Can't share this digest on Facebook? Here's why.
G.R. No. 140872 – 404 SCRA 550 (452 Phil. 678) – Criminal Law – Book I – Aggravating Circumstances – Disrespect on account of Offended Party’s Sex
Qualifying Circumstances – Treachery
Alternative Circumstances – Intoxication
One afternoon in August 1996, in Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte, Pablito Inggo bought a bottle of beer from the store tended by Leonisa Insic. Inggo handed a Php50.00 bill to pay for the beer but since the stroe has no change, Insic has to go elsewhere to get some change. The beer was worth Php10.00. However, when she returned, Inggo, who was already intoxicated refused to get his change. Instead, he was demanding that the whole Php50.00 should be returned to him. This resulted in an argument.
Later, Rosemarie Reinante, the owner of the store, arrived. She tried to intervene but this resulted in an argument between her and Inggo. During the heated argument, Inggo loosened his belt as he retrieved a bladed weapon hidden in his belt. Reinante ran away but Inggo chased him and when he caught up with her, Inggo stabbed her in her stomach. Thereafter Inggo ran away. Reainante was later declared dead on arrival at the hospital.
Eventually, Inggo was sentenced to death for murder. The trial court appreciated three aggravating circumstances against him, namely: treachery (qualifying circumstance), disrespect on the account of sex of the victim, and intoxication.
ISSUE: Whether or not the trial court was correct in appreciating the aggravating circumstances.
HELD: No. The trial court appreciated treachery because it gave credence to the theory of the prosecution that the attack by Inggo, though frontal, was so sudden; that Reinante did not expect a bladed weapon hidden in Inggo’s belt, thus, it gave her no time to defend herself. This is wrong. The stabbing was not instantaneous. It was preceded by heated arguments. The victim must have been forewarned that Inggo might try to harm her. Where an argument or a quarrel preceded a killing, treachery is non-existent since the victim could be said to have been forewarned and could anticipate aggression from assailant. The interval of time between the act of loosening his belt, getting the knife, chasing the victim and eventually stabbing her sufficiently shows that the use of the knife was not consciously thought of, but rather it came together with Inggo’s outburst, arising from the heated arguments he had with Insic and then the victim. Without the qualifying circumstance of treachery, Inggo can only be convicted for homicide.
The evidence does not show that Inggo deliberately intended to insult or to show manifest disrespect Reinante on account of her sex. It was only shown that Rosemarie, who merely tried to help, caught the ire of Inggo due to her unexpected meddling in the argument between Inggo and Insic.
Anent intoxication, the same is non-existent. Intoxication to be aggravating must have been the source of bravado that propelled the accused to commit the crime. It does not suffice that just because Inggo was drunk, such fact can already be used against him. In fact, although Inggo had ingested liquor, his level of intoxication was not proven with certainty. Much less, there was no proof that he sought intoxication to fortify his resolve in committing the crime.