G.R. No. 1287. January 04, 1905

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4 Phil. 110

[ G.R. No. 1287. January 04, 1905 ]




On February 12, 1903, a complaint was filed by the provincial fiscal
of the Province of Abra, charging the individuals Januario Bermudez
(alias) Gabat, Pedro Baguiao, Rafael Princena (alias) Peru, Ignacio
Bennudez, and Emiliano Berido with the crime of murder and robbery, in
that on a Friday evening, about the end of November, 1901, said
individuals broke into a house situated in a lonely and out-of-the-way
place called Narnara, in the town of Pilar, which house was occupied by
Mariano Valera and his wife, Agatona Barbadillo, and robbed the said
husband and wife of all their money and jewelry, and wounded and killed
them with cutting weapons, contrary to the statutes in such case.

The case having come for trial as to the said Januario and Pedro
(the other three having been arraigned separately), these two
individuals pleaded not guilty, and the case having been heard with all
the formalities required by law, the court found each of these
defendants guilty of the crime they were charged with, and sentenced
each of them to the penalty of death, to be executed in the capital of
the province. From this judgment the defendants appealed.

It has been fully proved in the case by the testimony of competent
witnesses that on a Monday morning in the month of November, 1901, the
bodies of Mariano Valera and his wife, Agatona Barbadillo, were found
in the house aforesaid, with several wounds, which undoubtedly caused
their death.

These facts only tend to prove a homicide, and not murder, since it
does not appear in a direct and conclusive way in the case that the
violent death of said husband and wife was perpetrated with the
concurrence of any one of the five circumstances enumerated in article
403 of the Penal Code. As this court has said in several of its
decisions, in accordance with the doctrine of the tribunals as
regarding the application of the principles of the Penal Code in cases
analogous to this one, these circumstances, as specific and qualifying
the act of killing a human being, must be proved in an evident and
incontestable manner, mere presumptions or deductions from hypothetical
facts not being sufficient to consider them justified.

The motive which prompted the commission of the crime remains a
mystery. Nobody was present at the time it was committed, and the
details and circumstances of the act are wholly unknown. It does not
appear in the case that any signs were found that might show how and in
what positions the victims were when they were killed, since the
finding of the bodies and the result of the inspection of the house
where they were found were not. duly recorded, and for this reason the
facts can only be considered as constitutive of homicide and in nowise
of murder.

Again the case does not furnish sufficient proof of the commission
of the crime of robbery since, in spite of the statement of Emeteria
Barbadillo, sister of the deceased Agatona, to the effect that after
the death of the husband and wife the money and horses belonging to
them disappeared, and only some of the jewelry, gold, and clothes was
found, yet the truth is that Isidro Borgona, the justice of the peace
who made the preliminary investigation of the case, affirms that the
two defendants, Bermudez and Baguiao, only confessed and declared
themselves guilty of the murder, without giving the motive that induced
them to commit it, or giving the details of the occurrence, or
confessing the presumed robbery attributed to them. Considering the
fact that the case does not furnish sufficient proof of the reality and
existence of the crime of robbery there is no way in law to sentence
the defendants as guilty of the complex crime of robbery with homicide.
The case does not show conclusively on its merits that the homicide had
been committed in order to commit robbery, since this last crime has
not been proved, and therefore a mere presumption that the homicide was
committed to rob the victims is not sufficient.

Notwithstanding the denial of the two defendants, Januario Bermudez
and Pedro Baguiao, the case, however, shows sufficient proof of the
fact that they, together with some others, were the authors of the
violent deaths for which they are now prosecuted. It so appears from
the testimony of several witnesses before whom the accused made several
statements, voluntarily confessing the crime of homicide consisting in
said violent deaths executed on the persons of the husband and wife

It is to be noticed that Juan Villamor, governor of the province,
and a witness in this case, on affirming that the two defendants,
Januario and Pedro, confessed to him to be themselves the authors of
the crime, and as to the motive that prompted them to commit it, he
affirms that both of them stated that they found no money or jewelry
belonging to the deceased, a detail which coincides with the statement
made by the justice of the peace, that the two defendants confessed
themselves guilty of the crime of murder, now qualified in this
decision as homicide only, for the reasons above stated; and it can be
affirmed that the witnesses, including Andrei Agcaoili, who testified
to having heard the statements or confessions made by the defendants as
regards their guilt of the crime now prosecuted, must refer only to the
homicide which is qualified in the process as murder.

It must be taken into consideration that in the commission of the
said crime there is the aggravating circumstance of its having been
committed in the house of the deceased, without the concurrence of any
extenuating circumstance that might neutralize the effects of said
aggravation, for which reason the corresponding penalty must be imposed
in its maximum degree, the circumstance that the defendants have been
charged with the crime of murder in the complaint being no obstacle to
it, since in the act qualified as murder a homicide is necessarily
included, and therefore, according to section 29 of General Orders, No.
58, it is proper to declare the defendant guilty of the crime of
homicide only.

By virtue of the reasons above stated, we believe that with the
reversal of the judgment of the court below the defendants, Januario
Bermudez (alias) Gabat and Pedro Baguiao should each be sentenced to
twenty years of reclusion, with the accessory penalties of
temporary absolute disqualification in its maximum degree and
subjection to the vigilance of the authorities during the time serving
the sentence, and for an equal period after it has been served, to
indemnify the heirs of each one of the deceased in the sum of P1,000,
Philippine currency, without subsidiary imprisonment, and to pay the
costs in both instances, one-half each. Let the case be remanded to the
court of origin with a certified copy of this decision and of the
judgment that shall be rendered in compliance herewith. So ordered.

Arellano, C. J. Mapa, Johnson, and Carson, JJ., concur.

Date created: April 23, 2014


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