Criminal Law

PEOPLE v. GEMOYA G.R. No. 132633 October 4, 2000 Conspiracy

FACTS:

At about 9:00 in the evening of January 27, 1996, accused Armando Gemoya, Ronilo Tionko, Rolly Tionko and Candelario Aliazar, armed with pipe, wood and an improvised bow and arrow made of nail with feathers in the end, proceeded to the house of the Alferezes, which was along the road in front of the school, when they saw Wilfredo Alferez standing by the road waiting for a taxi.

They rushed to him. Ronilo beat him with a cylindrical wood, Rolly with a pipe while Aliazar held his arms behind him. Once Gemoya had aimed his “indian pana,” they stepped aside to ensure that they would not be hit. Wilfredo was hit directly on his left chest. His daughter Rosalie, who had just come from school, tried to pull him away. Irene Lantapon yelled at her to run as Gemoya was about to shoot his “indian pana” again. Before she could do so, she was hit in her left ear. Then the four scampered away.

Rosalie and Wilfredo were rushed to the hospital. After minor treatment, she was declared out of danger. Wilfredo was pronounced dead on arrival.

Two separate Informations were filed against four suspects, the herein two accused-appellants and two others who have remained at large.

Judgment was rendered convicting the two accused.

ISSUE: 

Whether there was conspiracy to commit murder.

RULING:

Although only accused-appellant Gemoya may have inflicted the fatal wound upon the victim in this case, accused-appellant Tionko is also liable for the crime of murder since evidently, the concerted acts of the two accused appellants, and their two other companions, to obtain a common criminal objective signify conspiracy among them. Ronilo Tionko beat Wilfredo with a cylindrical wooden cane or “batuta”, and Rolly Tionko with a pipe, while Gemoya, after his companions had step aside to give him a clear shot, released his dart-missile at Wilfredo. A conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it.

Conspiracy need not be proved by direct evidence of a prior agreement to commit the crime. It may he deduced either from the mode and manner in which the offense was committed or from the accused themselves pointing to a community of interest or concerted action (People vs. Gayon, 269 SCRA 587 [1997]). Herein accused-appellants and their companions ganging up upon a single common victim until one of them is able to inflict the fatal wound is clearly indicative of a common design to assail and disable their victim-. Conspiracy can be inferred and proved by the totality of the acts of the accused when said acts point to a joint purpose and design (People vs. Bayrante, 235 SCRA 19 [1994]).

With or without himself inflicting injuries upon victim Wilfredo, accused appellant Ronilo Tionko is equally liable for the crime of murder in the case at bar as accused appellant Gemoya. He cannot escape criminal liability under the circumstances even though the autopsy report indicated no other injuries except the punctured wound on the victim’s chest. A conspirator, no matter how minimal his participation in the crime, is as guilty as the principal perpetrator of the crime (People vs. Alas 274 SCRA 310 [1977]). Holding the victim to render him immobile to enable his companions to consummate their dastardly act (People vs. Dinglasan, 267 SCRA 29 [1997]) or standing guard or lending moral support to the actual perpetrator is criminally responsible to the same extent as the one who inflicted the fatal blow (People vs. Diaz, 271 SCRA 504 [1997]).

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