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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
April-2003 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.C. No. 4984 April 1, 2003 - JULITO D. VITRIOLO, ET AL. v. FELINA DASIG

  • A.M. No. MTJ-03-1485 April 1, 2003 - FIDEL ISIP, JR. v. VALENTINO B. NOGOY

  • A.M. Nos. P-02-1620, P-02-1621, P-02-1622 & P-96-1194 April 1, 2003 - MELINDA F. PIMENTEL v. PERPETUA SOCORRO M. DE LEOZ

  • A.M. No. P-02-1643 April 1, 2003 - DIMAS ABALDE v. ANTONIO ROQUE

  • G.R. No. 137782 April 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARTURO R. NICOLAS

  • G.R. No. 138470 April 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARTEMIO GARCIA

  • G.R. No. 143084 April 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE TORELLOS

  • G.R. No. 148635 April 1, 2003 - MARILLA MAYANG CAVILE, ET AL. v. HEIRS OF CLARITA CAVILE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149453 April 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL. v. PANFILO M. LACSON

  • A.M. No. 01-1-13-RTC April 2, 2003 - RE: Report on the Examination of the Cash and Accounts

  • A.M. No. P-02-1545 April 2, 2003 - ZENAIDA C. GUTIERREZ, ET AL. v. RODOLFO V. QUITALIG

  • G.R. No. 139412 April 2, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RONALD CASTILLANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 149028-30 April 2, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARMANDO CABALLERO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149893 April 2, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MELCHOR RABAGO

  • A.C. No. 4958 April 3, 2003 - FIDEL D. AQUINO v. OSCAR MANESE

  • A.M. No. MTJ-02-1436 April 3, 2003 - JAIME C. TARAN v. JOSE S. JACINTO

  • A.M. No. P-02-1595 April 3, 2003 - TIMOTEO M. CASANOVA, JR. v. FELIZARDO P. CAJAYON

  • A.M. No. P-02-1650 April 3, 2003 - ZENAIDA REYES-MACABEO v. FLORITO EDUARDO V. VALLE

  • G.R. Nos. 111098-99 April 3, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PIO BISO

  • G.R. Nos. 143976 & 145846 April 3, 2003 - SPS. OSCAR and HAYDEE BADILLO v. ARTURO G. TAYAG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144444 April 3, 2003 - STATE INVESTMENT TRUST v. DELTA MOTORS CORP.

  • G.R. No. 150978 April 3, 2003 - POWTON CONGLOMERATE v. JOHNNY AGCOLICOL

  • G.R. No. 155875 April 3, 2003 - AGAPITO CRUZ FIEL, ET AL. v. KRIS SECURITY SYSTEMS, INC., ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-03-1482 April 4, 2003 - ILUMINADA SANTILLAN VDA. DE NEPOMUCENO v. NICASIO V. BARTOLOME

  • A.M. No. P-03-1690, MTJ-01-1363 & 01-12-02-SC April 4, 2003 - ESTRELLITA M. PAAS v. EDGAR E. ALMARVEZ

  • G.R. No. 108405 April 4, 2003 - JAIME D. VIERNES, ET AL. v. N;RC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117020 April 4, 2003 - VIRON TRANSPORTATION CO. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125938 April 4, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOEL JANSON, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140756 April 4, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JUAN GONZALES ESCOTE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141631 April 4, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERDINAND FRANCISCO

  • G.R. No. 143135 April 4, 2003 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. DAMAYAN NG PUROK 14, INC.

  • G.R. No. 143779 April 4, 2003 - FRANCISCA L. MARQUEZ v. SIMEON BALDOZ

  • G.R. Nos. 145309-10 April 4, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VIRGILIO FLORES

  • G.R. Nos. 144476 & 144629 April 8, 2003 - ONG YONG, ET AL. v. DAVID. S. TIU, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149022 April 8, 2003 - CARMENCITA D. CORONEL v. ANIANO A. DESIERTO, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-02-1428 April 9, 2003 - ARFRAN L. QUIÑONES v. FRANCISCO H. LOPEZ

  • A.M. No. P-02-1580 April 9, 2003 - RENE ESPINA v. JUAN A. GATO

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1630 April 9, 2003 - HEINZ R. HECK v. ANTHONY E. SANTOS

  • G.R. No. 119255 April 9, 2003 - TOMAS K. CHUA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126968 April 9, 2003 - RICARDO BALUNUECO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128568 April 9, 2003 - SPS. REYNALDO and ESMERALDA ALCARAZ v. PEDRO M. TANGGA-AN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132371 April 9, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO Q. SIMBAHON

