G.R. No. 2180. May 05, 1905

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4 Phil. 543

[ G.R. No. 2180. May 05, 1905 ]




Domingo Candelaria, Nicolas Rus, and Marcelo Cabaltea were convicted
of assassination and robbery in the court below and sentenced to death.
The case comes here en consulta.

We have no doubt of the guilt of Domingo Candelaria and of Nicolas
Rus, but we do have as to Marcelo Cabaltea. Although he was present at
the time Mariano Villar was killed by Domingo and Nicolas, he took no
active part in the deed, but fled with the woman Teodora, the companion
of Mariano. The judge below based his conviction of Marcelo upon a
statement made by Domingo before the justice of the peace to the effect
that Marcelo had induced him and Nicolas to commit the crime, and upon
certain evidence in the case indicating that at the time in question
Marcelo had ordered the carriers of the baggage to pursue their journey
in advance of the rest of the party. The Solicitor-General in this
court also relies upon the fact that during the journey there were
secret conferences between Domingo and Nicolas on one side and Marcelo
on the other.

Domingo Candelaria was not a witness at the trial in the Court of
First Instance. The statements made by him before the justice of the
peace, having been properly proved at the trial in the Court of First
Instance, were evidence against Domingo but were not evidence against
Marcelo Cabaltea. As to the latter, they were hearsay and incompetent.
(United States vs. Caligagan,[1] 1 Off. Gaz., 665, Aug. 21, 1903, No. 1302.)

That these porters were some distance in advance of the rest of the
party at the time Mariano Villar was killed, is established by the
evidence, but it does not appear that Marcelo ordered them to so
precede; on the contrary, the evidence of Antonio Alarcon, one of them,
is to the effect that they were ordered to precede by Mariano himself,
and Marcelo. Nor does it appear in the case that Marcelo held any
secret conversation with the other two defendants. This same witness,
Antonio Alarcon, testifies that they were talking together, but he
could not hear what they said, because it was raining and there was a
strong wind. It also appears that Mariano Villar carried on
conversation with these two defendants, Domingo and Nicolas, during the
journey. We think, on the whole, that there is sufficient doubt
concerning the complicity of Marcelo as to require us to acquit him.

There remains the question as to whether there were any aggravating
circumstances so as to raise the punishment for the offense of robbery
with homicide to the maximum degree—that is, to death. The court below
considered that evident premeditation existed, but it based its
statement upon the finding made by it to the effect that Marcelo and
these defendants formed the plan of killing Mariano Villar before the
party left the house of Domingo. As has been said above, we do not
think the evidence is sufficient to support this view. The
participation of Marcelo in the crime being eliminated, the testimony
as to evident premeditation is very much weakened. The fact that when
Domingo and Nicolas left the house of the former, and later joined the
party, they carried no arms, and that the homicide was committed with
the bolo of Mariano himself is indicative of the fact that they had not
formed any deliberate plan to commit such homicide. We accordingly
reduce the penalty as to these two defendants Domingo Candelaria and
Nicolas Rus to life imprisonment (cadena perpetua). In all
other respects the judgment as to them is confirmed, with two-thirds of
the costs of this instance against them. As to Marcelo Cabaltea the
judgment of the court below is reversed and he is acquitted with
one-third of the costs of this instance de oficio.

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

2 Phil. Rep., 433.

Date created: April 24, 2014


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