402 Phil. 851
DE LEON, JR., J.:
That on or about the 13th day of June 1996 in the afternoon, in barangay Lomboy, Municipality of Binmaley, province of Pangasinan, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, armed with a bladed instrument, with treachery and used of superior strength and intent to kill, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab Ignacio Jimenez, inflicting upon him the following:Only appellants Leopoldo and Dominador de Leon were brought to trial inasmuch as co-accused Billy de Leon evaded arrest. Upon being duly arraigned, Leopoldo and Dominador pleaded "Not Guilty".
- multiple stab wounds chest
- multiple hacked wound head with fracture
which injuries directly caused his death, to the damage and prejudice of the heirs of the said Ignacio Jimenez.
Contrary to Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code.
CAUSE OF DEATH: Hypovolemia 2o to multiple stab wound.
- Incised wound 7 cm. angle of mandible (L) located on the left face;
- Hacked wound 8 cm. Temporal area (L) on the left side of the head;
- Stab wound 3 cm. (L) midaxillary line, level of the 7th ICS, penetrating, perforating middle portion lower lobe (L) lung;
- Stab wound 4 cm., 8th ICS, ant. Axillary line, penetrating, lacerating diaphragm, penetrating, perforating greater curvature of stomach;
- Stab wound 4 cm. mid. Hypochondria area, (L) penetrating, perforating lesser curvature;
- Stab wound, 3 cm. Epigastric area (L) penetrating, perforating body of stomach, thru and thru, penetrating, lacerating body of pancreas;
- Stab wound 7 cm. Intercostal space, mid-clavicular line (R) non-penetrating, right side below right nipple;
- Stab wound 3 cm. Intercostal space, midclavicular line (R) penetrating lacerating lower lobe (R) liver;
- Hacked wound, 6 cm. parietal area;
- Massive intra-abdominal bleeding.
Accordingly, in the light of all the considerations discussed above, the court finds and holds the accused, Dominador de Leon and Leopoldo de Leon, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder charged in the Information filed against them, and pursuant to law, hereby sentences each of the above-named accused to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua and to pay proportionately the cost of the proceedings.Hence, this appeal.
The court further directs the accused to indemnify jointly and severally the heirs of the deceased, the sum of P15,000.00 as actual damages; P50,000.00 as compensatory damages and P50,000.00 as moral damages, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.
And considering that accused, Billy de Leon is still at large and has not yet been arrested up to the present, let the record of the case insofar as said accused is concerned be sent to the files, without prejudice on the part of the prosecution to prosecute him after he is arrested or has surrendered to the court.
Meantime, let an order of arrest be issued against accused Billy de Leon, to be served upon him by the PNP, Binmaley, CIG, Dagupan City and NBI, Dagupan City.
Likewise, Chito Jimenez on cross-examination declared that:
Will you kindly tell the Honorable Court what was that incident that called your attention, Madam Witness? A They said that there is trouble, sir. Q What, if any, did you do when you heard the word in Pangasinan dialect, "gulo", which means trouble? A I stood up and looked out the window, sir. Q What, if any, did you see when you looked out the window? A I saw Chito Jimenez running, then, Ignacio Jimenez passed by, sir. COURT Passed by your house? A Yes, sir. ATTY. BASBAS To what direction was Chito Jimenez proceeding when you saw him running? A Towards their house, south direction, sir. Q How about Ignacio Jimenez? A While Ignacio Jimenez was running towards the north direction, sir. Q By the way, do you know the relation between Ignacio Jimenez and Chito Jimenez? A They are father and son, sir. Q What happened next after you saw Chito Jimenez running towards their house going to southern direction and Ignacio Jimenez on the northern direction? A Billy de Leon, Dominador de Leon and Leopoldo de Leon were also running, sir. Q To what direction were [sic] Billy de Leon, Dominador de Leon and Leopoldo de Leon proceedings when you saw them running? A They were chasing Chito Jimenez, sir, going south. Q What happened next after you saw Billy de Leon, Dominador de Leon and Leopoldo de Leon running and chasing Chito Jimenez? A They saw Ignacio Jimenez and they accosted