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[ GR No. 7900, Oct 18, 1912 ]



23 Phil. 300

[ G. R. No. 7900, October 18, 1912 ]




This is an appeal by the defendant, Numeriano Ramos, from the  judgment  of  February 14, 1912,  whereby  the Honorable Mariano Cui, judge, sentenced him to the penalty of fourteen years eight  months and  one day  of reclusion temporal, to indemnify the heirs of the deceased  in the sum of P1,000, and to pay the costs.

Between 8 and 9 o'clock at night  of the  16th  of June, 1910, Pedro Ramirez,  while in his house on Calle Fe, of the pueblo of Balayan, heard the screams of a person who was crying out "murder."  He therefore immediately  went down out  of  his  house to see what was happening and, on his arrival at a place some 20 or 25 meters from the front of Andres Codiamat's house, he found Severino de Chaves lying on the ground; the latter stated that he had been wounded by the defendant,  Numeriano  Ramos, his godfather, and begged the witness to  take him to the municipal building, which Ramirez did, where the wounded man was seated on a chair.

Coincident with  this occurrence, Mauricio Aesquivel, a police corporal, and Teofilo Javier, a policeman, were going along the said Calle Fe and upon arriving in front of the house of Lorenzo Ermita heard some one cry out "murder," and  they then saw Numeriano Ramos, who was  coming rapidly toward them, turn toward the south into an alley known by the name of  Piit; thereupon the  policemen asked him  what had happened and ordered him to  halt.  Ramos, however, paid no attention to them and hastened his steps. The  officers pursued him and, when they were about to catch up with him, called upon him to recognize  the authority of the law; the defendant  faced them and said: "Please do not approach, lest you bring misfortune upon yourselves, for the dagger I have is stained with blood."   They in fact noticed that Ramos  held a bloody dagger in his hand and that his right hand was also  stained with blood.  After saying these words, the defendant continued  to run along  Calle Paz and headed toward some land planted with nipa-palms, among which he entered.  As the policemen were unarmed, for they were not on duty at  the time, they called some other officers, by means of their whistles, and started for  the municipal building to get their arms.   While on their way they advised three policemen, who had responded to their call, to watch the place where  Numeriano Ramos had entered, but, upon their return thereto, were unable to find the defendant.

As soon as the wounded man, Severino de Chaves, arrived at the municipal  building, the justice  of the peace, Julian Calzado, in view of Chaves' serious  condition  and the statement that he was dying, took his sworn declaration in the form of written questions and answers, in which the patient declared that he had been wounded in the abdomen and the left hand by Numeriano Ramos.  This statement was made by Chaves  to those in the municipal  building  who were present, and was heard by the said policemen, Aesquivel and Javier, when they went to and were in this building for the purpose of getting their arms.

The examination of the wounded man by the  physician, Vicente Ramos, disclosed that he bore  an  angular-shaped wound, two centimeters in length by  two  and  a half in depth, from left  to right, in the upper part of  the hypogastric region, produced by a sharp-pointed,  cutting instrument and of undeterminable diagnosis, owing to the complications which might ensue on account of its  proximity to important organs; a wound of about  three centimeters in length in the palm of the left hand, affecting the skin and the soft parts, curable in seven days; and other wounds in the under side of the last phalanges of the fingers of the left hand, produced by a cutting instrument and, likewise, curable in seven days. On the night of the  following day, the 17th, Severino de Chaves died, as a result of the wound in the abdomen.

For the foregoing reasons, and in view of the preliminary investigation made, the provincial fiscal filed an information in the Court of First Instance of the province, on October 23, 1910, charging Numeriano Ramos with the crime of murder, and, upon the institution of this case, the judgment appealed from was rendered.

