G.R. No. 1749. March 21, 1905

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4 Phil. 309

[ G.R. No. 1749. March 21, 1905 ]




In a complaint dated October 16, 1903, the provincial fiscal of
Capiz charged Fortunato Odicta with the crime of parricide. The
complaint stated that on the morning of the 4th of said month the
defendant, without any reason therefor, killed his wife, Juliana
Obafial, his two children, Honorato and Maria, and the young man named
Martin Abuna, 15 years of age, who lived in the house of defendant, in
the barrio of Matangcong, town of Sigma, Province of Capiz; all
contrary to law.

The trial was had in pursuance of the aforesaid complaint, and as a
result of the evidence adduced in same the court sentenced the
defendant to the death penalty, without stating anything as regards the
costs. Notwithstanding the fact that the defendant did not appeal, this
case has been brought here en consulta in accordance with the law.

From the evidence adduced during the trial, it is fully proven that
Fortunato Odicta, between 3 and 4 o’clock on the morning of said day,
killed his wife, Juliana Obafial, his two children, Honorato and Maria,
and the young man, Martin Abuna; that the bodies of the two children
and this young man were found inside of the defendant’s house, and also
three fighting cocks which had been killed; that outside of the house,
and near the kitchen of the adjoining house, the corpse of his wife,
Juliana, was found, due to the fact that before her death she ran from
her house to call for help at the adjoining house of Nicasio Castillo
and there fell dead near the kitchen; that, according to the autopsy
held by the physician on the body of Juliana, there was a large and
deep wound below the left armpit; that the wound was of a serious
nature and was a mortal wound; that the one wound in the neck of the
child Honorato, and the two wounds on the neck of the child Maria and
the one on the right shoulder, and the wound found on the neck of the
young man, Martin Abuna, were also of a serious and mortal nature; that
these wounds were inflicted with a bolo; and that two bolos stained
with blood were found on the floor of the house.

The owner of the adjoining house, Nicasio Castillo, awoke on the
morning of that day because of cries coming from Juliana Obafial, who
was asking for help because her husband had attacked her and her
children. Nicasio Castillo, because of fear, did not open the door of
his house, but, on the contrary, fastened it and then through a crack
in the door he saw the defendant with a bolo in his hand and heard him
address to his wife the following words, “That one you have received is
enough and then the woman fell down dead. He stated that he did not
know the reason why the defendant committed the murders; that the
defendant was not in the habit of getting drunk and he did not notice
that he was drunk that morning; that he did not notice that the
defendant left his house the night before, nor did he hear any quarrel
between the husband and wife; that his house was very near the house of
defendant and that through fear the latter would try to come into his
house he cried out for help to the other residents of the barrio; that
the inhabitants of the barrio came immediately in reply to his cries.

The defendant was turned over to three physicians for examination
and these doctors in their report (folio 58) stated that the defendant
was 28 years of age and that his constitution, although well organized,
was lymphatic; that his body and head were normal, without any defects;
that the functions of his circulatory, digestive, and nervous systems
were also normal; that he was somewhat emaciated as a result of the
crime which he committed; that he did not have any direct hereditary
antecedents of insanity; that from their examination they did not find
any symptoms of mental derangement, and that they therefore believed
that Fortunato Odicta in the commission of the crime was not actuated
by insanity but from other motives, which they could not specify, which
any sane person might have in committing such a crime, as, for
instance, intoxication.

By these facts duly proven in the case and from the testimony of the
eyewitnesses the execution of the grave crime of triple parricide and
murder becomes evident.

“He who shall kill his father, mother, child, whether legitimate or
illegitimate, or any other of his ascendants or descendants, or his
spouse, shall be punished as a parricide with the penalty of cadena perpetua
to death.” (Art. 402 of the Penal Code.) Taking for granted that the
young man, Martin Abana, was killed while asleep, because the attack
was made between 3 and 4 o’clock in the morning, it is undeniable that
the crime was accompanied by the circumstance of treachery and must be
designated as murder, as defined by article 404 of the Penal Code. This
designation, however, does not appear in the complaint.