him, sir. Q When you said they accosted him, to whom are you referring to as accosted? A Ignacio Jimenez, sir. Q After Ignacio Jimenez was accosted by the three (3) Billy de Leon, Dominador de Leon and Leopoldo de Leon, what happened next? A They stabbed him, sir. Q Do you know who among the three (3) stabbed Ignacio Jimenez? A First, it was Billy de Leon who stabbed Ignacio Jimenez while Leopoldo de Leon held Ignacio Jimenez, sir. Q After Leopoldo de Leon held Ignacio Jimenez, what happened next? A Then, Dominador de Leon stabbed Ignacio Jimenez on his head, sir. (Witness pointing the back top of the head). Q Will you kindly stand up, Madam witness, and demonstrate before this Honorable Court how did Leopoldo de Leon hold Ignacio Jimenez? A Like this, sir (Witness place herself behind with both arms holding the shoulder. The court interpreter represents the victim in the demonstration through the armpit). Q What happened next after Dominador de Leon stabbed Ignacio Jimenez at the back of his head? A Then, Billy de Leon kept on stabbing the victim, sir. Q By the way, Madam Witness, you mentioned a while ago that Billy de Leon first stabbed Ignacio Jimenez, my question, what part of the body of Ignacio Jimenez was hit by Billy de Leon when he was first stabbed by Billy de Leon? A On his stomach, sir (Witness pointing to the right side of his stomach). Q And when you said that Billy de Leon continued stabbing Ignacio Jimenez after he was stabbed by Dominador de Leon at the back of his head, what part or parts of the body of Ignacio Jimenez was hit by Billy de Leon? A On the abdomen, sir. Q What happened next after Billy de Leon stabbed Ignacio Jimenez in the abdomen? A The three (3) ran away, sir. On cross-examination, Annaluz categorically stated that: ATTY. CAMPOS By the way, who was the first one whom you saw running among the three? A Billy de Leon was ahead, sir. COURT Followed by? A Dominador de Leon and Leopoldo de Leon, sir. ATTY. CAMPOS As you sense they were running, they were chasing Chito Jimenez? A Yes, sir. Q And they were unable to catch Chito Jimenez? A No, sir. Q At that time when you saw Billy de Leon, he was already injured, am I correct? A Not yet, sir. Q You did not see him to have wound on his head? A None, sir? Q Along their way, Madam Witness, the three (3), Billy de Leon, Dominador de Leon and Leopoldo de Leon, met Ignacio Jimenez who was running towards north? A Yes, sir. Q It was at that instance the three (3) met Ignacio Jimenez when the three (3), according to you, stabbed Ignacio Jimenez? A Yes, sir. Q When you saw Billy de Leon, Dominador de Leon and Leopoldo de Leon running and chasing Jimenez, you did not see them arm, am I correct? A They were armed, sir. Q And who was armed, Madam Witness? A The three (3) were armed, sir. Q And what was Billy de Leon carrying with him as a weapon? A Billy de Leon was carrying a bolo about one (1) foot long, sir. Q How about Dominador de Leon? A Bolo with the same size, sir. Q How about Leopoldo de Leon? A Before he held Ignacio Jimenez on the shoulders, he threw his bolo, sir. Q Were you able to find this bolo which was thrown by Leopoldo de Leon? A No more, sir. Q You saw where Leopoldo de Leon threw the bolo? A At the time they ran away towards their house, they picked up the bolo and then brought with them, sir.
In an attempt to discredit the prosecution witnesses, accused-appellants contend that their testimonies are contradictory in that while Annaluz testified that accused-appellants Leopoldo and Dominador ran with Billy in chasing Chito, prosecution witness Chito, on the other hand, declared that Leopoldo and Dominador appeared only when his father, Ignacio, was being accosted by Billy. The inconsistencies, if any, were more imaginary than real. Besides, the inconsistencies, if any, in the testimony of the prosecution witnesses refer only to minor details and collateral matters which do not affect the substance, veracity, and weight of their testimony. They even tended to strengthen rather than weakened, the credibility of the witnesses as they negate any suspicion of a rehearsed testimony. Furthermore, the court cannot and should not expect the testimonies of different witnesses to be completely identical and to coincide with each other for not all persons who witnessed an incident are impressed in the same manner; and it is only natural that, in relating their impressions, they might disagree on some minor details.
