Sunday, March 25, 2012

People vs. Dela Cruz

Facts: Daniel Macapagal, a married man, was living-in with a woman for about 2-3 years prior to the woman’s cohabitation with another man, one Roberto dela Cruz. One night, when Roberto dela Cruz and the woman were in the house of the latter, Macapagal arrived. The woman opened the door and Macapagal barged in holding a gun while lookibg for someone. He then went to the closed bedroom where dela Cruz was and banged at the door with his gun while yelling “Come out. Come out.” Dela Cruz then opened the door but he was greeted by Macapagal’s gun. He thereby immediately closed the door, retrieved his own gun, and reopened the door. Both men grappled for each other’s firearm and a few moments later, four shots were heard. Macapagal fell dead on the floor, his body sustaining all four gunshot wounds. 

Issue: Whether or not Macapagal acted in self-defense. 

Held: No. Upon opening the door the first time, Macapagal was able to prevent at this stage harm to himself by promptly closing the door. He could have stopped there. Instead, he took his own revolver, again opened the door and, brandishing his own firearm, confronted the victim. This encounter removes the justifying circumstance of self-defense. 

The first element, unlawful aggression, is not a mere threatening or intimidating attitude. It is an actual, sudden, and unexpected attack or imminent danger on the life and limb of a person at the time the defensive action was taken against the aggressor. The second element would demand that the means employed to quell the unlawful aggression were reasonable and necessary. The number of wounds sustained by the victim negates the existence of this element of self-defense. The third element was lost when Macapagal drew his own gun and used it to challenge the initial aggressor.

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