Rivera v. People
G.R. No. 166326 January 25, 2006
Lessons Applicable: attempted murder
• April 1998: Ruben Rodil stopped working as a taxi driver after a would-be rapist threatened his life. He was cited as a Bayaning Pilipino by ABS-CBN for saving the would-be victim. His wife is a manicurist and they have 3 children.
• May 2, 1998 1:00 pm: Ruben went to a nearby store to buy food. Edgardo, his neighbour, mocked him for being jobless and dependent on his wife for support and soon a heated exchange of words ensued.
• May 3, 1998 7:30 pm (Sunday): Ruben with his 3 year-old daughter went to the store to buy food and to look for his wife. Suddenly, the brothers Esmeraldo, Ismael and Edgardo emerged from their house and ganged up on him. Esmeraldo and Ismael mauled Ruben with fist blows so he fell to the ground. While lying on the ground, Edgardo hit Ruben 3 times with a hollow block on the parietal area (narrowly missing the middle which is fatal) while Esmeraldo and Ismael continued mauling Ruben. People who saw the incident shouted: "Awatin sila! Awatin sila!" Ruben felt dizzy but managed to stand up. Ismael threw a stone at him, hitting him at the back. The policemen on board a mobile car arrived so Esmeraldo, Ismael and Edgardo fled to their house.
• Ruben was brought to the hospital. The doctor declared his lacerated wound in the parietal area was slight and superficial and would heal from 1-7 days.
• Esmeraldo: May 3, 1998 1:00 pm, Ruben arrived at his house, banged the gate and challenged him and his brothers to come out and fight. When he got out, Ruben punchd him and they wrestled but Edgardo pushed Ruben aside and Esmeraldo’s wife pulled him away and brought to their house.
• Ismael: He tried to pacify them but Ruben pulled his hair. Once he got free, he fled to their house and did not see Edgardo in the scene.
• Edgardo: May 3, 1998 1:00 pm, he was throwing garbage in front of their house when Ruben arrived. He quickly went inside as Ruben banged the gate, ordered him to get out and even threatened to shoot him. Esmeraldo went out to ask what Ruben’s problem was but it led to a fist fight. He rushed outside and pushed Ruben who fell to the ground. Ruben stood up, grabbed his hair and in the process, Rubn hit his head on a lamp post.
• Eyewitnesses Alicia Vera Cruz and Lucita Villejo: revealed the suddenness and unexpectedness of the attack of petitioners
• RTC: Frustrated murder
• CA: Attempted murder
o They should be held criminally liable for physical injuries only since no intent to kill and even if they had intent to kill, the prosecution failed to prove treachery
ISSUE: W/N the CA correctly held it as attempted murder.
HELD: NO. petition is DENIED for lack of merit. CA AFFIRMED WITH THE MODIFICATION indeterminate penalty of from two (2) years of prision correccional in its minimum period, as minimum, to nine (9) years and four (4) months of prision mayor in its medium period, as maximum. No costs.
• When a wound is not sufficient to cause death, but intent to kill is evident, the crime is attempted.
• Intent to kill is a specific intent which the prosecution must prove by direct or circumstantial evidence, while general criminal intent is presumed from the commission of a felony by dolo.
o evidence to prove intent to kill in crimes against persons may consist, inter alia, in the means used by the malefactors, the nature, location and number of wounds sustained by the victim, the conduct of the malefactors before, at the time, or immediately after the killing of the victim, the circumstances under which the crime was committed and the motives of the accused
Intent to kill was shown by the fact that the 3 brothers helped each other maul the defenseless victim, and even after he had already fallen to the ground; that one of them even picked up a cement hollow block and proceeded to hit the victim on the head with it 3 times; and that it was only the arrival of the policemen that made them desist from their concerted act of trying to kill Ruben
o If the victim dies as a result of a deliberate act of the malefactors, intent to kill is presumed
• The first requisite of an attempted felony consists of two elements, namely:
(1) That there be external acts;
(2) Such external acts have direct connection with the crime intended to be committed.
• overt or external act - some physical activity or deed, indicating the intention to commit a particular crime, more than a mere planning or preparation, which if carried out to its complete termination following its natural course, without being frustrated by external obstacles nor by the spontaneous desistance of the perpetrator, will logically and necessarily ripen into a concrete offense
o Reason: so long as the equivocal quality remains, no one can say with certainty what the intent of the accused is
o overt acts must have an immediate and necessary relation to the offense
• They attacked the victim in a sudden and unexpected manner as Ruben was walking with his 3-year-old daughter, impervious of the imminent peril to his life. He had no chance to defend himself and retaliate. He was overwhelmed by the synchronized assault of the 3 siblings. The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack on the victim. Even if the attack is frontal but is sudden and unexpected, giving no opportunity for the victim to repel it or defend himself, there would be treachery
o There being conspiracy by and among petitioners, treachery is considered against all of them
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