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CASE DIGEST ON PEOPLE v. SABALONES [294 SCRA 751 (1998)]

November 10, 2010


Nature: Appeal from a decision of the Cebu City RTC

The Case: Beronga, Sabalones, cabanero and Alegarbe were convicted of 2 counts of murder and 3 counts of frustrated murder of Glenn tiempo, Alfred nardo, rey bolo, reogelio presores and nelson tiempo. A shooting incident on June 1, 1985 in Manuela Comp, Talisay Cebu led to these deaths.

Issues:

1.         WON prosecution witnesses and evidence are credible

Yes. RTC findings were binding to court with appreciated testimonies of two witnesses. There was positive identification by survivors who saw them when they peered during lulls in gunfire. The place was well-lit, whether from post of car’s headlights. The extrajudicial confession has no bearing because the conviction was based on positive identification. It is binding, though, to the co-accused because it is used as circumstancial evidence corroborated by one witness. The inconsistencies are minor and inconsequential which strengthen credibility of testimony. Furthermore, in aberratio ictus (mistake in blow), mistake does not diminish culpability; same gravity applies, more proper to use error in personae

2.         WON alibi’s acceptable?

No. It was still quite near the crime scene. It is overruled by positive identification. Furthermore, flight indicates guilt

3.         WON correct penalty imposed?

No. Under RPC A248, the imposable penalty is reclusion temporal, in its maximum period to death. There being no aggravating/mitigating circumstance, aside from the qualifying circumstance of treachery, the appellate court correctly imposed reclusion perpetua for murder. The CA however erred in computing the penalty for each of the three counts of frustrated murder. Under RPC A50, the penalty for a frustrated felony is the next lower in degree than that prescribed by law for the consummated felony xxx.” Because there are no aggravating or mitigating circumstance as the CA itself held, the penalty prescribed by law should be imposed in its medium period.

Held: Conviction modified

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