G.R. No. 1726. March 29, 1905

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4 Phil. 357

[ G.R. No. 1726. March 29, 1905 ]




In a complaint dated September 24, 1903, the provincial fiscal of
Iloilo charged Prudencio Sornito and Juan Sondia with the crime of
homicide in that the defendants, while at the place called Miraga or
Lanog, in the town of Santa Barbara, on the 5th day of said month,
illtreated one Isabelo Hechanova, with a revolver and a gun which they
had, respectively, as members of the police of that town, inflicting
upon said Hechanova certain wounds in the forehead, back, neck, and in
the corner of the right eye. That the said Hechanova died as a result
of said wounds on the 12th day of said month. That the reason for the
attack was the fact that Isabelo did not respond immediately when,
called by the defendant Sornito. All these acts being committed
contrary to law. The case having come on for trial in pursuance to said
complaint, the judge, after considering the evidence adduced, sentenced
the said Prudencio Sornito to twenty years’ imprisonment and Juan
Sondia to seventeen years’ imprisonment, and both to jointly and
severally indemnify the heirs of the deceased in the sum of P1,000 and
to pay the costs, one-half each, and in case of insolvency, to suffer
subsidiary imprisonment. From this judgment the defendants appealed.

From the evidence adduced during the trial, it appears fully proven
by the testimony of competent witnesses that about 10 o’clock on the
morning of September 5, 1903, Jaro Isabelo Hechanova and his brother,
Honorato Hechanova, and Eliseo Hermano went to the town of Santa
Barbara to buy some chickens; that when they were passing through Calle
Real and in front of the store where three municipal policemen in
uniform, viz, Corporal Prudencio Sornito and Privates Juan Sondia and
Damasol Subieron, were standing, they were stopped by the latter; that
the corporal asked them where they had come from, and although they
answered that they came from Miraga, Corporal Sornito seized Isabela
Hechanova by the neck, for the reason that the latter did not come
immediately and beat him in the forehead with the butt of his revolver;
that at the same time Juan Sondia also beat him in the neck and behind
the right ear with the butt of his gun; that when the victim fell on
his face he continued to beat him in the back, and as the victim lay on
the floor they kicked him; that when Honorato came to help Isabelo and
to lift him from the ground, he was also attacked by Corporal Sornito;
that the latter then took them into the shop in order that Isabelo
might wash himself, as he was bloody; that Corporal Sornito then caught
Isabelo by the head and pounded it against a bamboo post, that the
other two policemen then, by order of the corporal, took Honorato and
Eliseo to the town, the corporal and the wounded man remaining near the
spot of the occurrence; that while on the road the policemen set
Honorato and Eliseo free; the latter two then went to the town and told
the facts to the justice of the peace, stating that Isabelo was
seriously wounded and covered with blood; that after the complaint was
made, and while the preliminary investigation was being had, Honorato
went with the doctor in search of the wounded man; that after the
latter was found he was taken to the house of a man named Munoy,
situated in Santa Barbara; that when they arrived at that house the
wounded man went to bed and never left it, dying on the next Saturday,
eight days after he was wounded, and as a result of the wounds
inflicted upon him; that during this period of time he was constantly
in bed, with his eyes closed and unable to speak, and when spoken to he
motioned with his hands to the bruises on his body; that he frequently
vomited blood through the mouth and nose; that some of his evacuations
were also of blood; that he never was able to take any food, as he
immediately threw it up, and, finally, that the deceased, Isabelo
Hechanova, was twenty-five years of age and before being illtreated was
in a good, healthy condition, but that during his sickness and until he
died he was unconscious and suffering with delirium and fever, all as a
result of the injuries which he received.

The doctor, Francisco Ginco, who made the autopsy on the body,
stated that the deceased had been wounded behind the right ear and in
the forehead, and that his back was swollen; that although he did not
see the deceased vomit blood, the people in the house assured him that
he had been bleeding and had vomited blood, and that he did not believe
that he died as a result of the blows received, because he was
recovering from same; that he did not know the cause of his death, but
that the deceased suffered from a very high fever, and he could not
explain the cause thereof.

It is a fact perfectly proven in this case that Isabelo Hechanova
was in a good and healthy condition before being maltreated by the
defendants, and that after this attack he suffered from the wounds
inflicted; that during the attack he fell to the ground, and after
being taken to the nearest house he went to bed, never to rise from it,
dying eight days afterwards; that during this period of time he was
bleeding through the mouth, nose, and intestines; that he had a very
high fever and was unconscious. For these reasons, it is undeniable
that his death was the result of the ill treatment he received.Nothing
appears to justify his death as the result of any other cause, and,
therefore, it can not be denied that the crime of homicide, provided
for and punished in article 404 of the Penal Code, was committed.

In the commission of the crime there appears no qualifying
circumstance to stamp the crime as murder. The assailants of the
deceased were Prudencio Sornito and Juan Sondia, and therefore they are
the only ones responsible for said homicide. From the fact that they
repeatedly struck the deceased and continued doing so even after he
fell to the ground, it must result that they had decided to cause the
gravest injury possible to the deceased. In crimes against the life of
a human being the results and effects of the criminal acts must
necessarily be taken into consideration in order to establish the
seriousness and extent of the evil or injury produced and to define the
crime in accordance with the law. It must also be taken into
consideration that the guilty parties are responsible under the law for
all the unlawful acts executed by them in violation of its principles
and for all the consequences of those acts.

In the commission of this crime of homicide we must take into
consideration the existence of the aggravating circumstances provided
for in paragraphs 9 and 11 of article 10 of the Penal Code. The crime
was executed with the use of superior force against the deceased, who
was alone and unarmed; the aggressors being policemen, they were given
arms, not to create disorder or to attack peaceful inhabitants or to
inflict upon them irreparable injury. For this reason there is no
extenuating circumstance, and the defendants have incurred the maximum
of the penalty provided for the crime of homicide.

By virtue, then, of the reasons above stated, we are of the opinion
that the judgment below should be affirmed as regards the penalty of
twenty years’ reclusion temporal imposed on Prudencio
Sornito, it being, however, understood that Juan Sondia is sentenced to
seventeen years four months and one day of reclusion temporal,
and both, jointly and severally, to indemnify the heirs of the deceased
in the sum of P1,000 without subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency, and to the accessories provided for in article 59 of the
Penal Code and to pay the costs—one half each. The judgment below is
reversed in all that does not conform to this decision.

This case to be returned to the court below with a certified copy of
this decision and of the judgment to 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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