Criminal Law

People of the Philippines vs Julio Ocumen

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G.R. Nos. 120493-94/117692 – 319 SCRA 539 – Criminal Law – Book I – Aggravating Circumstances – Abuse of Superior Strength

On October 28, 1989, Julio Ocumen had a heated argument with Alex Espanto and Juanito Bibat during a wedding celebration. Ocumen went berserk and ran after the two. Incidentally, 14 year old Mary Jane Bueno was walking towards the dancing saloon unaware of the commotion. She was stabbed on her back by Ocumen. Thereafter, Ocumen stabbed a certain Jesus Ilasin. Medical treatment saved Bueno but Ilasin died later. Ocumen posed an alibi as he said he was in Manila during the incident. Ocumen was convicted by the Regional Trial Court: Murder for the death of Ilasin, Frustrated Murder for the stabbing of Bueno.

ISSUE: Whether or not the aggravating circumstance of abuse of strength is attendant in the case at bar.

HELD: Treachery is not proven so the case should be of homicide and not of murder. The stabbing incidents were only incidental to the earlier commotion between Ocumen and the two others. Hence, he should be charged for frustrated homicide and homicide in the respective cases. In the Ilasin case, abuse of strength is not proved. In the case of Bueno, abuse of strength is proved for Bueno was merely 14 years old, a woman who was unarmed and helpless against Ocumen. An attack made by a man with a deadly weapon upon an unarmed and defenseless woman constitutes the circumstance of abuse of that superiority which his sex and weapon used in the act afforded him, and from which the woman was unable to defend herself.

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