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406 Phil. 650


[ G.R. Nos. 130634-35, March 12, 2001 ]




Accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza appeals from the joint decision[1] of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 02, Iligan City finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of homicide and parricide and sentencing him to an indeterminate penalty[2] of six (6) months one day (1) to six (6) years of prision correccional as minimum to six (6) years one (1) day to eight (8) years of prision mayor as maximum,[3] and to pay P50,000.00 civil indemnity and the costs for the death of Jesus Esquierdo, and to reclusion perpetua, to pay P50,000.00 and the costs for the death of his wife, Tita T. Oyanib.[4]

On September 11, 1995, Iligan City Prosecutor Ulysses V. Lagcao filed with the Regional Trial Court, Iligan City two (2) separate informations charging accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza with murder and parricide, as follows:
Criminal Case No. 6012

"That on or about September 4, 1995, in the City of Iligan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, armed with a deadly weapon to wit: a hunting knife about six inches long and with intent to kill and evident premeditation and by means of treachery, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, stab and wound one Jesus Esquierdo, thereby inflicting upon him the following physical injuries, to wit:

Cardiorespiratory arrest
Hypovolemic shock irreversible
Multiple organ injury
Multiple stab wound chest & abdomen

and as a result thereof the said Jesus Esquierdo died.

"Contrary to and in violation of Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code with the aggravating circumstances (sic) of evident premeditation."[5]

Criminal Case No. 6018

"That on or about September 4, 1995, in the City of Iligan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, having conceived and (sic) deliberate intent to kill his wife Tita Oyanib, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously and with evident premeditation, attack, assault, stab and wound his wife, as a result of said attack, the said Tita Oyanib died.

"Contrary to and in violation of Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code."[6]
The prosecutor recommended no bail for the temporary liberty of accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza in both cases.

On September 11, 1995, accused voluntarily surrendered to the police authorities[7] and was immediately detained at the Iligan City Jail.[8]

On January 17, 1996, the trial court arraigned accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza by reading the informations against him and translating them into the Visayan dialect.[9] He pleaded not guilty to both charges.

As the two (2) cases arose from the same set of facts, the trial court conducted a joint trial.

Accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza (hereafter Manolito) and Tita T. Oyanib (hereafter Tita) were married on February 3, 1979[10] and had two (2) children, Desilor and Julius. They lived in Purok 1, Tambacan, Iligan City.

In 1994, due to marital differences, Manolito and Tita separated, with Manolito keeping custody of their two (2) children. Tita rented a room at the second floor of the house of Edgardo Lladas (hereafter Edgardo), not far from the place where her family lived.

At about 9:30 in the evening of September 4, 1995, while Edgardo and his family were watching TV at the sala located at the ground floor of their house at Purok 3-A, Tambacan, Iligan City, they heard a commotion coming from the second floor rented by Tita. The commotion and the noise lasted for quite some time. When it died down, Edgardo went upstairs to check.[11]

Upstairs, Edgardo saw Tita wearing a duster, bloodied and sprawled on the floor. He saw Manolito stabbing Jesus Esquierdo (hereafter Jesus) while sitting on the latter's stomach. Jesus was wearing a pair of long black pants. When Edgardo asked Manolito what he was doing, accused told Edgardo not to interfere.

Thereafter, Edgardo left the house and called the police. Meanwhile, the neighbors brought Tita to the hospital. She died on the way to the hospital.[12]

SPO3 Eduard Tubil, police investigator, General Investigation Office, Iligan City Police Command, Precinct I, Poblacion, Iligan City said that at about 9:00 in the evening of September 4, 1995, while he was on duty, he received an information regarding a stabbing incident at the Llagas residence at Purok 3-A, Tambacan, Iligan City.[13]

