Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Aradillos vs. CA [G.R. No. 135619, January 15, 2004]

Facts: At around 5:45 in the afternoon of February 3, 1992, Gloria rebuked herein petitioners Aradillos and Galabo when she saw them in the act of cutting the bamboo bridge located on the property of her husband. Thereupon, petitioners chased her and they caught up with her near the house. Galabo then hit her several times with a piece of wood and his carpentry bag causing her to fall down. While Gloria was staggering face down, Aradillos hacked her twice with a carpentry ax, hitting her on the right side of the head and on the forehead. She asked for help from the Visto family, her neighbors, who brought her to the clinic of Dr. Alvarez in Matina, Davao. After Dr. Alvarez gave her first aid treatment, Gloria was advised to go to Davao Medical Center where she was confined in the ICU for four days. 

The petitioners (accused) on the other hand contend that the injury of Gloria was sustained by mere accidental on the course of the struggle between the victim and Aradillos for the possession of the axe of the latter. As told by petitioner Aradillos, it was Gloria who went near Aradillos who was then cutting the roots of the “idyok” tree, and grabbed the ax, obviously with the intention of stopping Aradillos from cutting the tree. Not wanting to let go of the ax, Aradillos held on to it and the two then struggled for its possession. With both of their hands on the handle, the ax went swaying and swinging, which accidentally hit Gloria. 

Issues: 
(1) Whether or not the intent to kill was sufficiently proven based on the evidence provided for in the case 

(2) Whether or not the defense of accident can exempt the accused from criminal liability. 

(3) Whether or not there is conspiracy in the commission of the crime 

Held: 
(1) No. There was no sufficient medical evidence on record to prove that the nature of injuries inflicted by Aradillos showed any willful intent to kill Gloria. 

(2) No. The accused cannot invoke the defense of accident to escape the consequences of his act. Under Article 12, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code, a person, who while performing a lawful act with due care, causes an injury by accident without fault or intention of causing it, is exempt from criminal liability. It cannot be said that Aradillos was performing a lawful act when he struggled with Gloria for the ax as the latter’s act of taking hold of the ax was equivocal, and it cannot be deduced therefrom that he was under the threat of an unlawful aggression from her. 

(3) No. Conspiracy has not been proven due to absent competent proof thereof. Hence, Aradillos should be held liable only for less serious physical injuries under Article 265 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, as the wounds sustained by Gloria required medical attendance of fourteen days and Galabo must be absolved from any liability as the prosecution failed to conclusively prove that he conspired with Aradillos in the commission of the crime.

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