Criminal Law,  Legally Yours

People v. Estonilo

Criminal Law. Murder (treachery).
People of the Philippines v. Ex-Mayor Carlos Estonilo, Sr., Mayor Reinario “Rey” Estonilo, Edelbrando Estonilo a.k.a. “Edel Estonilo”, Eutiquiano Itcobanes a.k.a. “Nonong Itcobanes”, and Calvin Dela Cruz a.k.a. “Bulldog Dela Cruz”
G.R. No. 201565, October 13, 2014
Leonardo-De Castro, J.:

FACTS:
Accused-appellants are charged with the crime of murder with direct assault for having killed Floro Casas while he was in the performance of his duty as the District Supervisor of public schools. The RTC and the CA found accused-appellants guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes charged.

Records show that Floro sustained gunshot wounds caused by more than one firearm based on the sizes of the slugs recovered and that some of them were fired at close range. Testimonies of the prosecution witnesses reveal that Floro was killed while in the discharge of his official duties while in the Celera Elementary School by six men. After committing the crime, they went to the vehicle of Mayor Carlos, Sr. and eventually left the scene of the crime.

The accused-appellants interposed alibi and denial as their defense.

ISSUE:
Are the accused-appellants guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder with direct assault?

HELD:
YES, the accused-appellants are proven to be guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder with direct assault. To successfully prosecute the crime of murder, the following elements must be established: (1) that a person was killed; (2) that the accused killed him or her; (3) that the killing was attended by any of the qualifying circumstances mentioned in Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code; and (4) that the killing is not parricide or infanticide.

In this case, the prosecution was able to clearly establish that (1) Floro was killed; (2) Ex-Mayor Carlos, Sr., Rey, Edel, Nonong, and Calvin were five of the nine perpetrators who killed him; (3) the killing was attended by the qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation as testified to by prosecution eyewitnesses, Servando and Antipolo, as well as treachery as below discussed; and (4) the killing of Floro was neither parricide nor infanticide.

As for the third element of qualifying circumstance, the prosecution witness, Servando, testified that he was present on the two occasions when the accused-appellants were planning to kill Floro. His categorical and straightforward narration proves the existence of evident premeditation. Treachery also attended the killing of Floro. For treachery to be present, two elements must concur: (1) at the time of the attack, the victim was not in a position to defend himself; and (2) the accused consciously and deliberately adopted the particular means, methods, or forms of attack employed by him.

In this case, accused-appellant Nonoy and accused Negro successively fired at Floro about seven times – and the victim sustained 13 gunshot wounds all found to have been inflicted at close range giving the latter no chance at all to evade the attack and defend himself from the unexpected onslaught. Accused-appellants Edel and Nonong were on standby also holding their firearms to ensure the success of their “mission” without risk to themselves, and three others served as lookouts. Hence, there is no denying that their collective acts point to a clear case of treachery.

Hence, with all the foregoing, the accused-appellants’ guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt.

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