There was  no  eyewitness to  the deadly assault  upon Severino de Chaves in Calle Fe,  of the pueblo  of Balayan, between 8 and 9 o'clock of the night of the 16th of June; 1910, the only neighbor, Pedro Ramirez, who responded to the cry of a person who was calling for help, saying that he was going to be killed, upon arrival at the place whence the cry had come, found Chaves stretched out on the ground and dangerously wounded, and he died on the following day. Ramirez did not  witness the assault which Chaves said Numeriano  Ramos had made upon him a  few  moments before, and did not see the latter at the place of the crime. These  facts, perfectly proven  in the present  case,  are characteristic of the crime of homicide, provided for and punished by article 404 of the Penal Code, as the  record does not show the presence of any of the qualifying circumstances enumerated in article 403 of the said code.

The evidence furnishes full and conclusive proof  of  the guilt of the defendant, Numeriano Ramos, as the sole perpetrator by direct participation, fully convicted, of the homicide in  question.   From the first moment that the wounded Chaves had Pedro Ramirez at his side, who had  come in response to his cries for help, he freely stated to the latter that he had been  assaulted and  wounded  by Numeriano Ramos, and, fearing that the wound he had received in  the hypogastric region was dangerous and that he should  die of it, he begged Ramirez to take him to the municipal building, where he repeated the same statements to his wife, Gliceria Caliope,  to the physician, and to the justice  of  the peace, Julian Calzado, who took his sworn declaration, saying repeatedly to all these parties, as well as  to the corporal, Mauricio Aesquivel, and to the policeman,  Teofllo Javier, that he felt badly and  was going  to die as  a result  of the wound inflicted in his abdomen by the defendant, and that he had given up all hope of living. At the very time that Pedro Ramirez came up to  help the unfortunate Severino Chaves,  who was lying at full length in the street aforementioned, the defendant was seen  in the same street by the police officers, Mauricio Aesquivel and Teofilo Javier, who chanced to be walking along there; his right hand was stained with blood  and grasped a dagger or pocketknife, which was likewise bloody; he  would not halt on being commanded to do so, and, after threatening the said officers, ran  toward the inner part of a piece of land planted  to  nipa-palms; all of which conduct  on the part of the defendant, Numeriano  Ramos, as well as the  circumstances of having blood on his right hand and his carrying at the time a weapon also  stained with blood, constitute grave and  conclusive  circumstantial evidence of his  guilt, as derived from facts duly proven.

And if, to the testimony of several trustworthy witnesses who heard the ante-mortem statements of the deceased, and to the aforementioned  circumstantial evidence, there be added the corroborative evidence derived from the defendant's disappearance from the place of his residence, without his being found from the night of the crime, June, 16, 1910, until he was arrested by the Constabulary, on the 7th of the following month of October, whic"h is also circumstantial evidence  of guilt  all these data combined  and weighed together in connection with the other merits of the case, in accordance with the rules of  sane judgment and good common sense, produce in the mind a full  conviction of the guilt of the defendant, beyond all reasonable doubt, as the sole proved perpetrator  of the mortal  wound inflicted upon the deceased, Severino de Chaves.

The defendant pleaded not guilty, but,  notwithstanding his denial and his exculpatory allegations, absolutely devoid of proof and shown at trial to be completely false,  the record discloses full  and irrefutable proof that, on account of resentment  and trouble with  the  deceased  and the latter's wife, and without  just or legitimate motive, he assaulted and  inflicted the mortal wound upon  the hapless  Chaves.

Thus it is not true that the defendant, on the  night and hour of the crime, was, as he  alleged, at his  brother Teofilo's house in company with Melecio Daola and  Candida Ramos, at a  considerable distance from  the place of the  crime, because, besides this brother, who corroborated his allegation, his other relatives, Daola and Candida, were not presented as witnesses in his defense; and it is undeniable that, a few moments after the crime, the policemen,  Aesquivel and  Javier, saw him walking fast  with  his right hand covered with  blood and  carrying a bladed weapon, also bloody, in the  same street where the deceased was assaulted and found stretched upon the ground.

