Criminal Law

KUMMER v. PEOPLE G.R. No. 174461, September 11, 2013 Motive

FACTS:

On June 19, 1988, between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m., Jesus Mallo, Jr., accompanied by Amiel Malana, went to the house of Leticia Kummer. Mallo knocked at the front door with a stone and identified himself by saying, “Auntie, ako si Boy Mallo.”

The petitioner opened the door and at this point, her son and co-accused, Johan, shot Mallo twice using a gun. 

Malana witnessed the shooting, and immediately ran, followed by Mallo. When Malana turned his back, he saw the petitioner leveling and firing her long gun at Mallo, hitting the latter’s back and causing him to fall flat on the ground.

Upon ascertaining that Mallo was dead, Kummer and Johan dragged Mallo’s body a few meters away. 

The following morning, policeman Danilo Pelovello went to the petitioner’s house and informed her that Mallo had been found dead in front of her house. Upon investigation through inquiries,  the neighbors and the petitioner all denied having any knowledge of the incident.

The prosecution filed an information for homicide against the petitioner and Johan.

Both accused pleaded not guilty and denied having killed Mallo.

The RTC found the prosecution’s evidence persuasive based on the testimonies of prosecution eyewitnesses Ramon Cuntapay and Malana who both testified that the petitioner shot Mallo.

On appeal, petitioner contended, among others, that the RTC committed reversible error in not considering the failure of the prosecution to cite the petitioner’s motive in killing the victim.

The CA affirmed the RTC judgment.

Hence, this petition.

ISSUE:

Whether or not proof of motive is required in criminal prosecution.

RULING:

We find the petition devoid of merit.

Motive is irrelevant when the accused has been positively identified by an eyewitness.

We agree with the CA’s ruling that motive gains importance only when the identity of the assailant is in doubt. As held in a long line of cases, the prosecution does not need to prove the motive of the accused when the latter has been identified as the author of the crime.

Once again, we point out that the petitioner was positively identified by Malana and Cuntapay. Thus, the prosecution did not have to identify and prove the motive for the killing. It is a matter of judicial knowledge that persons have been killed for no apparent reason at all, and that friendship or even relationship is no deterrent to the commission of a crime.

Thus, in light of the direct and positive identification of the petitioner as one of the perpetrators of the crime by not one but two prosecution eyewitnesses, the failure to cite the motive of the petitioner is of no moment.

At any rate, we find it noteworthy that the lack or absence of motive for committing the crime does not preclude conviction where there are reliable witnesses who fully and satisfactorily identified the petitioner as the perpetrator of the felony, such as in this case.

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