00 was invalid and legally
sentence whose minimum should not be less than the minimum of unenforceable.
12 years and one day prescribed by Section 11(3), R.A. No. 9165,
supra, and whose maximum should not exceed the maximum of 20 In view of the foregoing, the petitioner is ordered to suffer the
years as also prescribed by Section 11(3), R.A. No. 9165, supra. modified penalty of an indeterminate sentence of 12 years and one
The imposition of the indeterminate sentence was required by day, as minimum, to 14 years, as maximum, and to pay a fine of
Section 1 of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, viz.: P300,000.00, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of her
insolvency.

Section 1. Hereafter, in imposing a prison sentence for an offense WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the decision promulgated on
punished by the Revised Penal Code, or its amendments, the court August 31, 2011 in CA-G.R. CR No. 33057 subject to
shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence the the MODIFICATION that the penalty of the petitioner is the
maximum term of which shall be that which, in view of the indeterminate sentence of 12 years and one day, as minimum, to 14
attending circumstances, could be properly imposed under the rules years, as maximum, and to pay a fine of P300,000.00 without
of the said Code, and the minimum which shall be within the range subsidiary imprisonment in case of her insolvency;
of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Code for the and ORDERS the petitioner to pay the costs of suit.
offense; and if the offense is punished by any other law, the
court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate SO ORDERED.C
sentence, the maximum term of which shall not exceed the
maximum fixed by said law and the minimum shall not be ______________________________________
less than the minimum term prescribed by the same. (As
amended by Act No. 4225)
G.R. No. 180016 April 29, 2014
chanrobleslaw
Considering that neither the offense committed nor the imposable
LITO CORPUZ, Petitioner,
penalty was expressly exempt from the coverage of
vs.
the Indeterminate Sentence Law pursuant to Section 220 thereof,
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
the imposition of the indeterminate sentence was mandatory.21 The
minimum and the maximum periods had a worthy objective, for, as This is to resolve the Petition for Review on Certiorari, under Rule
the Court expounded in Bacar v. Judge de Guzman, Jr.: 45 of the Rules of Court, dated November 5, 2007, of petitioner Lito
Corpuz (petitioner), seeking to reverse and set aside the
Decision1 dated March 22, 2007 and Resolution2 dated September 5,
The need for specifying the minimum and maximum periods of the
2007 of the Court of Appeals (CA), which affirmed with modification
indeterminate sentence is to prevent the unnecessary and excessive
the Decision3 dated July 30, 2004 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
deprivation of liberty and to enhance the economic usefulness of the Branch 46, San Fernando City, finding the petitioner guilty beyond
accused, since he may be exempted from serving the entire reasonable doubt of the crime of Estafa under Article 315,
sentence, depending upon his behavior and his physical, mental, paragraph (1), sub-paragraph (b) of the Revised Penal Code.
and moral record.
Held:
The requirement of imposing an indeterminate sentence in all
criminal offenses whether punishable by the RPC or by special laws,
with definite minimum and maximum terms, as the Court deems Now, with regard to the penalty imposed in the present case, the CA
proper within the legal range of the penalty specified by the law modified the ruling of the RTC. The RTC imposed the indeterminate
must, therefore, be deemed mandatory. penalty of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional
in its medium period, as minimum, to fourteen (14) years and eight
chanrobleslaw (8) months of reclusion temporal in its minimum period, as
To conform with the Indeterminate Sentence Law, therefore, the maximum. However, the CA imposed the indeterminate penalty of
indeterminate sentence should be 12 years and one day, as four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional, as
minimum, to 14 years, as maximum. minimum, to eight (8) years of prision mayor, as maximum, plus
one (1) year for each additional ₱10,000.00, or a total of seven (7)
The other error of the lower courts was in imposing subsidiary years.
imprisonment should the petitioner be unable to pay the fine. The
imposition of subsidiary imprisonment, which is a subsidiary
In computing the penalty for this type of estafa, this Court's ruling
personal liability of a person found guilty by final judgment who has
in Cosme, Jr. v. People48 is highly instructive, thus:
no property with which to meet the fine, is based on and in accord
with Article 39 of the Revised Penal Code, a provision that is
supplementary to special laws (like R.A. No. 9165) unless the latter With respect to the imposable penalty, Article 315 of the Revised
should specially provide the contrary.23 But subsidiary imprisonment Penal Code provides:
cannot be imposed on the petitioner because her principal penalty,
supra, was higher then prision correccional or imprisonment for six
ART. 315 Swindling (estafa). - Any person who shall defraud
years. In this regard, Article 39 of the Revised Penal Code relevantly
another by any of the means mentioned hereinbelow shall be
states:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
punished by:

2
1st. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period to penalty of imprisonment ranging from THREE (3) YEARS, TWO (2)
prision mayor in its minimum period, if the amount of the fraud is MONTHS and ELEVEN DAYS of prision correccional, as minimum, to
over 12,000 but does not exceed 22,000 pesos, and if such amount FIFTEEN (15) YEARS of reclusion temporal as maximum.
exceeds the latter sum, the penalty provided in this paragraph shall
be imposed in its maximum period, adding one year for each
Pursuant to Article 5 of the Revised Penal Code, let a Copy of this
additional 10,000 pesos; but the total penalty which may be
Decision be furnished the President of the Republic of the
imposed shall not exceed twenty years. In such case, and in
Philippines, through the Department of Justice.
connection with the accessory penalties which may be imposed and
for the purpose of the other provisions of this Code, the penalty
shall be termed prision mayor or reclusion temporal, as the case
may be.

The penalty prescribed by Article 315 is composed of only two, not


three, periods, in which case, Article 65 of the same Code requires
the division of the time included in the penalty into three equal
portions of time included in the penalty prescribed, forming one
period of each of the three portions. Applying the latter provisions,
the maximum, medium and minimum periods of the penalty
prescribed are:

Maximum - 6 years, 8 months, 21 days to 8 years

Medium - 5 years, 5 months, 11 days to 6 years, 8 months, 20 days

Minimum - 4 years, 2 months, 1 day to 5 years, 5 months, 10


days49

To compute the maximum period of the prescribed penalty, prisión


correccional maximum to prisión mayor minimum should be divided
into three equal portions of time each of which portion shall be
deemed to form one period in accordance with Article 6550 of the
RPC.51 In the present case, the amount involved is ₱98,000.00,
which exceeds ₱22,000.00, thus, the maximum penalty imposable
should be within the maximum period of 6 years, 8 months and 21
days to 8 years of prision mayor. Article 315 also states that a
period of one year shall be added to the penalty for every additional
₱10,000.00 defrauded in excess of ₱22,000.00, but in no case shall
the total penalty which may be imposed exceed 20 years.

Considering that the amount of ₱98,000.00 is ₱76,000.00 more


than the ₱22,000.00 ceiling set by law, then, adding one year for
each additional ₱10,000.00, the maximum period of 6 years, 8
months and 21 days to 8 years of prision mayor minimum would be
increased by 7 years. Taking the maximum of the prescribed
penalty, which is 8 years, plus an additional 7 years, the maximum
of the indeterminate penalty is 15 years.

Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, since the penalty


prescribed by law for the estafa charge against petitioner is prision
correccional maximum to prision mayor minimum, the penalty next
lower would then be prision correccional in its minimum and
medium periods.

Thus, the minimum term of the indeterminate sentence should be


anywhere from 6 months and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months.

One final note, the Court should give Congress a chance to perform
its primordial duty of lawmaking. The Court should not pre-empt
Congress and usurp its inherent powers of making and enacting
laws. While it may be the most expeditious approach, a short cut by
judicial fiat is a dangerous proposition, lest the Court dare trespass
on prohibited judicial legislation.

WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review on Certiorari dated November


5, 2007 of petitioner Lito Corpuz is hereby DENIED. Consequently,
the Decision dated March 22, 2007 and Resolution dated September
5, 2007 of the Court of Appeals, which affirmed with modification
the Decision dated July 30, 2004 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch
46, San Fernando City, finding petitioner guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of Estafa under Article 315, paragraph (1), sub-
paragraph (b) of the Revised Penal Code, are hereby AFFIRMED with
MODIFICATION that the penalty imposed is the indeterminate
3