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Crim Law 1 Case Digest: People v. Piliin

People v. Piliin
G.R. No. 172966  February 8, 2007

Lesson Applicable: treachery, aggravating circumstance of nighttime,


·         November 19, 1997 7:20 pm: Rodrigo, Assistant Provincial Prosecutor of Laguna,  arrived at the gate of his house in Siniloan, Laguna, driving his owner-type jeep. His wife, Norma Zayenis went out to open the gate. As he was about to park, Piliin suddenly approached him, poked his gun, and fired at him, hitting the left side of his neck.  Rodrigo fell unconscious and the man quickly ran away

·         Rodrigo was brought to 2 hospitals in Laguna, but was refused admission so he was brought to St. Luke’s Hospital in Quezon City, where he fell into coma and succumbed to a gunshot wound.

·         The police received a tip from an informant that 3 persons were involved in the shooting incident, 2 of whom acted as lookouts.  Piliin was invited for questioning in connection with a carnapped tricycle.  He later confessed to the killing of Rodrigo and implicated Yu and Caballes as his co-perpetrators.  He also identified the house at Libis ng Nayon Resort, Laguna where the firearm used was kept . The police proceeded to the resort and apprehended Yu and Caballes who were sleeping inside a room and also recovered a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson on the bedside.  Paraffin test on Piliin was positive for gun powder nitrates.

·         Norma positively identified Piliin as the one who shot her husband

·         Piliin’s Alibi: November 19, 1997 7:15 p.m, he was at the “peryahan” in Bgy. San Miguel, Mabitac, Laguna and went home at 10:00 pm.  At 11:00 pm, his grandfather asked him to go to the barangay hall to answer the questions of the police about . When he returned home, the police went to his house at 2:00 a.m. and brought him to the Municipal hall.  At 5:30 am, he was transferred to the detention cell in Sta. Cruz, Laguna. 3 hours after, he was brought to the provincial hospital for examination.  When he returned to the detention cell, he was then asked to sign a document.  He was mauled and forced to sign the document.

·         Yu’s alibi: His shift as a lifeguard of a resort owned by Tirso dela Cruz on ended November 19, 1997 7:00 pm so he ate dinner and went to sleep.  At 5:00 am, he was arrested on charge of carnapping.  Upon reaching the Sta. Cruz police station, he was asked to sign a document in exchange for his release.  After signing, the policemen informed him that he was a suspect in the murder of Rodrigo.  He was brought to the hospital for examination and brought back to his detention cell.

·         Caballes’ Alibi: He and his brother, Alvin, slept at Yu’s house. Upon waking up on November 20, 1997, he saw Alvin being invited by the police officers for questioningso he volunteered to accompany Alvin.  While in the precinct, he was asked to write his name on a blank sheet of paper.  Then together with Yu, he was brought to the hospital and then transferred to the detention cell in Sta. Cruz.

·         RTC:  Piliin guilty for murder. Yu and Caballes were acquitted for insufficiency of evidence.  Extrajudicial confessions were inadmissible on the ground that they were not adequately informed of their constitutional right to engage a counsel of their own choice.  Appreciated the qualifying and aggravating circumstances of treachery, evident premeditation and nighttime in sentencing appellant to the penalty of death for the crime of murder.

·         CA: Affirmed RTC but ruled out the aggravating circumstance of nighttime

·         Piliin argues that the prosecution failed to establish the existence  of treachery because Norma was in the act of opening the gate for her husband when the latter was shot.  She lacked knowledge of the attending circumstances prior to the shooting incident.

ISSUE: W/N there is treachery

HELD: YES. CA Affirmed.

·         There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against persons, employing means, methods or forms in their execution, without risk to himself arising from the defenses which the offended party might make.

·         To establish treachery, 2 elements must concur:

    (1) that at the time of the attack, the victim was not in a position to defend himself

§  He suddenly appeared and shot him without any warning so Rodrigo had no opportunity to repel it or defend himself

    (2) that the offender consciously adopted the particular means of attack employed

§  weapon used and the nature of the injury inflicted, which pertained to the lone gunshot fatally wounding Rodrigo, established that Piliin deliberately and consciously adopted the particular mode of attack to ensure the commission of the offense with impunity

·         The essence of treachery is the unexpected and sudden attack on the victim which renders the latter unable and unprepared to defend himself by reason of the suddenness and severity of the attack

·         Norma witnessed the incident from its inception up to its consummation