At the crime scene, SPO3 Tubil saw the lifeless body of Jesus lying face up with several stab wounds in different parts of the body. Jesus was clad in t-shirt and long pants. From the crime scene, he recovered a knife. Afterwards, he went to Dr. Uy Hospital to check on Tita; he was informed that she was dead. Manolito was the suspect in the killing of Jesus and Tita.[14] The incident was recorded in the police blotter as Entry No. 137138.[15]

On September 5, 1995, Dr. Leonardo A. Labanon, Medico-Legal Officer, Iligan City examined the bodies of Jesus and Tita.[16] Jesus sustained multiple stab wounds, and those inflicted in the right and left chests and stomach were fatal.[17] The cause of death was "cardiorespiratory arrest, hypovolemic shock irreversible, multiple organ injury and multiple stab wound chest and abdomen."[18]

Likewise, Tita sustained several stab wounds, with the fatal wounds inflicted in the left chest and right side of the abdomen. The cause of death was "cardiorespiratory arrest, hypovolemic shock and multiple stab wound."[19]

As heretofore stated, in 1994, following a series of arguments, Manolito and Tita decided to live separately. Manolito retained custody of their two (2) children. Immediately after the separation, Tita stayed at her friend Merlyn's house for two (2) months. Afterwards, she transferred to the Lladas residence, located at Purok 3, G. Tambacan, Iligan City, and rented the second floor.[20] The rented space consisted mainly of a sala with one adjoining room. It was arranged in a manner that if one enters the main entrance door, one is immediately led to the sala and from the sala, directly to the door of the adjoining room.

Despite their separation, Manolito tried to win Tita back and exerted all efforts towards reconciliation for the sake of the children. However, Tita was very reluctant to reconcile with Manolito.[21] In fact, she was very open about her relationship with other men and would flaunt it in front of Manolito. One time, he chanced upon his wife and her paramour, Jesus, in a very intimate situation by the hanging bridge at Brgy. Tambacan, Iligan City.[22] Manolito confronted Tita and Jesus about this. He censured his wife and reminded her that she was still his wife. They just ignored him; they even threatened to kill him.[23]

In the evening of September 4, 1995, after supper, his daughter Desilor handed Manolito a letter from the Iligan City National High School. The letter mentioned that his son Julius failed in two (2) subjects and invited his parents to a meeting at the school. Because he had work from 8:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the afternoon the next day, Manolito went to Tita's house to ask her to attend the school meeting in his behalf.[24]

Upon reaching Tita's rented place, he heard "sounds of romance" (kissing) coming from the inside. He pried open the door lock using a hunting knife. He caught his wife Tita and Jesus having sexual intercourse. Jesus was on top of Tita and his pants were down to his knees.

Upon seeing him, Jesus kicked Manolito in the cheek. Manolito immediately stabbed Jesus. Though Jesus was 5'9" in height and weighed about 70 kg., the suddenness of the assault caused him to lose his balance and fall down. Manolito took advantage of this opportunity and stabbed Jesus in the stomach. Tita left the room upon seeing Manolito, only to come back armed with a Tanduay bottle. She hit Manolito in the head, while at the same time shouting "kill him Jake, kill him Jake."[25]

In the commotion, Manolito stabbed Jesus, hitting him in the abdomen. Jesus fell down and Manolito stabbed him again. Meanwhile, Tita stabbed Manolito in the arm with the broken Tanduay bottle. This angered Manolito and he stabbed Tita in the left breast. He stabbed her three (3) more times in different parts of her body. Tita fell near the lifeless body of her paramour. It was at this point that Edgardo, the owner of the house Tita was renting, appeared from the ground floor and inquired about what had happened. Manolito told Edgardo not to interfere because he had nothing to do with it.

