People v. Opero
G.R. No. L-48796 June 11, 1981
Laws Applicable: Art. 4
• April 27, 1978 4 am: Salvador Oliver, a GSIS security guard assigned to the House International Hotel at Ongpin Street, Binondo, Manila, was informed by Demetrio Barcing, another security guard, that he picked up a 3 year-old girl loitering at the second floor of the building. Rafael Ordona, a janitor, told Oliver that the girl is from Room 314 so Oliver called up Room 314 and when nobody answered, he and Barcing brought the girl to Room 314. When nobody answered Oliver’s knock, he pushed the door open and smelled foul odor from the room. He covered his nose with a handkerchief and they entered the room where they saw Liew Soon Ping dead faced down on the bed with both feet tied, her body is bloated and a towel covered her mouth. Oliver called up the homicide division of the Manila Police. They saw a small baby crying and trying to get out of a crib near the bed of the dead person.
• They called her wife, Dr. Hong, who was in Cebu. He came back immediately and found their personal effects worth P30,221 to be missing.
• Diego Opero, Asteria Avila and , Milagros Villegas were picked up by the Samar P.C. and some of the missing articles.
o Diego Opero: He and Lacsinto subdued the victim by assaulting her, tying up her hands and feet stabbing her and stuffing her mouth with a piece of pandesal.
o Milagros Villegas: Identified the stolen clothes which were given to her by Opero
o Asteria Avila: she was not a party
• Dr. Angelo Singian finding that the cause of death is the pandesal
• RTC: Diego Opero for robbery with homicide together with Reynaldo Lacsinto and Milagros Villegas (accessory). Asteria Avila was acquitted.
• Only Diego Opero appealed
o He never intended to kill the deceased, his intention being merely to rob her, for if indeed he had the intention to kill her, he could have easily done so with the knife, and therefore, his liability should be only for robbery
ISSUE: W/N Diego Opero should only be liable for robbery.
HELD: NO. judgment appealed from being in accordance with law and the evidence, except as to the nonappreciation of the mitigating circumstance of having no intention to commit so grave a wrong as that committed, which nevertheless does not call for the modification of the penalty of death as imposed by the lower court, is hereby affirmed.
• The intention is to prevent the deceased from making an outcry, and so a "pandesal" was stuffed into her mouth, the mitigating circumstance of not having intended to commit so grave a wrong may be appreciated. The stuffing of the "pandesal" in the mouth would not have produced asphyxiation had it not slid into the neckline. According to Dr. Singian, the movements of the victim that caused the "pandesal" to slide into the neckline were, however, attributable to them for if they did not hogtie her, she could have easily removed the "pandesal" from her mouth and avoided death by asphyxiation.
• What is important and decisive is that death results by reason or on the occasion of the robbery
• Art. 49 applied only to cases when the crime committed befalls a different person from the one intended to be the victim
o Art. 49. Penalty to be imposed upon the principals when the crime committed is different from that intended - In cases in which the felony committed is different from that which the offender intended to commit, the following rules shall be observed:
1. If the penalty prescribed for the felony committed be higher than that corresponding to the offense which the accused intended to commit, the penalty corresponding to the latter shall be imposed in its maximum period.
• There still remains one aggravating circumstance to consider, after either one of the two aggravating circumstances present, that of superior strength and dwelling, is offset by the mitigating circumstance aforesaid. The higher of the imposable penalty for the crime committed, which is reclusion perpetua to death, should therefore be the proper penalty to be imposed on appellant.
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