Ramos alleged, in justification of his conduct, that he had accompanied the deceased to Sablayan, Mindoro, to do some business in connection with stock, under the promise made to him that he should receive one-third of the profits; but that afterwards, notwithstanding that the  business produced  a profit of P1,200, the deceased refused to give him even so much as two pesos, and would give him no money at all  in spite of his requests and the fact that his family had nothing to  eat, wherefore he was obliged to borrow some money from Domingo de Jesus, who corroborated this latter  statement.  The wife of the deceased, however, contradicted the defendant.  She testified that it was not true that her husband owed him  any sum whatever, for the reason that she paid him P20 for his services  in accompanying her husband to Mindoro, in accordance with the agreement made, and ?10 more  for  getting  four head of stock,  left  on that island; so that the defendant, when  he with his family left the deceased's residence, was able to buy a  house for P30.   This testimony was corroborated  by Julian Caliope.

Judging, from the testimony of the deceased's  wife, the motive of the attempt against the life of her deceased husband appears to have been the following: One week after the return of her husband and the defendant from Mindoro the former received a letter from Rufino Papa,  in whose house in Sablayan, Mindoro, they had  lodged, informing the deceased and witness  that the defendant  had abstracted or stolen money from his house; therefore witness and her husband  begged Ramos to tell the truth, and in fact  he confessed  to  them that he did take the  money,  but  when Chaves was about to write to Papa, Ramos told these spouses that he could not admit the charge,  as he had  not  been caught in the act; then witness and her husband both reproached the defendant, asking him  how he could  act  in such wise, since  they  were willing to pay for what had been stolen; at this the defendant  took offense and with his family left Chaves' house.  One week after this occurrence, the deceased was assaulted and mortally wounded in the street.

In the commission of the crime, there  is no extenuating or aggravating circumstance to be considered, since it does not  appear that the  defendant chose  and took advantage of the  darkness of the night for the purpose of killing Severino de Chaves.

With respect to the  errors  assigned by  the  defense to the judgment appealed from, it is sufficient for the purposes of this  decision to state that,  in view of the fact that a person  had been seriously wounded and  repeatedly designated his assailant, the  justice of the peace  proceeded properly, in accordance with law, by conducting the required preliminary investigation and ordering the  capture of the designated author of the crime, since he was not found and had disappeared from the place of his residence.  The provisions of section 41 of Act No. 1627 were complied with,

An information having been filed by the provincial fiscal, the judge acted according to law in confirming the imprisonment of the defendant and refusing to  release him; and no error was committed by permitting the fiscal to amend the date of the year of the complaint, inasmuch as the said amendment, made by  striking out the last word and substituting in lieu thereof "1910,"  impaired none of the rights of the defendant, who well knew that he committed the crime on the night of June 16th, 1910, and not in June, 1911.

As regards the declaration made by the deceased several hours prior to his death, and which was taken into account in the judgment appealed from,  it must be observed that his repeated statements made before various persons, and, under oath, to the justice of the peace, relative to his dangerous wound, his approaching death without hope of living, the identity of his aggressor, and to the  circumstances of the assault made upon  him, are admissible in a criminal action with the testimony of the witnesses who heard such statements, according to off-expressed opinions in the decisions of this court, which have already become well-settled legal doctrine.   (U. S. vs. Montes, 6 Phil. Rep.,  443;  U. S. vs. Gil,  13 Phil. Rep.,  530; and  U. S. vs. Castellon, 12 Phil. Rep., 160.)

Even granting the truth of the supposition  advanced  by the defense, that the  fear and  nervousness felt by the deceased were more the cause of his death than the gravity of his wound, it must nevertheless be borne in mind that' he who inflicted the serious wound which caused the death of Severino de Chaves is responsible  for the consequences that ensued, and  that the physical condition and  temperament of the wounded man  can be no reason for lessening or reducing the extent of such harm, because the gravity of the injury caused is measured by the results it produces; therefore,  if the  wound  inflicted  upon the  offended party was a determinative cause of his death, it is unquestionable that the crime should  be classified  as homicide.

For all  the  foregoing  reasons,  and since the judgment appealed  from, the errors  assigned  to  which  have  been refuted, is in accordance with the law, it is, proper, in our opinion, to affirm  and we hereby affirm the said judgment, with  the costs against the appellant.

Arellano, C. J.,  Mapa, Johnson, Carson, and Trent,  JJ., concur.