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People vs PO3 Fallorina
G.R. No. 137347
March 4, 2004
At about 2:30 p.m. of September 26, 1998, Vincent Jorojoro, an eleven-year old minor and the third child of Vicente and Felicisima Jorojoro, residing at Sitio Militar, Brgy. Bahay Toro, Project 8, Quezon City, asked permission from his mother Felicisima if he could play outside. She agreed. Together with his playmate Whilcon “Buddha” Rodriguez, Vincent played with his kite on top of the roof of an abandoned carinderia beside the road.
Beside the carinderia was a basketball court, where a fourteen-year old witness Ricardo Salvo and his three friends, were playing basketball. Ricardo heard the familiar sound of a motorcycle coming from the main road across the basketball court. Cognizant to Ricardo of the appellant, PO3 Ferdinand Fallorina, a Philippine National Police (PNP) officer, detailed in the Traffic Management Group (TMG), knew that he abhorred kids playing on the roof, since one of his friends was previously been scolded by the appellant before.
Ricardo called on Vincent and Whilcon to come down from the roof. When PO3 Fallorina saw them, the former stopped his motorcycle, he shouted and badmouthed at them. After hearing the shouts of the appellant, Whilcon rushed to jump off from the roof while Vincent was lying on his stomach on the roof flying his kite. When he heard the appellant’s shouts, Vincent stood up and looked at the latter. As soon as Vincent turned his back, ready to get down from the roof, suddenly, the appellant pointed the .45 caliber pistol towards the direction of Vincent and fired a shot. Vincent fell from the roof, lying prostrate near the canal beside the abandoned carinderia and the basketball court.
The appellant approached Vincent and carried the latter’s hapless body in a waiting tricycle and brought him to the Quezon City General Hospital. Vincent was pronounced dead on arrival caused by a single gunshot wound in the head.
(a) Whether the appellant is exempted from criminal liability?
(b) Whether the appellant can offset an aggravating circumstance by taking advantage of his public position from a mitigating circumstance of his voluntary surrender?
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) cites that the basis for exemption from a criminal liability under Article 12, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), is the complete absence of intent and negligence on the part of the accused. For the accused to be guilty for a felony, it must be committed either with criminal intent or with fault or negligence.
Thusly, the elements of exempting circumstances are (1) a person is performing a lawful act; (2) with due care; (3) he causes an injury to another by mere accident; and (4) without any fault or intention of causing it.
In the case at bar, the Court a quo erred in inequitably appreciating exculpatory and inculpatory facts and circumstances which should have been considered in favor of the accused. The court also failed to appreciate the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender in favor of the accused since it was only after three days that the appellant gave himself up and surrendered his service firearm. And lastly, the court considered the aggravating circumstance of taking advantage of his position by the accused.
On January 19, 1999, the trial court rendered judgment convicting the appellant-accused of murder, qualified by treachery and aggravated by abuse of public position. The trial court did not appreciate in favor of the appellant the mitigating circumstances of voluntary surrender.
The Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 95, found the accused PO3 Ferdinand Fallorina y Fernando GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder defined and penalized by Article 248 of the RPC, as amended by the Republic Act No. 7659, and in view of the presence of the aggravating circumstance of taking advantage by the accused of his public position (par. 1, Art. 14, RPC). Hence, the accused is hereby ordered to indemnify the heirs of late Vincent Jorojoro, Jr. the amounts of actual damages of P49,174.00 (paid for funeral services); P50,000.00 for moral damages; P25,000.00 as exemplary damages; and P50,000.00 as death indemnity. The court a quo sentenced the appellant to suffer the Death Penalty.
Case Digest by: cbcabalza2009