CASE BrieF NO. 2010-1185


What is decisive in an appreciation of treachery is that the execution of the attack made it impossible for the victim to defend himself.”


CASE: People of the Philippines vs. Francisco Relos, Sr. [G.R. NO. 189326 November 24, 2010]

PONENTE: Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura

SUBJECT:

  1. CRIMINAL LAW:
    i. Conspiracy: Concept
    ii. Treachery: Concept
  2. TORTS AND DAMAGES:
    i. Civil indemnity
    ii. Moral damages
    ii. Exemplary damages

FACTS:        Francisco Relos, Sr., together with his brother, Oliver Relos (Oliver) and son, Francisco Relos, Jr. (Francisco, Jr.) and six others, was charged for killing his cousin, Ramon Relos, Sr.

In the evening of December 26, 2005, Ramon (Ramon Sr.) and his son, Ramon Relos, Jr. (Ramon, Jr.), alighted from a jeepney and walked along the highway towards the house of Feliciano Relos, Jr. (Feliciano, Jr.), the victim’s brother. Francisco Sr. was then leaning on the fence in front of his house, while his son, Francisco, Jr., and Oliver were across the road. Ramon Sr. was walking about five meters ahead of his son and was almost in front of Francisco Sr.’s house when Oliver approached him and greeted him, “Merry Christmas, insan!” while drawing his knife. Francisco Sr. approached Ramon Sr. from behind and suddenly hacked him with a bolo on the right shoulder. Francisco, Jr. followed it with hack to the left shoulder. Oliver then placed his arm over Ramon Sr.’s shoulders and stabbed him several times on the front portion of his body.

Ramon, Jr. shouted at the assailants, telling them to stop hurting his father, but he was chased by Francisco, Jr., who was holding a bolo with a long handle, and Allan and Larry, who were also armed with knives. Francisco, Jr. caught up with Ramon, Jr. and hacked him, but the latter was able to jump over a drainage canal and run away.

During arraignment, Oliver pleaded guilty, while the others, including Francisco Sr., pleaded not guilty.

The Regional Trial Court (RTC) rendered a decision finding Francisco Sr., Oliver, and Francisco, Jr. guilty of murder.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the RTC decision. As to civil damages, the CA awarded the amounts of ₱50,000.00 as moral damages, ₱25,000.00 as temperate damages, and ₱25,000.00 as exemplary damages.

ISSUES:
A. Is conspiracy present in the case at bar?
B. Whether or not the crime is attended by treachery.
C. Whether the damages awarded to Ramon Sr. are proper.

RULING:

A.       Yes. Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement to commit an unlawful act [People v. Delos Santos, 399 Phil. 405, 417 (2000)]. It may be inferred from the conduct of the accused before, during, and after the commission of the crime. Conspiracy may be deduced from the mode and manner in which the offense was perpetrated or inferred from the acts of the accused evincing a joint or common purpose and design, concerted action, and community of interest [People v. Agpawan, 393 Phil. 434, 438 (2000)].

The presence of conspiracy was definitely established by the synchronized acts of Francisco Sr., Oliver, and Francisco, Jr. in carrying out their common objective of killing the victim. The three assailants simultaneously approached the Ramon Sr. and delivered successive blows that seriously injured the latter.

Though it was not clear who delivered the fatal blow, it does not make any difference in light of the finding of conspiracy. Where conspiracy is shown, the precise modality or extent of participation of each accused becomes secondary, and the act of one may be imputed to all the conspirators. In other words, a person found in conspiracy with the actual perpetrator of the crime by performing specific acts with such closeness and coordination as the one who executed the criminal act is equally guilty as the latter, because, in the eyes of the law, each conspirator is a co-principal and is equally guilty with the other members of the plot. 

B.       The crime was attended by treachery.

There is treachery when the means, methods, and forms of execution gave the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate; and such means, methods, and forms of execution were deliberately and consciously adopted by the accused without danger to his person. What is decisive in an appreciation of treachery is that the execution of the attack made it impossible for the victim to defend himself [People v. Sades, G.R. No. 171087, July 12, 2006]. The essence of treachery is the swift and unexpected attack on an unsuspecting and unarmed victim who does not give the slightest provocation.

The victim was not prepared to meet the initial attack made by Francisco Sr. as he was distracted by Oliver who greeted him, “Merry Christmas, insan!” He was then caught off guard by the subsequent blows delivered by the other assailants, which were successive and gave him no opportunity to defend himself. Moreover, he did not have the means to defend himself as he was unarmed. Hence, treachery was clearly present.

C.       In view of current jurisprudence, the award of damages will be increased as follows: the amount of civil indemnity to ₱75,000.00, moral damages to ₱75,000.00, and exemplary damages to ₱30,000.00 [Virgilio Bug-atan, Bernie Labandero, and Gregorio Manatad v. The People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 175195, September 15, 2010].

Related Case BrieFs:

  1. People v. Sades, G.R. No. 171087, July 12, 2006
  2. Virgilio Bug-atan, Bernie Labandero, and Gregorio Manatad v. The People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 175195, September 15, 2010
  3. People v. Agpawan, 393 Phil. 434, 438 (2000)

————————————————-

THINGS DECIDED:

A) Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement to commit an unlawful act [People v. Delos Santos, 399 Phil. 405, 417 (2000)]. It may be inferred from the conduct of the accused before, during, and after the commission of the crime. Conspiracy may be deduced from the mode and manner in which the offense was perpetrated or inferred from the acts of the accused evincing a joint or common purpose and design, concerted action, and community of interest [People v. Agpawan, 393 Phil. 434, 438 (2000)].

B) Though it was not clear who delivered the fatal blow, it does not make any difference in light of the finding of conspiracy. Where conspiracy is shown, the precise modality or extent of participation of each accused becomes secondary, and the act of one may be imputed to all the conspirators.

C) There is treachery when the means, methods, and forms of execution gave the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate; and such means, methods, and forms of execution were deliberately and consciously adopted by the accused without danger to his person.


‘Stand by things decided’ ~ Stare Decisis


For more Case Briefs visit us at Stare Decisis or like us on Facebook @staredecisispage

======================