People v. Ortega
G.R. No. 116736 July 24, 1997
Lessons Applicable: Indeterminate Sentence Law
Laws Applicable: Art. 4 RPC
• October 15, 1992 5:30 pm: Andre Mar Masangkay (courting Raquel Ortega), Ariel Caranto, Romeo Ortega, Roberto San Andres, Searfin, Boyet and Diosdado Quitlong were having a drinking spree with gin and finger foods.
• October 15, 1992 11:00 pm: Benjamin Ortega, Jr. and Manuel Garcia who were already drank joined them.
• October 16, 1992 midnight: Andre answering a call of nature went to the back portion of the house and Benjamin followed him. Suddenly, they heard a shout from Andre “Don’t, help me!” (Huwag, tulungan ninyo ako!)
• Diosdado and Ariel ran and saw Benjamin on top of Andre who was lying down being stabbed. Ariel got Benjamin Ortega, Sr., Benjamin’s father while Diosdado called Romeo to pacify his brother. Romeo, Benjamin and Manuel lifted Andre from the canal and dropped him in the well. They dropped stones to Andre’s body to weigh the body down. Romeo warned Diosdado not to tell anybody what he saw. He agreed so he was allowed to go home. But, his conscience bothered him so he told his mother, reported it to the police and accompanied them to the crime scene.
• NBI Medico Legal Officer Dr. Ludivico J. Lagat:
o cause of death is drowning with multiple stab wounds, contributory
o 13 stab wounds
o stab wound on the upper left shoulder, near the upper left armpit and left chest wall- front
o stab wound on the back left side of the body and the stab wound on the back right portion of the body – back
• Manuel Garcia alibi
o He was asked to go home by his wife to fetched his mother-in-law who performed a ritual called “tawas” on his sick daughter and stayed home after
• Benjamin Ortega, Jr. story
o After Masangkay left, he left to urinate and he saw Andre peeking through the room of his sister Raquel. Then, Andre approached him to ask where his sister was. When he answered he didn’t know, Andre punched him so he bled and fell to the ground. Andre drew a knife and stabbed him, hitting him on the left arm, thereby immobilizing him. Andre then gripped his neck with his left arm and threatened to kill him. Unable to move, Ortega shouted for help. Quitlong came, seized the knife and stabbed Andre 10 times with it. Andre then ran towards the direction of the well. Then, he tended his wound in the lips and armpit and slept.
• RTC: Benjamin and Manuel through conspiracy and the taking advantage of superior strength committed murder
ISSUE: W/N Benjamin and Manuel should be liable for murder.
HELD: NO. PARTLY GRANTED. Benjamin is guilty only of homicide. Manuel deserves acquittal
• If Ortega’s version of the assault was true, he should have immediately reported the matter to the police authorities. If Ortega’s version of the assault was true, he should have immediately reported the matter to the police authorities. It is incredible that Diosdado would stab Andre 10 times successively, completely ignoring Benjamin who was grappling with Masangkay and that Andre was choking him while being stabbed.
• Abuse of superior strength requires deliberate intent on the part of the accused to take advantage of such superiority – none shown
o Andre was a 6-footer, whereas Ortega, Jr. was only 5’4”
• Article 4, par. 1, of the Revised Penal Code states that criminal liability shall be incurred by “any person committing a felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended.”
o The essential requisites
1. the intended act is felonious – assisting Benjamin by carrying the body to the well
2. the resulting act is likewise a felony - concealing the body of the crime to prevent its discovery
3. the unintended albeit graver wrong was primarily caused by the actor’s wrongful acts (praeter intentionem) – still alive and was drowned to death
• a person may be convicted of homicide although he had no original intent to kill
• Garcia is a brother-in-law of Benjamin
o Exempt by Article 20 of RPC
ART. 20. Accessories who are exempt from criminal liability. -- The penalties prescribed for accessories shall not be imposed upon those who are such with respect to their spouses, ascendants, descendants, legitimate, natural, and adopted brothers and sisters, or relatives by affinity within the same degrees with the single exception of accessories falling within the provisions of paragraph 1 of the next preceding article.
• The penalty for homicide is reclusion temporal under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code, which is imposable in its medium period, absent any aggravating or mitigating circumstance, as in the case of Appellant Ortega. Because he is entitled to the benefits of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum term shall be one degree lower, that is, prision mayor.
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