Valenzuela v. People
G. R. No. 160188 June 21, 2007
Lessons Applicable: frustrated or consummated theft
Laws Applicable: Art. 6
• May 19, 1994 4:30 pm: Aristotel Valenzuela and Jovy Calderon were sighted outside the Super Sale Club, a supermarket within the ShoeMart (SM) complex along North EDSA, by Lorenzo Lago, a security guard who was then manning his post at the open parking area of the supermarket. Lago saw Valenzuela, who was wearing an ID with the mark “Receiving Dispatching Unit (RDU)” who hauled a push cart with cases of detergent of “Tide” brand and unloaded them in an open parking space, where Calderon was waiting. He then returned inside the supermarket and emerged 5 minutes after with more cartons of Tide Ultramatic and again unloaded these boxes to the same area in the open parking space. Thereafter, he left the parking area and haled a taxi. He boarded the cab and directed it towards the parking space where Calderon was waiting. Calderon loaded the cartons of Tide Ultramatic inside the taxi, then boarded the vehicle. As Lago watched, he proceeded to stop the taxi as it was leaving the open parking area and asked Valenzuela for a receipt of the merchandise but Valenzuela and Calderon reacted by fleeing on foot. Lago fired a warning shot to alert his fellow security guards. Valenzuela and Calderon were apprehended at the scene and the stolen merchandise recovered worth P12,090.
• Valenzuela, Calderon and 4 other persons were first brought to the SM security office before they were transferred to the Baler Station II of the Philippine National Police but only Valenzuela and Calderon were charged with theft by the Assistant City Prosecutor.
• They pleaded not guilty.
• Calderon’s Alibi: On the afternoon of the incident, he was at the Super Sale Club to withdraw from his ATM account, accompanied by his neighbor, Leoncio Rosulada. As the queue for the ATM was long, he and Rosulada decided to buy snacks inside the supermarket. While they were eating, they heard the gunshot fired by Lago, so they went out to check what was transpiring and when they did, they were suddenly grabbed by a security guard
• Valenzuela’s Alibi: He is employed as a “bundler” of GMS Marketing and assigned at the supermarket. He and his cousin, a Gregorio Valenzuela, had been at the parking lot, walking beside the nearby BLISS complex and headed to ride a tricycle going to Pag-asa, when they saw the security guard Lago fire a shot causing evryon to start running. Then they were apprehended by Lago.
• RTC: guilty of consummated theft
• CA: Confirmed RTC and rejected his contention that it should only be frustrated theft since at the time he was apprehended, he was never placed in a position to freely dispose of the articles stolen.
ISSUE: W/N Valenzuela should be guilty of consummated theft.
HELD: YES. petition is DENIED
• Article 6 defines those three stages, namely the consummated, frustrated and attempted felonies.
o A felony is consummated “when all the elements necessary for its execution and accomplishment are present.”
o It is frustrated “when the offender performs all the acts of execution which would produce the felony as a consequence but which, nevertheless, do not produce it by reason of causes independent of the will of the perpetrator.”
o It is attempted “when the offender commences the commission of a felony directly by overt acts, and does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the felony by reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance.”
• Each felony under the Revised Penal Code has a:
o subjective phase - portion of the acts constituting the crime included between the act which begins the commission of the crime and the last act performed by the offender which, with prior acts, should result in the consummated crime
if the offender never passes the subjective phase of the offense, the crime is merely attempted
o objective phase - After that point of subjective phase has been breached
subjective phase is completely passed in case of frustrated crimes
• the determination of whether a crime is frustrated or consummated necessitates an initial concession that all of the acts of execution have been performed by the offender
• The determination of whether the felony was “produced” after all the acts of execution had been performed hinges on the particular statutory definition of the felony.
• “actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea” - ordinarily, evil intent must unite with an unlawful act for there to be a crime or there can be no crime when the criminal mind is wanting
• In crimes mala in se, mens rea has been defined before as “a guilty mind, a guilty or wrongful purpose or criminal intent” and “essential for criminal liability.”
• Statutory definition of our mala in se crimes must be able to supply what the mens rea of the crime is and overt acts that constitute the crime
• Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code (Elements of Theft):
1. that there be taking of personal property - only one operative act of execution by the actor involved in theft
2. property belongs to another
3. taking be done with intent to gain - descriptive circumstances
4. taking be done without the consent of the owner - descriptive circumstances
5. taking be accomplished without the use of violence against or intimidation of persons or force upon things - descriptive circumstances
• Abandoned cases:
o U.S. v. Adiao: failed to get the merchandise out of the Custom House - consummated theft
o Diño: Military Police inspected the truck at the check point and found 3 boxes of army rifles - frustrated theft
o Flores: guards discovered that the “empty” sea van had actually contained other merchandise as well - consummated theft
o Empelis v. IAC: Fled the scene, dropping the coconuts they had seized - frustrated qualified theft because petitioners were not able to perform all the acts of execution which should have produced the felony as a consequence
cannot attribute weight because definition is attempted
• The ability of the actor “to freely dispose of the articles stolen, even if it were only momentary.”
o We are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the taking by the petitioner was completed in this case. With intent to gain, he acquired physical possession of the stolen cases of detergent for a considerable period of time that he was able to drop these off at a spot in the parking lot, and long enough to load these onto a taxicab.
• Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code, theft cannot have a frustrated stage. Theft can only be attempted (no unlawful taking) or consummated (there is unlawful taking).
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