Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. L-1650             April 29, 1949
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
GORGONIO MACABUHAY, JUAN MACABUHAY, MAXIMO MACABUHAY, ALEJANDRO SALVADOR, and PERFECTO BACASNO, defendants-appellants.
James Madison Ross for appellants.
Assistant Solicitor General Manuel P. Barcelona and Solicitor Esmeraldo Umali for appellee.
For having murdered Fidel Saborrido, the five appellants were sentenced, last July, in the Court of First Instance of Samar to suffer life imprisonment and to indemnify his surviving heirs.
In the municipality of Basey, same province, early in the evening of March 16, 1947, Fidel Saborrido met bloody death at the point of a bolo wielded by the accused Gorgonio Macabuhay. A few minutes before the encounter the victim was enjoying a song feast in the house of Alfredo Aclesto, in the company of Luis Graboso, Alfredo Graboso, Sofronio Distrajo and Fernando Regala. At the same time, while the five accused were making pilipig in the home of Felix Ramos about forty yards away, someone threw a stone that almost hit Perfecto Bacasno. Wherefore all said accused marched to the residence of Aclesto obviously suspecting the culprit was there. And what happened afterwards, Guillermo Graboso (corroborated by Luis Graboso) describes as follows:
After Sofronio Distrajo, a girl of the house and myself had rendered vocal selections, Perfecto Bacasno and the other accused arrived at the yard. Perfecto entered the house and asked who had cast the stone. We all denied having done it. He scrutinized each of us. Then he climbed downstairs. Immediately thereafter Alejandro Salvador called on Fidel Saborrido called on Fidel Saborrido to go down. Fidel approached the door and inquired, "What is it Tala." Alejandro ground he was all of a sudden seized and held fast by Perfecto Juan, Maximo and Alejandro even as Gregorio stabbed him on the right nipple with a small bolo. Thus wounded, Fidel was released by his attackers and he ran to the beach where he fell and expired.
The local health officer declared in open court that the wound caused the death of Fidel.
In an attempt to clear himself and his conferees Gorgonio Macabuhay told the judge that he killed Saborrido because the latter had boxed him twice. And to be consisted, he swore that his co-accused took no part in the fight. However he failed to explain how and why the quarrel took place, and his tale of self-defense was not corroborate by anybody.
The other appellants — except Maximo Macabuhay — also testified, denying all culpable connection with the unhappy incident. They even denied having witnessed it. Yet they unwittingly confirmed some material points of the people's version, to wit: the presence of Guillermo Graboso and Luis Graboso in the scene of the crime; the stoning of Ramos' residence which showed the motive for the assault; the search for the unknown stone-thrower by Perfecto Bacasno and Alejandro Salvador; and the attendance at the pilipig party of Juan Macabuhay, attendance which Gorgonio had stubbornly denied in an unfortunate try to save his two brothers from just punishment.
Indeed after closely examining the contradictory declarations of these defendants we found it easy to accept the prosecution's theory, notwithstanding the apparent defects which the attorney-de-officio has indicated in a conscientious discharge of his official duty. We are persuaded that appellants, incensed at the stone-throwing took vengeance upon Fidel Saborrido, by attacking him in the form described by Guillermo Graboso. That all of them were rounded up that very night is added evidence of their known participation in the tragic occurrence.
And this brings up the question whether, like Gorgonio, the other appellants are responsible authors of the killing. The Solicitor General ably sustains the affirmative, and previous decisions of this court in parallel situations support this view.1 It seems clear from the evidence that all the accused, animated by one motive (to avenge the stone-throwing) proceeded to the Aclesto house for a showdown, and there simultaneously attacked Fidel Saborrido in pursuance of such purpose. Therefore, all and each of them were in fact and in law the cause of his untimely demise.Pity that one life should be forfeited in consequence of a youngster's prank.
In view of the foregoing, the verdict of the trial judge that appellants are guilty of murder2 must be and is hereby affirmed. The penalty imposed must also be approved, it being in accordance with law (art. 248 Rev. Penal Code). However, we agree with counsel on both side that Gorgonio Macabuhay is entitled to mitigation because he was less than eighteen when he committed the offense. His term of imprisonment is therefore fixed as not less than fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months and not more than twenty (20) years.Thus modified the appealed judgment is affirmed in all other respects. With costs. So ordered.
Paras, Feria, Pablo, Tuason, Montemayor, and Reyes, JJ., concur.
PERFECTO, J., concurring:
Our concurrence in the decision is subject to our consistent opinion that the indemnity should not be less than P6,000 in accordance with the doctrine set in People vs. Amansec (80 Phil., 424).
Paras, J., I hereby certify that Chief Justice Moran voted to modify the decision as above indicated.
1 United States vs. De la Cruz, 17 Phil., 527; United States vs. Cueva, 23 Phil., 553; People vs. Manalo, 52 Phil., 484.
2 United States vs. Feria, 2 Phil., 45; United States vs. De la Cruz, supra; United States vs. Manalo, supra.
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