Thereafter, Manolito left the house of Edgardo and went to Kilumco, Camague, Iligan City and stayed at the wake of his friend's neighbor. He threw away the knife he used in stabbing his wife and her paramour. At around 4:00 in the morning of the following day, he went to Camague Highway to catch a bus for Lentogan, Aurora, Zamboanga. While in Lentogan, he heard over radio DXIC that there was a call for him to surrender. He heeded the call and gave himself up to the police authorities in Precinct 2, Nonocan, Iligan City.[26]

When asked why he was carrying a knife when he went to his wife's place, Manolito said that he brought it for self-defense. Prior to the incident, he received threats from his wife and her paramour, Jesus, that they would kill him so they could live together.[27]

After trial, on May 26, 1997, the trial court promulgated a joint decision finding accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes charged. The dispositive portion reads:
"WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing findings and pronouncements and having carefully observed the demeanor of witnesses, this Court hereby declares accused MANOLITO OYANIB y Mendoza GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Homicide (Crim. Case No. II-6012) and Parricide (Crim. Case No. II-6018) and appreciating the two (2) mitigating circumstances of passion or obfuscation and voluntary surrender without any aggravating circumstances to consider, this Court sentences accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza to suffer an imprisonment as follows:
"1) In Criminal Case No. II-6012:

To an Indeterminate Penalty ranging from SIX (6) MONTHS ONE (1) DAY to SIX (6) YEARS as Minimum to Six (6) YEARS ONE (1) DAY to EIGHT (8) YEARS as Maximum; to indemnify heirs of Jesus Esquierdo the sum of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, and to pay the costs.

"2) In Criminal Case No. II-6018:

To RECLUSION PERPETUA pursuant to Republic Act No. 7659; to indemnify heirs of his wife P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and to pay the costs.
"It is likewise ordered that the aforesaid imprisonment is subject to the forty (40) years limitation prescribed in Article 70 of the Revised Penal Code.

"Accused is likewise entitled to full credit of his preventive imprisonment.


"Iligan City, Philippines, May 26, 1997.


"Presiding Judge"[28]
On June 17, 1997, accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza interposed an appeal from the joint decision of the trial court to the Supreme Court.[29]

Accused admitted the killings. He argued that he killed them both under the exceptional circumstances provided in Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code. He raised several errors allegedly committed by the trial court, which boiled down to the basic issue of whether accused is entitled to the exceptional privilege under Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code.[30] He questioned the trial court's appreciation of the facts and the evidence, contending that it ignored and overlooked vital pieces of physical evidence material to the defense of the accused, like the photograph of the lifeless body of Jesus. Accused contends that the photograph graphically showed that Jesus' pants were wide open, unzipped and unbuttoned, revealing that he was not wearing any underwear, lending credence to his defense that he caught his wife and her paramour in the act of sexual intercourse. On the other hand, the Solicitor General submitted that accused-appellant failed to discharge the burden of proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that he killed the victims under the exceptional circumstances contemplated in Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code. Hence, the trial court did not err in denying him the exempting privilege under the Article.[31]

We find the appeal meritorious.

At the outset, accused admitted killing his wife and her paramour. He invoked Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code as an absolutory and an exempting cause. "An absolutory cause is present `where the act committed is a crime but for reasons of public policy and sentiment there is no penalty imposed.'"[32]

Having admitted the killing, it is incumbent upon accused to prove the exempting circumstances to the satisfaction of the court in order to be relieved of any criminal liability. Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code prescribes the following essential elements for such a defense: (1) that a legally married person surprises his spouse in the act of committing sexual intercourse with another person; (2) that he kills any of them or both of them in the act or immediately thereafter; and (3) that he has not promoted or facilitated the prostitution of his wife (or daughter) or that he or she has not consented to the infidelity of the other spouse.[33] Accused must prove these elements by clear and convincing evidence, otherwise his defense would be untenable. "The death caused must be the proximate result of the outrage overwhelming the accused after chancing upon his spouse in the act of infidelity. Simply put, the killing by the husband of his wife must concur with her flagrant adultery."[34]

There is no question that the first element is present in the case at bar. The crucial fact that accused must convincingly prove to the court is that he killed his wife and her paramour in the act of sexual intercourse or immediately thereafter.

