Thursday, February 23, 2012

People vs. Formigones, [87 Phil. 658 (1950)]

Facts: In the month of November 1946, Abelardo was living on his farm in Camarines Sur with his wife, Julia Agricola and their 5 children. From there they transferred in the house of his half-brother, Zacarias Formigones in the same municipality to find employment as harvesters of palay. After a month, Julia was sitting at the head of the stairs of the house when Abelardo, without previous quarrel or provocation whatsoever, took his bofo from the wall of the house and stabbed his wife Julia, in the back, the blade penetrating the right lung and causing a severe hemorrhage resulting in her death. Abelardo then took his dead wife and laid her on the floor of the living room and then lay down beside her. In this position, he was found by the people who came in response to the shouts made by his eldest daughter, Irene Formigones. 

The motive was admittedly that of jealousy because according to his statement, he used to have quarrels with his wife for reason that he often saw her in the company of his brother, Zacarias; that he suspected the two were maintaining illicit relations because he noticed that his wife had become indifferent to him. During the preliminary investigation, the accused pleaded guilty. At the case in the Courts of First Instance, he also pleaded guilty but did not testify. His counsel presented the testimony of two guards of the provincial jail where Abelardo was confined to the effect that his conduct was rather strange and that he behaved like an insane person, at times he would remain silent, walk around stark naked, refuse to take a bath and was his clothes etc... The appeal is based merely on the theory that the appellant is an IMBECILE and therefore exempt from criminal liability under article 12 of the RPC. 

Issue: Whether or not Abelardo is an imbecile at the time of the commission of the crime and therefore exempted from criminal liability 

Held: No. He is not an imbecile. According Dr. Francisco Gomes, he was suffering only from feeblemindedness and not imbecility and that he could distinguish between right and wrong. In order that a person could be regarded as an imbecile within the meaning of article 12 of the RPC so as to be exempt from criminal liability, he must be deprived completely of reason or discernment and freedom of will at the time of committing the crime. 

As to the strange behavior of the accused during his confinement, assuming it was not feigned to stimulate insanity, it may be attributed either to his being feebleminded or eccentric, or to a morbid mental condition produced by remorse at having killed his wife. A man who could feel the pangs of jealousy and take violent measures to the extent of killing his wife who he suspected of being unfaithful to him, in the belief that in doing so, he was vindicating his honor, could hardly be regarded as an imbecile. Whether or not the suspicions were justified, is of little or no importance. The fact is that he believed her faithless. Furthermore, in his written statement, he readily admitted that he killed his wife, and at the trial he made no effort to deny of repudiate said written statements, thus saving the government all the trouble and expense of catching him and securing his conviction. 

There are however 2 mitigating circumstances present: 

1) Passion or obfuscation (having killed his wife in a jealous rage) 

2) Feeblemindedness 

In conclusion, the appellant is found guilty of parricide and the judgment of the lower court is hereby affirmed with the modification that he appellant will be credited with one-half of any preventive imprisonment he has undergone (because of the 2 mitigating circumstances)

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