CASE BRIEF 2011-0439

CASE: Santiago Paera Vs. People of the Philippines (G.R. No. 181626 May 30, 2011)

PONENTE: Carpio, J.:

SUBJECT:
1. Criminal Law: Grave Threats

FACTS:

As punong barangay, Santiago allocated his constituent’s use of communal water coming from a communal tank by limiting distribution to the residents of his contituents. Despite Santiago’s scheme, Indalecio continued drawing water from the tank. Santiago reminded Indalecio of the water distribution scheme and cut Indalecios access.

The following day, Santiago inspected the tank after constituents complained of water supply interruption. Santiago discovered a tap from the main line which he promptly disconnected. To stem the flow of water from the ensuing leak, Santiago, using a borrowed bolo, fashioned a wooden plug. It was at this point when Indalecio arrived. Santiago then, without any warning, picked-up his bolo and charged towards Indalecio, shouting Patyon tikaw! (I will kill you!). Indalecio ran for safety, passing along the way, Diosetea. Upon seeing Santiago, Diosetea inquired what the matter was. Instead of replying, Santiago shouted “Wala koy gipili, bisag babaye ka, patyon tikaw!” (I dont spare anyone, even if you are a woman, I will kill you!). Diosetea similarly scampered and sought refuge in the nearby house of a relative. Unable to pursue Diosetea, Santiago turned his attention back to Indalecio. As Santiago chased Indalecio, he passed Vicente, and, recognizing the latter, repeatedly thrust his bolo towards him, shouting “Bisag gulang ka, buk-on nako imo ulo!” (Even if you are old, I will crack open your skull!).

Santiago was charged for three (3) counts of Grave Threats.

Santiago claimed that he can only be charged for a single count of the continued complex crime of Grave Threats. He argued that there is a single crime committed through series of acts arising from one criminal intent. 

ISSUE: Whether Santiago is guilty of three counts of Grave Threats.

RULING:

Santiago is liable for three counts of Grave Threats.

Article 282 of the RPC holds liable for Grave Threats any person who shall threaten another with the infliction upon the person x x x of the latter or his family of any wrong amounting to a crime. This felony is consummated as soon as the threats come to the knowledge of the person threatened.

Applying these parameters, it is clear that Santiago’s threat to kill  Indalecio and Diosetea and crack open Vicentes skull are wrongs on the person amounting to (at the very least) homicide and serious physical injuries as penalized under the RPC. These threats were consummated as soon as Indalecio, Diosetea, and Vicente heard Santiago utter his threatening remarks. Having spoken the threats at different points in time to these three individuals, albeit in rapid succession, Santiago incurred three separate criminal liabilities.

Santiago’s theory fusing his liability to one count of Grave Threats because he only had a single mental resolution, a single impulse, and single intent to threaten Indalecio, Diosetea, and Vicente assumes a vital fact: that he had foreknowledge of Indalecio, Diosetea, and Vicentes presence near the water tank. The facts, however, belie this assumption. Thus, in the case of Indalecio, Santiago was as much surprised to see Indalecio as the latter was in seeing Santiago when they chanced upon each other near the water tank. Similarly, Santiago came across Diosetea as he was chasing Indalecio who had scampered for safety. Lastly, Santiago crossed paths with Vicente while running after Indalecio. Indeed, Santiago went to the water tank not to execute his single intent to threaten Indalecio, Diosetea, and Vicente but to investigate a suspected water tap. Not having known in advance of Indalecio, Diosetea, and Vicente’s presence near the water tank at the time in question, Santiago could not have formed any intent to threaten any of them until shortly before he inadvertently came across each of them.

Santiago’s intent to threaten Indalecio, Diosetea, and Vicente with bodily harm arose only when he chanced upon each of his victims.

Indeed, Santiagos theory holds water only if the facts are altered that is, he threatened Indalecio, Diosetea, and Vicente at the same place and at the same time. Had this been true, then Santiagos liability for one count of Grave Threats.

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THINGS DECIDED:

a) Article 282 of the RPC holds liable for Grave Threats any person who shall threaten another with the infliction upon the person x x x of the latter or his family of any wrong amounting to a crime. This felony is consummated as soon as the threats come to the knowledge of the person threatened.

b) Not having known in advance of Indalecio, Diosetea, and Vicente’s presence near the water tank at the time in question, Santiago could not have formed any intent to threaten any of them until shortly before he inadvertently came across each of them.

c) Indeed, Santiagos theory of continued crime holds water only if the facts are altered that is, he threatened Indalecio, Diosetea, and Vicente at the same place and at the same time.

‘Stand by things decided’ ~ Stare Decisis


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