ATTY. CAMPOS The moment you met your father along your way when you were running, the two (2) other accused, Leopoldo de Leon and Dominador de Leon, were not yet around? A After I met my father, then, my father met Billy de Leon and then the two (2) Dominador and Leopoldo de Leon, appeared sir. Q From what direction did these two (2) other accused, Leopoldo de Leon and Dominador de Leon, come from, Mr. Witness? A They came from their house, sir. Q By the way, how far is the house of Leopoldo de Leon from that place where you met your father when you were running? A Just beyond the concrete fence, about fifteen (15) meters from the fence of the court building, sir. Q And how about the house of Dominador de Leon in relation to that place where you met your father along your way when you were running? A The same distance, sir. Q According to you, you were running so fast and you ran as fast as you could towards your house, you never look back when you were running? A I looked back, sir. Q How could that be that you recognized these two (2) other accused, Leopoldo de Leon and Dominador de Leon, when you were running fast? A I stopped, sir. Q When you reached your house, am I correct? A Yes, sir. Q And you stayed inside your house upon reaching your house, is that correct? A I did not proceed home but I stopped besides the house of Annaluz, sir. Q And you are now changing your testimony when you said a while ago that you stopped running upon reaching home? A Yes, sir, is not true. Q The truth now is that, you where, Mr. Witness? A Ten (10) meters away from the place of stabbing, sir. Q Why did you stop, Mr. Witness? A Because Billy de Leon accosted my father and then these two (2) brothers arrived, sir. Q Did you really see how Billy de Leon accosted your father? A Yes, sir. Q When your father was accosted by Billy de Leon, you did not notice Leopoldo de Leon and Dominador de Leon around? A It was then that the two (2) arrived, sir. Q And the moment Billy de Leon accosted your father, he stabbed your father? A Yes, sir. Q Comes these two (2) other accused, first, Leopoldo de Leon held the arms of your father, then Dominador de Leon whom you alleged to have also stabbed your father? A Yes, sir. Q And when these were happening you were about ten (10) meters away from the four (4)? A Yes, sir. Q And while Ignacio Jimenez or your father was being handled by the three (3) accused, you did not do anything just watched, am I correct? A Yes, sir. I watched them because I got frightened, sir. Q You did not come to the aid of your father? A No, sir. Q Neither that you called for help from other persons who were around? A No, sir. Q But there were other persons around, am I correct? A I did not notice, sir. Q And so, your attention was only focused on what was happening to your father? A Yes, sir.
Billy could not have been solely responsible for all the stab wounds sustained by the victim as the same were in all probability caused by two (2) different weapons. None of the witnesses for the defense, more particularly Mercedes de Leon, who testified that Billy was the only one responsible, declared on the witness stand that Billy used more than one weapon in stabbing the victim.
COURT Now, considering the two possibilities that it could be one weapon or more than two weapons, what is the greater possibility? A I could not tell, sir. Q You could not tell despite the fact that there are different sizes as you say about the length? A In my opinion, it is more than two, sir. Q So, the greater possibility is more than two weapons? A Yes, sir. Q Now, considering also the nature of the wounds more particularly in their sizes, is it possible that there are more than one weapon used in inflicting the injuries? A It is possible, sir. Q Is it also possible that there is only one weapon used or not possible? A It is possible, sir. Q Considering now the two possibilities, which is more possible considering the sizes of the wounds, there are two or more kinds of weapon used or only one kind of weapon? A More than one kind of weapon, sir.
In the case at bar, the evidence on record shows that during the stabbing accused Leopoldo de Leon held the victim while his brothers Billy and Dominador stabbed him several times in the different parts of his body. Such being the state of affairs at the time the incident happened, the combined strength of the three accused is more superior than the strength of the deceased who was much older than the accused. Verily, the stabbing is qualified by the circumstance of abuse of superior strength, hence the killing is murder as charged in the Information.Anent accused-appellants' civil liability, the award of P15,000.00 as actual damages should be deleted inasmuch as there were no receipts presented to evidence the same. The award of P50,000.00 designated as "compensatory damages" by the trial court should be properly denominated as civil indemnity ex delicto. This amount of indemnity is in accordance with jurisprudence and it requires no proof other than the fact of death as a result of the crime and proof of the appellants' responsibility therefor.