  • G.R. No. 133003 April 9, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LAWRENCE MACAPANPAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141258 April 9, 2003 - TOMASA SARMIENTO v. SPS. LUIS & ROSE SUN-CABRIDO ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 141314 & 141369 April 9, 2003 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. REPRESENTED BY ENERGY REGULATORY BOARD v. MERALCO

  • G.R. No. 143004 April 9, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANTE CLIDORO

  • G.R. No. 143432 April 9, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TERENCIO L. FUNESTO

  • G.R. No. 146034 April 9, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LASTIDE A. SUBE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146815 April 9, 2003 - HEIRS OF PEDRO, ET AL. v. STERLING TECHNOPARK III ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 147468 April 9, 2003 - SPS. EDUARDO & JOSEFINA DOMINGO v. LILIA MONTINOLA ROCES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 147745 April 9, 2003 - MARIA BUENA OBRA v. SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM

  • G.R. No. 148727 April 9, 2003 - SPS. HERMOGENA AND JOSE ENGRESO v. NESTORIA DE LA CRUZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149038 April 9, 2003 - PHIL. AMERICAN GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY v. PKS SHIPPING COMPANY

  • G.R. No. 149110 April 9, 2003 - NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION v. CITY OF CABANATUAN

  • G.R. No. 149422 April 10, 2003 - DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM v. APEX INVESTMENT AND FINANCING CORP.

  • G.R. No. 149578 April 10, 2003 - EVELYN TOLOSA v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143540 April 11, 2003 - JOEL G. MIRANDA v. ANTONIO C. CARREON, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148138 April 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHNNY VIAJEDOR

  • A.M. No. P-02-1645 April 21, 2003 - GILBERT HOWARD M. ATIENZA v. JOSEPHINE V. DINAMPO

  • A.M. No. P-03-1695 April 21, 2003 - ARTEMIO H. QUIDILLA v. JUNAR G. ARMIDA

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1756 April 22, 2003 - AURORA S. GONZALES v. VICENTE A. HIDALGO

  • G.R. No. 127745 April 22, 2003 - FELICITO G. SANSON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129163 April 22, 2003 - VOLTAIRE ARBOLARIO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 138650-58 April 22, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. IGNACIO SINORO

  • G.R. No. 140707 April 22, 2003 - NORGENE POTENCIANO, ET AL. v. DWIGHT "IKE" B. REYNOSO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146942 April 22, 2003 - CORAZON G. RUIZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152329 April 22, 2003 - ALEJANDRO ROQUERO v. PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1763 April 24, 2003 - JOSE B. TIONGCO v. FLORENTINO P. PEDRONIO

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1770 April 24, 2003 - MELISSA E. MAÑO v. CAESAR A. CASANOVA

  • G.R. No. 123968 April 24, 2003 - URSULINA GANUELAS, ET AL. v. ROBERT T. CAWED, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137182 April 24, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ABDILA L. SILONGAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 137458-59 April 24, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JESUS G. BATOCTOY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137601 April 24, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WINCHESTER ABUT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139230 April 24, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MANUEL DANIELA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143672 April 24, 2003 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. GENERAL FOODS (PHILS.), INC.

  • G.R. No. 145915 April 24, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VILMA Z. ALMENDRAS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 147038 April 24, 2003 - RICHARD TEH v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1370 April 25, 2003 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. AGUSTIN T. SARDIDO

  • G.R. No. 118749 April 25, 2003 - SPS LORENZO and LORENZA FRANCISCO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141187 April 28, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RONNIE A. MACTAL

  • A.C. No. 5225 April 29, 2003 - SPS. WILFREDO & LYDIA BOYBOY v. VICTORIANO R. YABUT, JR.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-02-1453 April 29, 2003 - EDITHA PALMA GIL v. FRANCISCO H. LOPEZ, JR.

