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PEOPLE vs Valdez

-The information against accused-appellant, Bernard Castro, and one John Doe for
the complex crime of Multiple Murder w/ Double Frustrated Murder charged:
-The Information for Illegal Possession of Firearms & Ammunitions pertinently
averred: ContrarytoPD1866.
-The trial court rendered a judgment of conviction in the 2 cases, finding:
1. the accused VALDEZ, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
The Court does not find enough basis to reverse.
--It is basic & fundamental rule that proof of motive is necessary for conviction
only when there is doubt as to the identity of the accused, not when accused has
been positively identified. Besides, it is also to be noted that lack of motive for
committing the crime does not preclude conviction, considering that, nowadays, it
is a matter of judicial knowledge that persons have killed or committed serious
offense for no reason at all.
--We agree with the trial court that the evidence points beyond reasonable doubt
that accused-appellant was one of those principally responsible for the deaths of the

4 victims in this case & the wounding of 2 others. There is also sufficient evidence
that the aggravating circumstance of treachery attended the killings, thus, qualifying
the same to murder.
--Under par 16, Art 14 of the RPC, the qualifying circumstance of treachery is
present when the offender employs means, methods, or forms in the execution of
the crime which tend directly and especially to ensure its execution w/out risk to
himself arising from any defensive or retaliatory act w/c the victim might make.
--The settled rule is that treachery can exist even if the attack is frontal if it is
sudden and unexpected, giving the victim no opportunity to repel it or depend
himself against such attack. What is decisive is that the execution of the attack,
without slightest provocation from the victim who is unarmed, made it impossible
for the victim to defend himself or to retaliate.
-the Court do not find any showing of evident premeditation on the part of accusedappellant. It is not enough that evident premeditation is suspected or surmised, but
criminal intent must be evidenced by notorious outward acts evidencing
determination to commit the crime.
-To establish the existence of evident premeditation, the ff have to be prove: (1) the
time when the offender determined to commit the crime; (2) an act manifestly
indicating that the offender had clung to his determination; & (3) sufficient lapse of
time between the determination and the execution to allow the offender to reflect on
the consequences of his act.
-Their act of arming themselves w/ caliber .30 carbines & thereafter waiting for
their supposed victims at ambush positions may have also indicated that they clung
to their determination to commit the crime (the 2nd element). More important that
these 2 elements is the proof that a sufficient period of time had lapsed between the
outward act evidencing intent & actual commission of the offense (the 3rd element).
There must have been enough opportunity for the initial impulse to subside. This
element is indispensable for circumstance of evident premeditation to aggravate the
-Aggravating Circumstance of abuse of superior strength is absorbed in treachery.
-Notwithstanding the absence of any aggravating circumstances, if we were to
uphold the trial courts premises on the complex nature of the crime
committed, the death sentence, being the maximum penalty for murder, would
still have been the imposable penalty under Art 48. The Court however, reduce
the sentence from 1 death penalty (for the complex crime of multiple murder
w/ double frustrated murder) & 1 reclusion perpetua (for the complex crime of
illegal possession of firearms & ammunitions) to 4 counts of reclusion perpetua
(for 4 murders) & 2 indeterminate sentences of prision mayor to reclusion
temporal (for the 2 frustrated murders).

The concept of a complex crime is defined in Art 48.

-The case at bar does not fall under any of the 2 instances defined above. The Office
of the Provincial Prosecutor of Pangasinan erroneously considered the case as
falling under the 1st.
The 4 crimes of murder resulted not from a single act but from several individual &
distinct acts. There was more than 1 gunman involved, & the act of each gunman is
distinct from that of the other. There were also several empty bullet shells recovered
from the scene of the crime. This confirms the fact that several shots were fired.
Each act by each gunman pulling the trigger of their firearms constitute distinct &
individual acts w/c cannot give rise to the complex crime of multiple murder.
-We therefore rule that accused-appellant is guilty, not of a complex crime of
multiple murder, but of 4 counts of murder for the death of the 4 victims in this
case. Accused-appellant is likewise held guilty for 2 counts of frustrated murder.
Art 248 of the RPC, as amended, provides the penalty of reclusion perpetua to
death for the crime of murder. W/out any mitigating or aggravating circumstance
attendant in the commission of the crime, the medium penalty is the lower
indivisible penalty or reclusion perpetua.
The accused-appellant, being guilty of 4 separate counts of murder, the proper
penalty should be 4 sentences of reclusion perpetua. In addition, he being guilty of
2 counts of frustrated murder, accused-appellant must be meted out an
indeterminate sentence ranging from a minimum of 6yrs & 1 day of prision mayor
to a maximum of 12yrs & 1 day of reclusion temporal for each offense.
For illegal possession of unlicensed firearm, It was recently held in the case
entitled People vs. Molina, & reiterated in People vs. Feloteo, that there can be no
separate conviction of the crime of illegal possession of firearms under PD No.
1866 in view of the amendments introduced by RA No. 8294.
Instead, illegal possession of firearms is merely to be taken as an
aggravating circumstance per Sec 1 of RA No. 8294: Ifhomicideormurderis
-RA No. 8294 took effect on July 6, 1997. The crimes involved in the case at bar
were committed on Sep 17, 1995. As in the case of any penal law, the provisions of
RA No. 8294 will generally have prospective application. In cases, however, where
the new law will be advantageous to the accused, the law may be given retroactive

