Republic of the
PEOPLE OF THE
- versus -
TEOFILO “REY” BUYAGAN,
G.R. No. 187733
CARPIO, J., Chairperson,
February 8, 2012
R E S O L U T I O N
We resolve the appeal, filed by
Teofilo “Rey” Buyagan (appellant),
from the decision of the
Court of Appeals (CA) dated
The RTC Ruling
P50,000.00 as civil
indemnity, P22,400.00 as actual damages, and P592,000.00 as
unearned income; and to pay the heirs of PO2 Osorio P50,000.00 as civil
indemnity, P200,000.00 as moral damages, P50,690.00 as actual
damages, and P1,588,600.00 as unearned income.
The CA Decision
On intermediate appellant review, the CA affirmed the RTC decision, but modified the penalty imposed on the appellant from death to reclusion perpetua. The CA held that the appellant acted in concert with John Doe in committing the crime; in fact, he shot Calixto to facilitate the escape of John Doe. It explained that in the special complex crime of robbery with homicide, as long as the intention of the felon is to rob, the killing may occur before, during or after the robbery. The appellate court also ruled that the appellant failed to impute any ill motive against the prosecution witnesses who positively identified him as the person who shot Calixto and PO2 Osorio. It also disregarded the appellant’s denial for being incredible.
In this final review, we deny the appeal, but further modify the penalty imposed and the awarded indemnities.
Sufficiency of Prosecution Evidence
Essential for conviction of robbery with homicide is proof of a direct relation, an intimate connection between the robbery and the killing, whether the latter be prior or subsequent to the former or whether both crimes were committed at the same time. In the present case, we find no compelling reason to disturb the findings of the RTC, as affirmed by the CA. The eyewitness accounts of the prosecution witnesses are worthy of belief as they were clear and straightforward and were consistent with the medical findings of Dr. Vladimir Villaseñor. Melvyn Pastor and Cristina Calixto positively identified the appellant as the person who shot Calixto at the back of his head as the latter was grappling with John Doe; Orlando Viray, Jeanie Tugad, Allan Santiago, and Joel Caldito all declared that the appellant shot PO2 Osorio at the market while the latter was chasing him. Significantly, the appellant never imputed any ill motive on the part of these witnesses to falsely testify against him.
The lower courts correctly ruled that the appellant and John Doe acted in conspiracy with one another. Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. Conspiracy may be inferred from the acts of the accused before, during, and after the commission of the crime which indubitably point to and are indicative of a joint purpose, concert of action and community of interest. For conspiracy to exist, it is not required that there be an agreement for an appreciable period prior to the occurrence; it is sufficient that at the time of the commission of the offense, the malefactors had the same purpose and were united in its execution.
The records show that after John Doe
robbed the WT Construction Supply store, he casually walked away from the store
but Calixto grabbed him. While John Doe and Calixto were grappling with each
other, the appellant suddenly appeared from behind and shot Calixto on the
head. Immediately after, both the appellant and John Doe ran towards the
In People v. Ebet, we explained that homicide is committed by reason or on the occasion of robbery if its commission was (a) to facilitate the robbery or the escape of the culprit; (b) to preserve the possession by the culprit of the loot; (c) to prevent discovery of the commission of the robbery; or, (d) to eliminate witnesses in the commission of the crime. As long as there is a nexus between the robbery and the homicide, the latter crime may be committed in a place other than the situs of the robbery.
Under the given facts, the appellant clearly shot Calixto to facilitate the escape of his robber-companion, John Doe, and to preserve the latter’s possession of the stolen items.
