G.R. No. 1663. February 28, 1905

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4 Phil. 231

[ G.R. No. 1663. February 28, 1905 ]




A trial being had against the defendant in this case for the crime
of robbery with homicide, the Court of First Instance of La Laguna
found the following facts: (1) That on the morning of the 22d day of
October, 1903, Mateo Macahasa received from the Chinaman Ang Cho, in
the town of Santa Cruz, the sum of 144 pesos as the price for the sale
of some copra; (2) that after receiving this amount Mateo Macahasa went
on board the banca belonging to Felipe Valdeabella, followed by Fideles
Rana, who was in another banca; (3) that when the two defendants
arrived at Maitalang on the shore of Laguna, Fideles Rana attacked
Mateo Macahasa from the rear, striking him with his bolo in the neck so
violently and so treacherously that he prevented all defense on part of
the injured party, the latter dying immediately as a result of the
wounds received; (4) that after Macahasa was killed Fideles Rana took
possession of the money of the deceased with the intention of profiting
thereby’, and delivered part of this amount to Felipe Valdeabella; (5)
that the defendants, Fideles Rana and Felipe Valdeabella, returned
together to Lumbang; (6) that Mateo Macahasa was picked up out of the
water in Maitalang and his wounds were observed as follows: A wound in
the posterior part of the cranium; another wound at the base of the
skull, also on the posterior surface, and, lastly, one in the face; (7)
that on the day following the occurrence it was learned by the children
of the deceased that the latter had left Santa Cruz for Lumbang,
carrying a sum of money, and that he had gone on board the banca of
Felipe Valdeabella; (8) that the court of the justice of the peace
having made all investigations, Felipe Valdeabella confessed these
facts, turning over the money which Fideles Rana had given to him and
accusing the latter as the murderer of Mateo Macahasa.

In view of these facts the court found Fideles Rana guilty of the
double crime of robbery with homicide and found that said crime was
accompanied by the aggravating circumstance of treachery (alevosia),
sentenced him to the penalty of death and to pay the family of the
deceased 1,000 dollars, to return the property taken, and to pay
one-half the costs; Felipe Valdeabella was found guilty of being an
accessory after the fact in said crime and was sentenced to the penalty
of eight years and one day of presidio mayor, to return the
sum of P59.50 which Fideles Rana gave him, and to pay 1,000 dollars to
the family of the deceased and the other half of the costs. Both
defendants appealed from the judgment of the court below.

The findings of fact of the court below as they have been stated
above are in accordance with the evidence adduced in the case, except
the third, as regards the statement made that Fideles Rana attacked
Mateo Macahasa from the rear so violently and so treacherously that he
prevented all defense on the part of the deceased. It is possible and
even probable that it was really so, but the evidence adduced in the
case is not sufficient to establish this conclusion. The only
eyewitness, Felipe Valdeabella, when asked how the assault took place,
answered as follows: “My back was toward them, and when I turned around
the banca was turned over, and when I came up near Mateo, Fideles said
to me, ‘Why do you come here?’ and made me go.” When asked again where
Fideles was when he assaulted Mateo he answered only as follows: “The
wound that I saw was inflicted when I was in the water.” Valdeabeila
made the same statement before the justice of the peace and his clerk
at Lumbang; according to the latter two, the only thing that
Valdeabella said when he related the manner in which the attack took
place was that, when he turned over his banca on passing through a
difficult part of the journey, he observed a blow with a bolo and
immediately the banca turned over.

These details are not sufficient to prove the fact that Fideles Rana
assaulted the deceased from the rear or that he did it so unexpectedly
and in such a way as to prevent all defense on the part of the
deceased. This fact can not be deduced with any degree of certainty
from the locations of the wounds which the deceased received, because
one of the wounds was in the posterior surface of the cranium, another
in the posterior surface of the neck, and the other in the face, and
there is an absence of proof as to which one of these wounds was the
first inflicted by the aggressor. Of course, from what the clerk of the
justice of the peace states, the wound in the skull was not the first
inflicted, because, according to this witness, Felipe Valdeabella
testified in the justice of the peace court that after the banca had
turned over “Fideles approached Mateo, took him from the water, and
gave him a blow in the head * * *” As the aggravating circumstance of
treachery (alevosia) is an important one, in considering it,
it should by all means be based on some positive conclusive proof and
not merely upon hypothetical facts, drawn more or less logically,
because it is necessary that the existence of this circumstance in the
commission of the crime should be proven as fully as the crime itself,
in order to aggravate the penalty incurred by the guilty party. There
is in this case no foundation for the consideration of the circumstance
of treachery (alevosia), and therefore the judgment appealed
from should be modified as to this part. There being no aggravating
circumstance and no extenuating, the penalty prescribed by subsection 2
of article 80 of the Penal Code, providing that when there are two
indivisible penalties the lesser one of these two penalties shall be
imposed, is applicable and therefore we sentence Fideles Rana to cadena perpetua by virtue of the provisions of paragraph 1, article 503, of the same code.

As regards Felipe Valdeabella, his guilt has been correctly found by
the court below and the penalty imposed upon him in the judgment
appealed from is in accordance with the law.

We therefore reverse the judgment appealed from as regards the death
penalty imposed upon Fideles Rana and we sentence him to cadena
perpetua. We affirm the judgment below as to the other parts, with the
costs in this instance against both defendants, one-half each. So

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

Date created: April 24, 2014


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