G.R. No. 223679: September 27,2017: 818 Phil. 1021
Offense Involved: Robbery with Homicide
FACTS: On June 1, 2001 in Dinalupihan, Bataan, accused-appellants had a shabu session together with the witness, Analiza Paule wherein they planned a hold-up against the victim, Victorino Paule. After the shabu session, accused-appellants introduced Analiza Paule to Victorino Paule and they agreed that the former will bring her to Benzi Lodge to have sex with her for a fee. After this, the witness and the accused-appellants instructed a tricycle driver-witness to bring all of them in their hide-out. Upon reaching a dark place, one of the accused instructed the driver to stop and he asked the victim to alight from the tricycle. After taking a few steps, the accused-appellants mugged and stabbed the victim to death and took his wallet and jewelry. Analiza Paule and the tricycle driver were threatened not to tell anyone or they will also get killed. Three days after, Analiza Paule reported the incident to the police. The accused-appellants were charged in the RTC with Robbery with Homicide with aggravating circumstance of treachery, evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength attended the commission of the crime. The accused-appellants pleaded not guilty and presented their defenses and alibis. The RTC ruled against the accused and sentenced them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Aggrieved, the accused-appellants elevated the case to the CA, to which the CA affirmed the decision of the RTC. Hence this case.
- Whether or not lower court erred in finding accused to be guilty of Robbery with Homicide?
- Whether or not lower court erred in finding that treachery, evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength were present in the commission of robbery with homicide? No.
- No. The lower court did not err in finding accused to be guilty of Robbery with Homicide. Accused-appellants are guilty beyond reasonable doubt of robbery with homicide. The prosecution was able to prove the existence of all the elements of the crime (Art. 294, par. 1) by virtue of the the accounts of the eyewitnesses, particularly Analiza Paule and the tricycle driver’s testimonies. This is because no evidence was adduced by the defense to refute it or to show why said witnesses would testify falsely against appellants.
- No. The lower court did not err in finding that treachery, evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength were present in the commission of robbery with homicide The following aggravating circumstances were present in the commission of the crime: (a) treachery; (b) evident premeditation; and (c) abuse of superior strength. The RTC was correct in appreciating the aggravating circumstance of treachery. Treachery was established through Analiza’s testimony that upon reaching the secluded place, Victorino was asked to alight from the tricycle and without any provocation on his part, was repeatedly stabbed and kicked by the accused-appellants. Here, Victorino was caught by surprise when he was immediately stabbed by Buan a few steps after they alighted from the tricycle. It shows that the victim was caught completely off-guard, which supports the existence of the first element of treachery, i.e., a sudden attack giving the victim no opportunity to defend himself or retaliate. The second element is likewise present as the accused-appellants consciously and deliberately stabbed the victim as evidenced by the fact that all of them had knives in their possession when the stabbing incident happened.