[ G.R. No. 241632, October 14, 2020 ]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff- Appellee, VS. ANGELITO DAYRIT y HIMOR, Accused-Appellant.
CONCURRING AND DISSENTING OPINION
I register my concurrence with the ponencia which affirmed the conviction of the accused for two counts of murder with the aggravating circumstances of treachery and use of motor vehicle. However, I disagree that evident premeditation attended the commission of the crime.
For proper reference, there is a need to revisit the facts of the case.
On August 31, 2013 at around 10:00 p.m., Lloyd Ontiveros and his friends saw a man wearing a black jacket and a helmet on board a green and black motorcycle. The man was seen "palakadlakad" on the street and observing a group of persons which included Ariel Serenilla. Lloyd recognized the man as Angelito Dayrit and asked him why he was there. Angelito responded that he was waiting for someone and soon left on his motorcycle. After a few seconds, Angelito returned in the same motorcycle with a companion, who was also wearing a black jacket and a helmet. They were driving back and forth along the same street. Later, Lloyd met Ariel and his wife Lourdes Serenilla on his way to buy cigarettes. As they were walking together, Lloyd noticed that Angelito and his companion are following Ariel and Lourdes. Upon reaching the store, Lloyd stayed behind while Ariel and Lourdes boarded a tricycle. Thereafter, Angelito and his companion blocked the tricycle and fired a gun four times that fatally injured Ariel and Lourdes. The assailants then drove the motorcycle and sped away to escape.
In appreciating evident premeditation, the majority ruled that the accused and his cohort monitored the victims and subsequently drove back and forth on the street to ensure that they remained in the area. The accused and his companion were also wearing helmets and black jackets while stalking their victims showing that they planned the means on how to carry out the crimes. The ponencia then concluded that the time between monitoring the victims and waiting for the perfect opportunity to kill them indicated cool thought and reflection on the part the accused.
Notably, evident premeditation has the following elements, to wit: (1) the time when the offender determined to commit the crime; (2) an act manifestly indicating that the culprit has clung to his determination; and (3) a sufficient lapse of time between the determination and execution to allow him to reflect upon the consequences of his act.1 Specifically, the prosecution must establish that a sufficient amount of time had lapsed between the malefactor's determination and execution.2 Indeed, case law had specified the periods for purposes of reflection or cool thinking on the part of the accused.
In People v. Mojica,3 a period of one month from the time of the humiliation inflicted against the accused is enough.Ꮮαwρhi৷ In People v. Lasafin,4 three days' time is considered sufficient for the accused to meditate upon the crime which he intended to commit. In People v. Renegado y Señora,5 the accused had more or less sixty-four hours to ponder over his plan and listen to the advice of his co-employees and of his own conscience. In People v. Dosal,6 a period one whole day is enough to appreciate evident premeditation. In People v. Magayac,7 an intervening period of 11 hours was sufficient for the accused to have a cool reflection on the consequences of his criminal plan. In People v. Benilo y Restuhog,8 a six-hour interval between the alleged grave offense committed by the victim against the accused and the assassination was more than sufficient to enable the accused to recover his serenity. In People v Dumdum, Jr.,9 a one-hour interval from conceiving the crime and its commission is considered sufficient.
Corollarily, the Court will not appreciate evident premeditation absent showing that there was enough time that had lapsed between the conception and execution of the crime to allow the accused to reflect upon the consequences of his acts.10 Here, there is no evidence as to the period of time when the accused resolved to commit the crime and had cool thought and reflection to arrive at a calm judgment. The prosecution witnesses only attested that they saw the accused and his companion scouting the area and stalking the victims. Moreover, the assailants were in disguise and in possession of a gun. Yet, these circumstances are insufficient to prove cool thought and reflection of the crime to be executed. In People v. Chua,11 the Court emphasized that the premeditation to kill must be plain and notorious. It must be sufficiently proven by evidence of outward acts showing the intent to kill. In the absence of clear and positive evidence, mere presumptions and inferences of evident premeditation, no matter how logical and probable, are insufficient. More importantly, the fact that a riding in tandem committed the crime should not automatically result in a finding of evident premeditation especially if there are no external acts of deliberate planning. In People v. Punsalan,12 two men on board a motorcycle passed by the victim and his wife who were in front of their store. The riding in tandem then stopped in front of the couple and asked the victim his name. Thereafter, the accused shot the victim four times. The Court did not consider evident premeditation because there is no evidence as to how and when the plan to kill was decided and what time had elapsed before it was carried out.
To reiterate, the prosecution has the burden to prove all the elements of evident premeditation beyond reasonable doubt.13 The Court cannot rely on mere suspicion. Accordingly, I vote to affirm the conviction of the accused for two counts of murder with the aggravating circumstances of treachery and use of motor vehicle sans evident premeditation.
(Sgd.) MARIO V. LOPEZ
1People v. Guillermo, 361 Phil. 933 (IW)).
2People v. Abierra, G.R. No. 227504. June 13, 2018
3162 Phil. 657(1976).
492 Phil. 668 (1953).
5156 Phil. 260(1974).
692 Phil. 877(1953).
7387 Phil. 1 (2000).
8165 Phil. 871 (1976).
9180 Phil. 628 (1979).
10People v. De Guia, 257 Phil. 957 (1989); People v. Baldino y Quillo, 338 Phil. 350 (1997); People v. Garcia y Romano, 467 Phi. 1102 (2004 ); People v. Abierra, supra; People v. Illescas, 396 Phil. 200 (2000); and People v. Agramon, G.R. No. 212156, June 20, 2018, 867 SCRA 104.
11357 Phil. 907(1998).
12421 Phil. 1058 (2001).
13People v. Peña, 353 Phi. 782 (1998).
The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation