Criminal Law, Remedial Law

People v. Carpo G.R. No. 132676 April 4, 2001 Complex Crimes

FACTS:

Ruben Meriales testified that in the evening of 25 August 1996, he saw Jaime Carpo together with Warlito Ibao and his son Roche all looking in the direction of Florentino Dulay’s house which was about a meter to the south from where he was. He also saw Oscar Ibao, another son of Warlito, striding towards Dulay’s hut. As soon as he reached the hut Oscar lifted the sawali mat near the wall and hurled something inside. Oscar then scurried off towards the nearby creek with Roche following him. Seconds later, a loud explosion shook the entire neighborhood and Teresita Dulay’s screams broke into the night.

Ruben rushed outside and ran towards Florentino’s hut where he saw the bloodied Florentino, his daughters, Norwela and Nissan lying side by side, both doused in blood, and a motionless Noemi whose head was oozing with blood.

On their way to the hospital, Norwela who had injuries on her chest and lower appendage died. Nissan who was five years old, also died later. Noemi luckily survived.

The trial Court gave full credit to the testimony of Ruben and convicted Carpo et al. of the multiple murder of Florentino, Norwela and Nissan Dulay and the attempted murder of Noemi Dulay.

In accordance with Sec. 6, RA 7659, and Art. 48 of the RPC, the trial court imposed upon all of the accused the supreme penalty of death and ordered them to solidarily indemnify the heirs of the deceased.

Forthwith, the case was elevated to this Court for automatic review.

After the filing of briefs, the accused filed an Addendum to Appellant’s Brief urging that the favorable results of their lie detector tests with the NBI be admitted into the records.

ISSUE:

i.

Whether or not the lie detector test report should be admitted in evidence.

II.

Whether or not the trial court correctly convicted the accused of murder complexed with attempted murder.

RULING:

I.

A lie detector test is based on the theory that an individual will undergo physiological changes, capable of being monitored by sensors attached to his body, when he is not telling the truth. The Court does not put credit and faith on the result of a lie detector test inasmuch as it has not been accepted by the scientific community as an accurate means of ascertaining truth or deception.

The explosion by means of a hand grenade on the night of 25 August 1996 resulting in the death of Florentino, Norwela and Nissan Dulay and in the wounding of Noemi Dulay is an admitted fact. The identity of the perpetrators, as tenaciously questioned by the accused, depends upon the credibility of Ruben Meriales.

II.

The trial court correctly ruled that accused-appellants conspired in perpetrating the offense charged. From the detailed account of Ruben, Jaime and Warlito positioned themselves near the hay barn while Roche casually stood by the mango tree. As observed by the trial court, the presence of Jaime, Warlito and Roche inescapably gave encouragement and a sense of security to Oscar, the group’s preceptor. Surely, the latter was emboldened to commit the crime knowing that his co-conspirators were not far behind.

Under the doctrine enunciated in People v. Tayo, the crime committed may otherwise be more appropriately denominated as murder qualified by explosion rather than by treachery. However, since it was treachery that is alleged in the Information and appreciated by the trial court, the explosion of the grenade which resulted in the death of Florentino, Norwela and Nissan, and the wounding of Noemi can only be multiple murder complexed with attempted murder.

The crime committed against Noemi Dulay was correctly denominated by the trial court as attempted murder considering that none of her injuries was fatal. As none of her wounds was severe as to cause her death, accused-appellants not having performed all the acts of execution that would have brought it about, the crime is only attempted murder.

Since the three (3) murders and attempted murder were produced by a single act, namely, the explosion caused by the hurling of a grenade into the bedroom of the Dulays, the case comes under Art. 48 of The Revised Penal Code on complex crimes. Article 48 provides that the penalty for the more serious crime, which in the present case is reclusion perpetua to death, should be applied in its maximum period.

As the crime was complexed, the death penalty was properly imposed by the trial court.

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