  • A.M. No. P-02-1615 April 29, 2003 - PEDRO MAGNAYE v. ERIBERTO R. SABAS

  • G.R. No. 119858 April 29, 2003 - EDWARD C. ONG v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122363 April 29, 2003 - VICTOR G. VALENCIA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127002 April 29, 2003 - JEREMIAS L. DOLINO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 135394 April 29, 2003 - JOSE V. DELA RAMA v. FRANCISCO G. MENDIOLA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139841 April 29, 2003 - EMILIO C. VILLAROSA v. DEMOSTHENES L. MAGALLANES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141518 April 29, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CLARENCE ASTUDILLO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142015 April 29, 2003 - RURAL BANK OF STA. IGNACIA v. PELAGIA DIMATULAC

  • G.R. No. 147230 April 29, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. REYNALDO R. REMERATA

  • G.R. No. 150656 April 29, 2003 - MARGARITA ROMUALDEZ-LICAROS v. ABELARDO B. LICAROS

  • A.C. No. 4724 April 30, 2003 - GORETTI ONG v. JOEL M. GRIJALDO

  • A.M. No. CA-99-9-P April 30, 2003 - MAGTANGGOL GABRIEL v. VIRGINIA C. ABELLA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-00-1445 April 30, 2003 - MEDARDO M. PADUA v. IRENEO S. PAZ

  • A.M. No. P-02-1599 April 30, 2003 - LEANDRO T. LOYAO v. MAMERTO J. CAUBE, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-02-1600 April 30, 2003 - DOMINADOR. AREVALO, ET AL. v. EDGARDO S. LORIA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-03-1696 April 30, 2003 - CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION v. ZENAIDA T. STA. ANA

  • A.M. RTJ No. 03-1761 April 30, 2003 - JOSE B. CUSTODIO v. JESUS V. QUITAIN

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1775 April 30, 2003 - ISAGANI A. CRUZ v. PHILBERT I. ITURRALDE

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1779 April 30, 2003 - JOVENCITO R. ZUÑO, ET AL. v. ARNULFO G. CABREDO

  • G.R. Nos. 107789 & 147214 April 30, 2003 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116326 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERT LEE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121211 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RONETO DEGAMO

  • G.R. No. 121637 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGARDO GREFALDIA

  • G.R. No. 125761 April 30, 2003 - SALVADOR P. MALBAROSA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126568 April 30, 2003 - QUIRINO GONZALES LOGGING CONCESSIONAIRE, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126911 April 30, 2003 - PHIL. DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127141 April 30, 2003 - SPS. EMMANUEL and MELANIE LANTIN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128378 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERT GOMEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128512 & 128963 April 30, 2003 - DARIO P. BELONGHILOT v. RTC OF ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE

  • G.R. No. 129090 April 30, 2003 - RICARDO B. GONZALES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129895 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARMANDO C. DALAG

  • G.R. No. 134940 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CATALINO MELENDRES

  • G.R. No. 138266 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PEDRO CABRERA, JR.

  • G.R. No. 139876 April 30, 2003 - WILLIAM TIU and/or THE ROUGH RIDERS v. JULIO PASAOL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140753 April 30, 2003 - BENJAMIN S. SANTOS v. ELENA VELARDE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141375 April 30, 2003 - MUNICIPALITY OF KANANGA v. FORTUNITO L. MADRONA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142435 April 30, 2003 - ESTELITA BURGOS LIPAT, ET AL. v. PACIFIC BANKING CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142591 April 30, 2003 - JOSEPH CHAN, ET AL. v. BONIFACIO S. MACEDA

  • G.R. Nos. 144445-47 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GENARO BIONG

  • G.R. No. 146099 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JIMMEL SANIDAD, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146481 April 30, 2003 - ARTURO G. RIMORIN, SR. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. Nos. 146685-86 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENJAMIN M. HILET

  • G.R. Nos. 146862-64 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GAUDENCIO D. UMBAÑA

  • G.R. No. 146886 April 30, 2003 - DEVORAH E. BARDILLON v. BARANGAY MASILI of Calamba, Laguna

  • G.R. No. 146923 April 30, 2003 - BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 147033 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO UMAYAM

  • G.R. Nos. 148394-96 April 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGER ELIARDA

  • G.R. No. 150179 April 30, 2003 - HEIRS OF WILLIAM SEVILLA, ET AL. v. LEOPOLDO SEVILLA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 150820-21 April 30, 2003 - SPS. ANTONIO and GENOVEVA BALANON-ANICETE, ET AL. v. PEDRO BALANON

  • G.R. No. 154037 April 30, 2003 - IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF BENJAMIN VERGARA, ET AL.

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    G.R. No. 126968   April 9, 2003 - RICARDO BALUNUECO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    SECOND DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 126968. April 9, 2003.]

    RICARDO BALUNUECO, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS and the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.

