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[ GR No. 14643, Sep 08, 1919 ]



40 Phil. 78

[ G.R. No. 14643, September 08, 1919 ]




This case was tried in the Court of First Instance of Misamis by virtue of complaint filed by the provincial fiscal on September 28, 1918, accusing Bonifacio Bisandre of the murder of Francisco Sintoarias. On the same date judgment was rendered condemning the accused to the death penalty, to indemnify the heirs of the deceased in the sum of five hundred pesos (^500) and to pay costs. From this judgment, counsel for the accused appealed.

On a Sunday which appears to be May 19, 1918, Francisco Sintoarias and his wife Ruperta Comar were in the cockpit of Danlogan, because the husband was betting on the cocks. At about noon of that day, when the woman was not with her husband, Bonifacio Bisandre approached and said to her in a low voice that he would kill her husband information which the woman seemingly received with indifference. About 7 o'clock of the same day, the deceased Sintoarias and his wife Ruperta Comar started for home, but on reaching the Daisog River, Sintoarias being in advance of his wife who was behind some five or seven brazas (about six feet), the accused coming out from some small coconut trees, armed with a club made of fan-palm, again approached the said woman saying in a low voice: "Right now, I am going to kill your husband." She answered by saying not to kill her husband, as he had done nothing wrong; but that, on the contrary, he (Bisandre) was the one who had done something wrong in having lived with her. At this point the accused, whom the deceased had not seen, went away quickly. The woman Ruperta Comar wading crossed the river before her husband who had to take off his pants, in order to avoid getting wet. When the woman reached the other side of the river, she shouted to her husband to hurry up, because someone wanted to do him harm. In fact, when Francisco Sintoarias reached the other side of the river he was assaulted, the accused Bisandre giving him a hard blow on the nape of the neck with the club which he was carrying, and as a result fell face downward to the ground. Just at this moment she saw and recognized the accused, because the moon was clear. After this occurrence, the husband being then dead, the accused Bisandre took the woman by force to his house under threat of death if she should not obey and there under a similar threat, he gave her instructions as to how she should act if the crime be discovered. Wherefore through fear complying with the said instructions, the said woman assumed and pretended to be ignorant and to know nothing of the whereabouts of her husband. She not only persuaded Dolores Anducal to go with her to search for her husband, but also revealed nothing about the occurrence to the municipal authority through fear due to the fact that the accused was not yet arrested, though she did do so after the said accused was imprisoned. Ruperta Comar affirmed that from 1914 to 1917 she was living maritally with the accused; that in October of the year last-mentioned she went back to her husband; that once afterwards, while then living with her husband, she went secretly to see the accused in his own house to ask for an amicable separation; that the accused then said to her: "Although you may leave me I will not leave you;" and that when she asked the accused to let her take her clothes, he refused to deliver them. Upon cross-examination, Ruperta Comar said that the morning following the occurrence, she went to the house of the lieutenant of the barrio, surnamed Bandiola, and without revealing the name of the perpetrator of the crime told him that her husband was lying dead on the side of the highway. Later the authorities went there to investigate the matter.

The witness Dolores Anducal affirmed that she accompanied the wife of the deceased to the bank of the river late at night of the aforesaid Sunday; that there she saw the corpse of the deceased Sintoarias stretched out face downward; that she recognized the corpse, because the widow was carrying a torch; that the said widow turned the said corpse over; that some hours earlier on that night, on arriving home, Ruperta Comar gave an order that rice be cooked, because her husband would arrive soon as he had gone to buy some fish; that after the rice had been cooked, she was asked by Ruperta Comar to go with her in search of her husband; that they started out on a carabao; that after they had crossed the river the widow of the deceased went straight to the place where the corpse was; and that, when they both returned, they did not carry the corpse with them, because witness was afraid.