The defendant, Fortunato Odicta, is the sole principal in the
commission of these crimes and was found guilty of said crimes. When he
was asked if he was guilty of the crimes charged against him he
answered that he pleaded guilty to any crime which they might charge
him with, because he committed it while he was drunk and without
knowing what he was doing. In a sworn statement the defendant declared
that he drank too much tuba, perhaps fifteen glasses; that he drank
first in his own house and then in the fields among the cocoanut
plantations, and for this reason he became intoxicated and did not know
what he was doing, but that he was not in his right mind. He did not
know whether, when he returned to his house, he slept there or not; he
stated, however, that when he arrived at his house he did not find his
wife there; that on account of the state which he was in he lay face
downward and wept over the death of his children.

Against the statements of the accused to the effect that he was
drunk on the morning of the occurrence there are the statements of the
municipal president, Nicasio Castillo, Atanasio Sarmiento, Dionisio
Navarra, and the physician, Mariano Venecio. Some of these witnesses
state that they saw and spoke to the defendant after the occurrence and
they affirm that he was not drunk then, and that he was not in the
habit of getting drunk at all. These statements are very contradictory
to the statements of the defendant.

It being evident that the defendant was the sole principal in the
commission of these crimes, there remains only the question as to
whether in the case there is any circumstance which should exempt him
from liability, since the reason for the commission of said horrible
crimes does not appear. From the evidence adduced during the trial it
appears that the defendant was in a healthy condition; that his mental
condition was normal, and the legal presumption, therefore, is that he
acted in his right mind, and it was the duty of the defense to show
that he was suffering from mental derangement or in a fit of insanity.
This has not been shown, however, and therefore the defendant must be
considered guilty and criminally liable for the crime of parricide. The
attorney for the defense asks that the defendant be acquitted, because
he is exempt from liability. He bases this petition on the ground that
the crimes were committed while Fortunato Odicta was in a state of
somnambulism, akin to insanity, If it had been proven in the case that
the defendant when he committed these crimes was really asleep, or in a
state of somnambulism, or unconscious of his acts, then instead of
coming under paragraph 1 of article 8 of the Penal Code this case would
come under the provisions of article 1 of the Penal Code, because a
somnambulist does not act voluntarily and therefore his acts do not
constitute a crime. But nothing of this appears proven in the case, and
therefore we must take into consideration that the defendant, while in
his right mind and reason, willfully killed all the members of his own

In the commission of the crime we must consider the presence of the
aggravating circumstance of superior force provided for in paragraph 9
of article 10 of the Penal Code. This aggravating circumstance is,
however, counterbalanced by the special extenuating circumstance
provided for in article 11 of the Penal Code, because of the low grade
of intelligence of the deceased. We must also take into consideration
the circumstance of intoxication, not habitual, provided for in
paragraph 6 of article 9 of the same code, since the defendant affirmed
when he pleaded guilty that he was drunk at the time he killed the
members of his family and did not know what he was doing, and there is
no legal reason why this statement should not be taken into
consideration as against the statement of the other witnesses who saw
him several hours after the crime had been committed and who assert
that this defendant was not drunk and that he was not in the habit of
getting drunk. These statements show that the intoxication, which to a
degree dominated and influenced the defendant to commit the crime, was
not habitual with him. Therefore the lesser of the two indivisible
penalties provided by law should be imposed on him.

By virtue, then, of the reasons above stated, we are of the opinion
that with a reversal of the judgment below Fortunate Odicta should be
sentenced to the penalty of cadena perpetua with the
accessories two and three of article 54 of the Penal Code, without
having to pay any indemnification on account of the relationship which
the defendant bore to the deceased, and to pay the costs in both

This case to be returned to the court below with a certified copy of
this decision and of the judgment which shall be rendered in accordance
herewith. So ordered.

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

Date created: April 24, 2014


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