application (Art 22). Insofar as it will spare accused-appellant in the case at bar
from a separate conviction for the crime of illegal possession of firearms, RA No.
8294 may be given retroactive application in Criminal Case for Illegal Possession
of Firearm, which is the subject of this present review.
In general, all pending cases involving illegal possession of firearm should continue
to be prosecuted and tried if no other crimes expressly indicated in RA No. 8294 are
involved (murder/homicide under Sec 1, & rebellion, insurrection,
sedition/attempted coup detat under Sec 3).
-However, the use of an unlicensed firearm in the case at bar cannot be considered
as a special aggravating circumstance in Criminal Case for Complex Crime of
Multiple Murder, also under review herein, because it will unduly raise the penalty
for the 4 counts of murder from 4 reclusion perpetua to that of 4-fold death. Insofar
as this particular provision of RA No. 8294 is not beneficial to accused-appellant
because it unduly aggravates the crime, this new law will not be given retroactive
application, lest it might acquire the character of an ex-post facto law.
WHEREFORE, Accused-appellant is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
four counts of murder and hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of 4 sentences of
reclusion perpetua. He is also found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of 2 counts of
frustrated murder & hereby meted 2 indeterminate sentences, each, ranging from
6yrs and one (1) day of prision mayor, as minimum, to 12yrs & 1 day of reclusion
temporal, as maximum. The appealed judgment relating to the civil liabilities of
accused-appellant towards the 6 victims is AFFIRMED.
-Criminal Case No. U-8749 involving Presidential Decree No. 1866 is hereby

Harden vs. Director of Prisoners

Facts: Fred Harden is being confined in prison for contempt of
court. This arose when a preliminary injunction was issued
restraining Mr. Harden from transferring moneys, shares of stock, &
other properties & assets involving the administration of conjugal
partnership that he had w/ Mrs. Harden. Mr. Harden, however,
transferred cash to various banks in Hongkong & California, as well
as to an unknown person. He was ordered by the court to redeposit
the money & the Balatoc Mining Co. shares belonging to the
conjugal partnership, w/c he had in Hongkong to the Chartered
Bank of India, Australia & China (Manila Branch). He was not able

to fulfill these orders, & so was put to jail.

ACCUSED CONTENTION: Imprisonment is excessive & the properties are already beyond
the PH jurisdiction.

Issue: Imprisonment sentence is excessive punishment or not?

CRIME: contempt and issue of jurisdiction
Held: No. The petition is denied.
The grounds for relief by habeas corpus are only (1) deprivation of
any fundamental or constitutional rights (2) lack of jurisdiction of the
court to impose the sentence or (3) excessive penalty. It was held
that the court has jurisdiction to impose the sentence simply
because the person charged is in the state and he is still within the
jurisdiction of its courts.
-Sec 7 Rule 64 of the Rules of Court says that the contempt
consists in the omission to do an act w/c is yet in power of the
accused to perform. He may be imprisoned by order of a superior
court until he performs it. While the court cannot give its receiver
authority to act in another state w/out the assistance of the courts
thereof yet it may act directly upon the parties before it w/ respect
to the property beyond the limits of its territorial jurisdiction & hold
them in contempt if they resist the courts orders with reference to
its custody or disposition.
This justifies the penalty imposed on Fred Harden, thereby not
making it excessive. Moreover, the courts findings are supported
by sufficient evidence & it is a matter of fact w/c cannot be reviewed
by habeas corpus. The writ of habeas corpus cannot be used as a
writ of error.