    D E C I S I O N


    BELLOSILLO, J.:


    On appeal by certiorari is the Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals affirming with modifications the decision 2 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 68, convicting accused RICARDO BALUNUECO of homicide for the death of Senando Iguico and frustrated homicide for injuries inflicted upon his wife Amelia Iguico.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Of the five (5) original accused, 3 only petitioner Ricardo, Accused Reynaldo, Juanito, all surnamed Balunueco, and Armando Flores were indicted in two (2) Informations, the first for homicide 4 and the second for frustrated homicide. 5 Again, of the four (4) indictees, only Ricardo and Reynaldo were brought to the jurisdiction of the court a quo, while Juanito and Armando have remained at large. Accused Reynaldo died on 17 November 1986. Accordingly, as against him, the criminal cases were dismissed. Thus, only the criminal cases against petitioner Ricardo Balunueco are subject of this appeal.

    As principal witness for the prosecution, Amelia Iguico narrated that on 2 May 1982 at around 6:00 o’clock in the evening she was coddling her youngest child in front of her house at Bagong Tanyag, Taguig, when she saw accused Reynaldo, his father Juanito and brothers Ricardo and Ramon, all surnamed Balunueco, and one Armando Flores chasing her brother-in-law Servando Iguico. With the five (5) individuals in hot pursuit, Servando scampered into the safety of Amelia’s house.

    Meanwhile, according to private complainant Amelia, her husband Senando, who was then cooking supper, went out of the house fully unaware of the commotion going on outside. Upon seeing Senando, Reynaldo turned his attention on him and gave chase. Senando instinctively fled towards the fields but he was met by Armando who hit him with a stone, causing Senando to feel dizzy. Reynaldo, Ricardo, and Armando cornered their quarry near a canal and ganged up on him. Armando placed a can on top of Senando’s head and Ricardo repeatedly struck Senando with an ax on the head, shoulder, and hand. At one point, Ricardo lost his hold on the ax, but somebody tossed him a bolo and then he continued hacking the victim who fell on his knees. To shield him from further violence, Amelia put her arms around her husband but it was not enough to detract Ricardo from his murderous frenzy. Amelia was also hit on the leg. 6

    Dr. Maximo Reyes, NBI Senior Medico-legal officer, declared that on 3 May 1982 he conducted a post mortem examination on the body of the deceased Senando Iguico and issued an Autopsy Report, which contained the following findings: 7 (a) two (2) stab wounds and nine (9) gaping hack wounds; and, (b) cause of death was hemorrhage, acute, profuse, secondary to multiple stab and hack wounds.

    In his defense, Accused Ricardo narrated a different version of the incident. He testified that at that time he was fetching water when he heard somebody shouting: "Saya, saya, tinataga," referring to his brother Reynaldo. When he hurried to the place, he saw his brother Ramon embracing Senando who was continuously hacking Reynaldo. Thereafter, Senando shoved Ramon to the ground and as if further enraged by the intrusion, he turned his bolo on the fallen Ramon. Ricardo screamed, "tama na yan, mga kapatid ko ‘yan." But the assailant would not be pacified as he hacked Ramon on the chest. At this point, Servando, 8 the brother of Senando, threw an axe at him but Reynaldo picked it up and smashed Senando with it.

    Manuel Flores, another witness for the defense, gave a substantially similar version of the story. He testified that on the fateful day of the incident, while doing some carpentry work in front of his mother’s house, he saw Senando Iguico, 9 a.k.a. "Bulldog," with a bolo on hand trailing brothers Reynaldo alias "Sayas" and Ramon while walking towards Bagong Bantay. Suddenly, Senando confronted the two (2) brothers and started hacking Reynaldo, hitting him on the head, arm and stomach. Seeing that his brother was absorbing fatal blows, Ramon embraced Senando but the latter shoved him (Ramon) and directed his fury at him instead. Ricardo went to the rescue of his brothers but he too was hacked by Senando.

    The trial court disbelieved the version of accused Ricardo, thus he was found guilty of homicide in Crim. Case No. 49576 and frustrated homicide in Crim. Case No. 49577. It reasoned that the testimony of Amelia Iguico was clear, positive, straightforward, truthful and convincing. On the other hand, according to the trial court, the denial of Ricardo was self-serving and calculated to extricate himself from the predicament he was in. Further, the trial court added that the wounds allegedly received by Ricardo in the hands of the victim, Senando Iguico, if at all there were any, did not prove that Senando was the aggressor for the wounds were inflicted while Senando was in the act of defending himself from the aggression of Ricardo and his co-conspirators. 10

    The Court of Appeals sustained the conviction of accused Ricardo, giving full faith to the direct and positive testimony of Amelia Iguico who pointed to him as the one who initially axed her husband Senando on the head, shoulder and hand. 11 While the appellate court upheld the conviction of Ricardo of homicide for the death of Senando Iguico, it however ruled that his conviction for the wounding of Amelia Iguico, although likewise upheld, should be for attempted homicide only. On the wounding of Amelia, the appellate court had this to say — 12

    For while intent to kill was proven, Amelia’s hack wound in her left leg was not proven to be fatal or that it could have produced her death had there been no timely medical attention provided her, hence, the stage of execution of the felony committed would only be attempted.