The Proper Penalty
The special complex crime of robbery with homicide is penalized, under Article 294, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code, with reclusion perpetua to death. Since the aggravating circumstance of the use of an unlicensed firearm had been alleged and proven during trial, the lower court correctly sentenced the appellant to suffer the death penalty pursuant to Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. Nonetheless, we cannot impose the death penalty in view of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9346, entitled “An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines.” Pursuant to this law, we affirm the CA’s reduction of the penalty from death to reclusion perpetua for each count, with the modification that the appellant shall not be eligible for parole.
the deaths of Calixto and PO2 Osorio, we increase the amounts of the awarded
civil indemnities from
P50,000.00 to P75,000.00, as the imposable
penalty against the appellant would have been death were it not for the
enactment of R.A. No. 9346.
affirm, to be duly supported by evidence, the award of
indemnity for loss of earning capacity to PO2 Osorio’s heirs. We, however,
delete the award for loss of earning capacity to Calixto’s heirs because the prosecution
failed to establish this claim. As a
rule, documentary evidence should be presented to substantiate a claim for loss
of earning capacity. While there are exceptions to this rule, these exceptions
do not apply to Calixto as he was a security guard when he died; he was not a
worker earning less than the current minimum wage under current labor laws.
respect to actual damages, established jurisprudence only allows expenses duly
supported by receipts. Out of the
awarded by the RTC to PO2 Osorio’s heirs, only P15,000.00 was supported
by receipts. The difference consists of
unreceipted amounts claimed by the victim’s wife. Considering that the proven amount is less
than P25,000.00, we award temperate damages in the amount of P25,000.00
in lieu of actual damages, pursuant to our ruling in People v. Villanueva. For the same reasons, we also award temperate
damages in the amount of P25,000.00, in lieu of actual damages, to the
heirs of Calixto since the proven actual damages amounted to only P22,400.00.
existence of one aggravating circumstance also merits the grant of exemplary
damages under Article 2230 of the New Civil Code. Pursuant to prevailing
jurisprudence, we award exemplary damages of
P30,000.00, respectively, to
the heirs of PO2 Osorio and of Calixto.
uphold the award of moral damages to the heirs of PO2 Osorio and to the heirs
of Calixto, but reduce the amount awarded from
P200,000.00 to P75,000.00
to conform to prevailing jurisprudence.
However, we observed that the dispositive portion of the RTC decision, as
affirmed by the CA, only awarded moral damages to the heirs of PO2 Osorio. “[W]hile the general rule is
that the portion of a decision that becomes the subject of execution is that
ordained or decreed in the dispositive part thereof, there are recognized
exceptions to this rule: (a) where there is ambiguity or uncertainty, the body
of the opinion may be referred to for purposes of construing the judgment,
because the dispositive part of a decision must find support from the
decision's ratio decidendi; and (b)
where extensive and explicit discussion and settlement of the issue is found in
the body of the decision.”
We find that the second exception applies to the case. The omission to state in the dispositive portion the award of moral damages to the heirs of Calixto was through mere inadvertence. The body of the RTC decision shows the clear intent of the RTC to award moral damages to the heirs of Calixto.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of
P75,000.00 as civil
indemnity; P75,000.00 as moral damages; P30,000.00 as exemplary
damages; and P25,000.00 as temperate
damages, in lieu of actual damages. For the death of PO2 Osorio, the appellant
is ordered to pay the victim’s heirs the amounts of P75,000.00 as civil
indemnity; P75,000.00 as moral damages; P30,000.00 as exemplary
damages; P25,000.00 as temperate damages, in lieu of actual damages; and
P1,588,600.00 as loss of earning capacity.
ARTURO D. BRION
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
BIENVENIDO L. REYES
A T T E S T A T I O N
I attest that the conclusions in the above Resolution had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
C E R T I F I C A T I O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division Chairperson's Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Resolution had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.
RENATO C. CORONA
 Rollo, pp. 3-21; penned by Associate Justice Romeo F. Barza, and concurred in by Associate Justice Mariano C. del Castillo and Associate Justice Arcangelita M. Romilla-Lontok.
 CA rollo, pp. 51-71.
 Supra note 1.
People v. Aminola, G.R. No. 178062,
 People v. Dela Cruz, G.R. No. 168173,
 Article 63. – Rules for the application of indivisible penalties.
People v. Baron, G.R. No. 185209,
 456 Phil. 14 (2003).
 See People
 See People
 Insular Life Assurance Company, Ltd. v. Toyota Bel-Air, Inc., G.R. No. 137884, March 28, 2008, 550 SCRA 70, 85.