The facts above set forth constitute, in fact, the crime of murder comprised in article 403 of the Penal Code, inasmuch as the evidence adduced at the trial shows that the accused Bisandre assaulted and killed Sintoarias, after having premeditated its execution, as it is reasonable to presume that from the date on which Ruperta Comar, who had lived maritally for almost four years with the accused, left him and returned to her legitimate husband (whom she had married even before she had relations with the accused Bisandre) the latter conceived the idea of doing away with and getting rid altogether of the husband who was in his way; inasmuch as when the adulterous wife wanted to put an end to her relations with the accused, and to take away her clothes which were in his control, the said accused stated to his concubine that although she should leave him, nevertheless he would not leave her; inasmuch as it is unquestionable, that the intention to kill the husband had begun to take shape in his mind and had been thought over and determined upon by him since then, thus making his criminal purpose apparent from the morning of the day when, the offended husband and the unfaithful wife being in the cockpit, the accused said to her in a low voice that he would kill her husband, a statement repeated in the road when the said couple were returning home about 7 o'clock at night of the same day. Hence, it is beyond all doubt that the accused deliberately planned the execution of the crime, and after careful prior consideration carried it out just as he had planned months, days, or hours before its commission, and for this reason, it is undeniable that the violent death inflicted by the accused upon the deceased Sintoarias was attended by the circumstance of known premeditation.

No struggle took place beforehand whereby the deceased fell stretched out on the ground, and the only witness, the wife Ruperta Comar, who was walking in advance, asserted that she did not see the accused in the act of giving the blow to her unhappy husband; that she only became aware that her husband had fallen to the ground face downward; and that then she saw the accused carrying in his hand a club made of fan-palm, which circumstances led her to believe that the aggressor was the accused. Taking into consideration this testimony, as well as the part of the body wounded, it is logical to infer that the aggression was treacherous, but in case of doubt, there being no sufficient proof as to how the aggression was executed, the presumption or suspicion that treachery has attended the case not being sufficient, it is not proper to affirm the concurrence of this qualifying circumstance determinative of more severe penalty, nor likewise the concurrence of the generic circumstance of nocturnity, as it does not appear justifiable that darkness may have been sought expressly for the perpetration of the crime.

The accused did not plead guilty. His defense tried to establish a different fact as the cause of the death of the deceased, attributing it to the unfaithful wife. But, aside from the fact that it is worthy of little credence that Ruperta Comar may have been able to kill her husband by means of a cudgel with a blow given upon the nape of the neck, considering the disparity between the strength and the stature of the husband and the weakness of the woman, we must note that the testimony of Damaso Intut who tried to establish a like fact as the origin of the crime, is devoid of all justification and appears to be neither supported nor corroborated by any detail at the trial. The testimony of this witness relative to the alibi in favor of the accused, insufficient in itself, is not able to prove that said accused was at a place distant from that where the deceased was killed, while the testimony of the widow Ruperta Comar has furnished data sufficient to show how and in what manner the crime was perpetrated; who has been its true author, there being evidence which destroys the credibility of said witness.

In a way, the conduct of the widow of the deceased is anomalous, but from her testimony we come to a correct judgment in regard to the conduct of the accused since the time he must have thought seriously of killing the husband who was an obstacle to his living with the adulterous woman till the moment the crime was perpetrated. Wherefore, it is certain that the accused with evident premeditation killed Francisco Sintoarias, without there having concurred in the commission of the crime any extenuating or aggravating circumstance.

In view of the foregoing considerations, the judgment brought up for review should be revoked, and the defendant Bonifacio Bisandre should be, as hereby he is, sentenced to cadena perpetua, to the accessory penalties of civil interdiction and to the surveillance of the authorities during his lifetime, and although the principal penalty may be remitted by a pardon the said accused should suffer the penalties of absolute perpetual disqualification and subjection to the surveillance of the authorities as long as he lives, provided such accessory penalties are not remitted by the pardon of the principal penalty; to indemnify the widow and heirs of the deceased in the amount of one thousand pesos (P1,000) and to pay the costs in both instances. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Johnson, Araullo, Street, Malcolm, Avanceña, and Moir, JJ., concur.

Judgment reversed; penalty reduced.