    Petitioner now imputes errors to the Court of Appeals: (a) in not taking into consideration the fact that petitioner, if indeed he participated, had acted in defense of relatives; (b) in giving due credence to the self-serving and baseless testimony of Amelia Iguico, the lone and biased witness for the prosecution; and, (c) in failing to consider the several serious physical injuries sustained by petitioner and his brother Reynaldo Balunueco.

    In a reprise of his stance at the trial, petitioner argues that assuming he participated in the killing of Senando, he acted in defense of his full-blood relatives: Reynaldo whom he personally witnessed being boloed by the deceased in the arms, head and stomach; and Ramon who also became a victim of the deceased’s fury after he was pushed by the deceased and had fallen to the ground. Under such circumstances, the act of Senando in hacking him after he tried to rescue his brothers, gave rise to a reasonable necessity for him to use a means to prevent or repel the unlawful aggression. Considering further that there was lack of sufficient provocation on his part, his acts were therefore justified under Art. 11, par. (2), of The Revised Penal Code.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    In effect, petitioner invokes the justifying circumstance of defense of relatives under Art. 11, par. (2), of The Revised Penal Code. The essential elements of this justifying circumstance are the following: (a) unlawful aggression; (b) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it; and, (c) in case the provocation was given by the person attacked, the one making the defense had no part therein.

    Of the three (3) requisites of defense of relatives, unlawful aggression is a condition sine qua non, for without it any defense is not possible or justified. In order to consider that an unlawful aggression was actually committed, it is necessary that an attack or material aggression, an offensive act positively determining the intent of the aggressor to cause an injury shall have been made; a mere threatening or intimidating attitude is not sufficient to justify the commission of an act which is punishable per se, and allow a claim of exemption from liability on the ground that it was committed in self-defense or defense of a relative. It has always been so recognized in the decisions of the courts, in accordance with the provisions of the Penal Code. 13

    Having admitted the killing of the victim, petitioner has the burden of proving these elements by clear and convincing evidence. He must rely on the strength of his own evidence and not on the weakness of that of the prosecution, for even if the prosecution evidence is weak it cannot be disbelieved if the accused has admitted the killing. 14

    In the case at bar, petitioner Ricardo utterly failed to adduce sufficient proof of the existence of a positively strong act of real aggression on the part of the deceased Senando. With the exception of his self-serving allegations, there is nothing on record that would justify his killing of Senando.

    First, Ricardo’s theory that when he reached the crime scene he found Senando repeatedly hacking his brother Reynaldo who thereafter retaliated by smashing an axe on the victim’s head is implausible in light of the seriousness of the wounds sustained by the deceased as compared to the minor injuries inflicted upon petitioner and his two (2) brothers. The fact that three (3) of the assailants suffered non-fatal injuries bolsters the fact that Senando tried vainly to ward off the assaults of his assailants.

    Second, Ricardo failed to present himself to the authorities. He may have accompanied the injured Reynaldo to the hospital after the encounter but still he failed to present himself to the authorities and report the matter to them. The natural impulse of any person who has killed someone in defense of his person or relative is to bring himself to the authorities and try to dispel any suspicion of guilt that the authorities might have against him. This fact assumes a more special significance considering that his co-accused, Juanito and Armando, have remained at large.

    Third, petitioner had a rather erratic recollection of people and events. He vividly remembered how Reynaldo was injured by Senando but conveniently failed to recall the events leading to the fatal wounding of the deceased. At another point, he testified that Reynaldo axed Senando but later retracted his statement by declaring that it was in fact Senando who hacked Reynaldo. 15 We observe that the killing occurred within or near the premises of the deceased. This proves per adventure the falsity of petitioner’s claim that it was Senando, rather than he and his kin, who had initiated the unlawful aggression.

