Thursday, April 05, 2012

Romera vs. People of the Philippines [G.R. No. 151978]

Facts: Petitioner stabbed the victim in the stomach as a result of an altercation. After the stabbing, petitioner surrendered to the CAFGU. He was then charged with frustrated murder with the regional trial court, where he alleged that it was the victim who hacked the walls of his house with a bolo and thrust the same at him, after which, they grappled with the bolo where the petitioner then stabbed the victim. He was then convicted, but he was credited with the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender in the imposition of his sentence. The Court of Appeals then affirmed the trial court’s judgment. 

Issue: Whether or not the mitigating circumstances of provocation and passion and obfuscation are present in this case. 

Held: YES. The Court held that thrusting his bolo at petitioner, threatening to kill him, and hacking the bamboo walls of his house are sufficient provocation to enrage any man, or stir his rage and obfuscate his thinking, more so when the lives of his wife and children are in danger. Petitioner stabbed the victim as a result of those provocations, and while petitioner was still in a fit of rage. 

But, it is stressed that provocation and passion or obfuscation are not two separate mitigating circumstances. Well-settled is the rule that if these two circumstances are based on the same facts, they should be treated together as one mitigating circumstance. From the facts established in this case, it is clear that both circumstances arose from the same set of facts aforementioned. Hence, they should not be treated as two separate mitigating circumstances. 

Nonetheless, since the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender is also present, Article 64 (5) of the Revised Penal Code should be applied. The penalty for frustrated homicide, pursuant to Article 50[8] of the Revised Penal Code, is the penalty next lower in degree than that prescribed by law for consummated homicide. The penalty for consummated homicide is reclusion temporal, hence the penalty next lower in degree is prision mayor. There being two mitigating circumstances and no aggravating circumstance, pursuant to Article 64 (5) of the Revised Penal Code, the next lower penalty, prision correccional, is the next statutory penalty. But following the Indeterminate Sentence Law herein applicable, the minimum term of the penalty that should be imposed on petitioner for frustrated homicide should be within the range of arresto mayor in any of its periods or from one (1) month and one (1) day to six (6) months, while the maximum term should be within the range of prision correccional in its medium period or two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day to four (4) years and two (2) months. 

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