Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1920 > March 1920 Decisions > G.R. No. 15635 March 16, 1920 - UNITED STATES v. FULGENCIO TANDOC

040 Phil 954:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 15635. March 16, 1920. ]

THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. FULGENCIO TANDOC ET AL., Defendants. FULGENCIO TANDOC, JOSE CORPUS and BERNARDINO RUIZ, Appellants.

Rafael Monserrat for Appellants.

Attorney-General Paredes for Appellee.

SYLLABUS


1. TUMULTOUS AFFRAY. — A tumultuous affray takes place when a quarrel occurs between several persons and they engage in a confused and tumultuous affray, in the course of which same person is killed or wounded and the author thereof cannot be ascertained. (Arts. 405 and 420 of the Penal Code.) Held: That in the instant case, according to the facts proved, there was no tumultuous affray.

2. HOMICIDE. — It was a quarrel between a group of men, which was the assaulted, and another group which was the assailant. There was no confusion in the aggression as well as in the defense. The accused, who were the aggressors, were united in their common purpose to attack. United they put into execution this purpose, materially cooperating with each other in delivering upon the deceased the blows which caused his death. This unity of purpose and action determines the aggressors’ common responsibility for the consequences of the aggression and constitutes the act a homicide.

3. AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCE; ABUSE OF SUPERIOR STRENGTH; PENALTY. — In view of the greater number of the aggressors in relation to the number of the assaulted party, and the circumstance that the former were all armed with deadly weapons, the aggression must be considered as attended with the aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength and the maximum degree of the penalty must be imposed.


D E C I S I O N


AVANCEÑA, J. :


On or about the 7th of January, 1917, Melecio de Vera, the man in charge of Victorino Navarro’s land in the barrio of San Jose, municipality of Urdaneta, Pangasinan, was gathering tobacco on said land assisted by his laborers, Lorenzo de Veras Luis Moyalde, Celestino Para-an and Fernando Ferrer. While engaged in this work, they heard the sound of a horn, which was repeated a few moments afterwards, and then towards the eastern side of the land they discerned many men, more than thirteen in number, coming towards them, and when these persons came the latter surrounded and attacked them. During the fight Louis Moyalde and Fernando Ferrer were wounded; and when the aggressors saw them fallen on the ground covered with blood, Jose Corpus, one of the aggressors, sounded the horn and his companions withdrew.

The land where the incident took place was claimed as his property by Jose Bengzon, who in October, 1916, obtained from the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan a preliminary injunction against Melecio de’ Vera enjoining the later, his agents and other persons working under him from disturbing Jose Bengzon or his tenants in the harvest of the palay growing on said land. Later, however, Melecio de Vera, having given an obligation with sureties to answer for the damages which Jose Bengzon might suffer, that injunction was dissolved. But, although this injunction was dissolved and Jose Bengzon and his tenants were notified thereof, the latter did not allow Melecio de Vera and his workmen to enter upon said land. Melecio de Vera accused Jose Bengzon and his tenants of contempt, and the court issued an order requiring Jose Bengzon, Fulgencio Tandoc, Jose Corpus and Alberto Campanero to appear in court on April 17, 1917, and show cause why they should not be punished for contempt. Things stood thus when, as has already been said, on the 7th of January, 1917, Melecio, de Vera and his workmen were attacked on the same land. The aggressors were Jose Pengzon’s men, among whom were identified the fourteen accused in this cause, led by Fulgencio Tandoc. Luis de Vera, Jose Corpus and Bernardino Ruiz were identified as among those who wounded Luis Moyalde. Fulgencio Tandoc struck Luis Moyalde’s head with a bamboo stick, the latter falling to the ground; and while in this position, Luis de Vera, Jose Corpus and Bernardino Ruiz also gave him blows with clubs and canes. On the evening of the same day Luis Moyalde died as a result of the blows received by him, the most serious of’ which was the one dealt on his head by Fulgencio Tandoc. The information filed in this cause has to do only with the death of Luis Moyalde.

The fourteen men above-mentioned were charged in the information. The accused Domingo Galvez having died before the trial, the prosecution was dismissed as to him After hearing the evidence, the court found Fulgencio Tandoc, Luis de Vera and Bernardino Ruiz guilty and sentenced them to be imprisoned for four years, to suffer the accessory penalties provided for by law, to indemnify, jointly and severally, Luis Moyalde’s heirs in the sum of P1,000, and to pay each one-fourteenth part of the costs. The rest of the accused were acquitted, with the remaining part of the costs de officio. From this judgment Fulgencio Tandoc, Luis de Vera, Jose Corpus and Bernardino Ruiz appealed.

The lower court classified the facts proven in this case as constituting the crime of homicide caused in a tumultuous affray. We are of the opinion that this classification is erroneous. A tumultuous affray takes place when a quarrel occurs between several persons and they engage in a confused and tumultuous affray, in the course of which some person is killed or wounded and the author thereof cannot be ascertained. (Arts. 405 and 420 of’ the Penal Code.) Such were not the facts in this case. The quarrel here was between two well-known groups of men. The party formed by the deceased and his companions was the one attacked and that formed by the appellants was the aggressor. There was no confusion in the aggression as well as in the defense. The appellants and their companions were united in their common purpose to attack, as is shown by the circumstance that they have rallied together under the signal of two sounds of the horn, in order to commence said aggression and they withdrew from the field also under the signal of one sound of the horn. As is apparent, united they also put into execution this common purpose by cooperating with each other in inflicting upon the deceased the blows which caused his death. This unity of purpose determines the aggressors’ common responsibility for the consequences of the aggression, for which reason the act cannot be considered as a tumultuous affray for the responsible authors are known. The act, therefore, constitutes the crime of homicide.

In view of the numerical superiority of the appellants and their companions in relation to the number of the party of deceased and his companions and the fact that the former were all armed and three of them carried deadly weapons, the aggression must be considered as attended with the aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength, which raises the penalty to be imposed upon the accused to the maximum degree.

The judgment appealed from is modified, and the appellants are sentenced, in accordance with article 404 of the Penal Code, to seventeen years, four months and one day of reclusion temporal. Said judgment is in all other respects affirmed. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Torres, Araullo, Street and Malcolm, JJ., concur.




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