After an assiduous analysis of the evidence presented and the testimonies of the witnesses, we find accused to have acted within the circumstances contemplated in Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code. Admittedly, accused-appellant surprised his wife and her lover in the act of sexual intercourse.

To the mind of the court, what actually happened was that accused chanced upon Jesus at the place of his wife. He saw his wife and Jesus in the act of having sexual intercourse. Blinded by jealousy and outrage, accused stabbed Jesus who fought off and kicked the accused. He vented his anger on his wife when she reacted, not in defense of him, but in support of Jesus. Hence, he stabbed his wife as well several times. Accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza surrendered to the police when a call for him to surrender was made.

The law imposes very stringent requirements before affording the offended spouse the opportunity to avail himself of Article 247, Revised Penal Code. As the Court put it in People v. Wagas:[35]
"The vindication of a Man's honor is justified because of the scandal an unfaithful wife creates; the law is strict on this, authorizing as it does, a man to chastise her, even with death. But killing the errant spouse as a purification is so severe as that it can only be justified when the unfaithful spouse is caught in flagrante delicto; and it must be resorted to only with great caution so much so that the law requires that it be inflicted only during the sexual intercourse or immediately thereafter."
WHEREFORE, the Court REVERSES the appealed decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 02, Iligan City in Criminal Cases Nos. II-6012 and II-6018. The Court sentences accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza to two (2) years and four (4) months of destierro.[36] He shall not be permitted to enter Iligan City, nor within a radius of one hundred (100) kilometers from Iligan City.[37]

Costs de oficio.


Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Kapunan, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.

[1] In Criminal Cases Nos. II-6012 and II-6018, Judge Maximo B. Ratunil, presiding. Rollo, pp.18-29.

[2] Regretfully, the trial court judge did not know how to apply the Indeterminate Sentence Law. He imposed indefinite minimum and maximum penalties. He must impose a specific penalty in both the minimum and maximum periods (Cf. People v. Herbias, 333 Phil. 422 [1996]).

[3] In Criminal Case No. II-6012.

[4] In Criminal Case No. II-6018.

[5] Rollo, p. 11.

[6] Rollo, p. 9.

[7] Criminal Case No. II-6018, RTC Record, p. 85.

[8] Ibid., p. 14.

[9] Ibid., p. 39.

[10] TSN, April 17, 1996, p. 13.

[11] TSN, April 10, 1996, p. 6.

[12] Ibid., pp. 7-10.

[13] TSN, April 17, 1996, pp. 3-4.

[14] Ibid., pp. 5-9.

[15] TSN, April 18, 1996, p. 3.

[16] TSN, April 17, 1996, p. 25.

[17] Ibid., p. 17.

[18] Ibid., p. 20.

[19] Criminal Case No. II-6018, RTC Record, Exhibit "E", p. 6.

[20] TSN, March 6, 1997, pp. 11-18.

[21] Ibid., p. 16.

[22] Ibid., p. 49.

[23] Rollo, p. 52.

[24] Ibid., pp. 22-23.

[25] Ibid., pp. 24-28.

[26] TSN, March 6, 1997, pp. 30-35.

[27] Ibid., pp. 32, 45-46.

[28] Rollo, pp. 18-29, at p. 29.

[29] Criminal Case No. II-6081, RTC Record, p. 112.

[30] Rollo, pp. 56-57.

[31] Ibid., pp. 125-126.

[32] People v. Talisic, 344 Phil. 51, 59 [1997].

[33] People v. Wagas, 171 SCRA 69, 73 [1989]; People v. Talisic, supra, Note 32, at p. 60, citing People v. Gelaver, 223 SCRA 310, 313-314 [1993].

[34] People v. Wagas, supra, Note 33, at p. 73.

[35] People v. Wagas, supra, Note 33, at p. 74.

[36] The Indeterminate Sentence Law is not applicable to a sentence of destierro (Regalado, Criminal Law Conspectus, First Edition, 2000, p. 207).

[37] Article 87, Revised Penal Code.

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