    On the other hand, private complainant pointed to petitioner as one of the principal actors in the slaying of her husband Senando and the court a quo found her testimony worthy of belief. The unbending jurisprudence is that findings of trial courts on the matter of credibility of witnesses are entitled to the highest degree of respect and will not be disturbed on appeal. 16 The lower court also declared, and we agree, that private complainant’s relationship with the deceased does not disqualify her from testifying in the criminal case involving her relative or automatically sully her testimony with the stain of bias.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    On the injuries sustained by Amelia, we are of the opinion that, contrary to the finding of the lower court as affirmed by the appellate court, petitioner’s homicidal intent has not been indubitably established. As held in People v. Villanueva, 17 the intent to kill being an essential element of the offense of frustrated or attempted homicide, said element must be proved by clear and convincing evidence, and with the same degree of certainty as required of the other elements of the crime. The inference of intent to kill should not be drawn in the absence of circumstances sufficient to prove such intent beyond reasonable doubt.

    The facts as borne out by the records do not warrant a finding that petitioner intended to kill Amelia. Contrarily, the circumstances of the instant case indicate the opposite: (a) that while petitioner was repeatedly assaulting the deceased, Amelia embraced her husband in an attempt to avert further infliction of pain upon him; and, (b) when he hit Amelia once on the left leg, a wound of slight nature, he did not do anything more to pursue his homicidal urge 18 but instead allowed her to scurry away. This set of details reinforces this Court’s belief that petitioner had no intention of killing Amelia but nonetheless wounded her either because she unwittingly exposed herself in the so-called "line-of-fire" when she embraced her husband, or that it was intended more to deter her from further interfering. Had killing Amelia actually crossed petitioner’s mind, he would have opted to hit his quarry on the vital portions of her body or strike her several times more to attain his objective. But these he never did.

    Considering that the injuries suffered by Amelia were not necessarily fatal and required a medical attendance of four (4) days, 19 we hold that the offense committed by petitioner is only that of slight physical injuries. Under Art. 266, par. (1), of The Revised Penal Code, this is punishable by arresto menor the duration of which is from one (1) to thirty (30) days. 20

    WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals in Crim. Case No. 49576 finding petitioner Ricardo Balunueco guilty of Homicide is AFFIRMED, and there being no mitigating nor aggravating circumstance, petitioner is sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of six (6) years, two (2) months and ten (10) days of prision mayor minimum, as minimum, to fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months and twenty (20) days of reclusion temporal medium, as maximum. Consistent with prevailing jurisprudence, his civil liability to the heirs of Senando Iguico is fixed at P50,000.00. The assailed Decision in Crim. Case No. 49577 for Attempted Homicide, on the other hand, is MODIFIED. Petitioner Ricardo Balunueco is found guilty only of Slight Physical Injuries for the wounding of Amelia Iguico, and is accordingly sentenced to suffer a straight prison term of ten (10) days of arresto menor, and to pay the costs.

    SO ORDERED.

    Quisumbing, Austria-Martinez and Callejo, Sr., JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. Decision penned by Associate Justice Conchita Carpio Morales, (now with this Court), concurred in by Associate Justices Nathanael P. De Pano, Jr., and Fermin A. Martin, Jr., First Division, Court of Appeals, CA-G.R. CR No. 13446.

    2. Decision penned by Judge Willelmo C. Fortun, RTC-Br. 68, Pasig City.

    3. Ricardo Balunueco (accused-appellant), Reynaldo "Sayas" Balunueco, Juanito Balunueco, Ramon Balunueco and Armando Flores.

    4. Docketed as Crim. Case No. 49576.

    5. Docketed as Crim. Case No. 49577.

    6. TSN, 12 February 1985, p. 9.

    7. Exh. "C."cralaw virtua1aw library

    8. Brother-in-law of the victim Senando Iguico per private complainant’s testimony.

    9. "Armando Eguico" in some parts of the records.

    10. Rollo, p. 49.

    11. Id. at 33.

    12. Id. at 36–37.

    13. US v. Guy-Sayco, 13 Phil. 292 (1909).

    14. People v. Emberga, G.R. No. 116616, 26 November 1999, 319 SCRA 304.

    15. TSN, 24 January 1990, p. 11.

    16. People v. Mana-ay, G.R. No. 132717, 20 November 2000, 345 SCRA 213.

    17. 51 Phil. 488 (1928).

    18. TSN, 12 September 1985, p. 45.

    19. Id. at 11.

    20. The Revised Penal Code, art. 27.

    G.R. No. 126968   April 9, 2003 - RICARDO BALUNUECO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.


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