People v. Batulan


People v. Batulan

G.R. No. 216936

July 29, 2019


Around 7:30 in the evening, Letecia accompanied her husband Ruben ply his usual jeepney route. They stopped along Abellanosa Street, Cagayan De Oro City to pick up passengers in the area. Pagapulaan was one of the barkers who called for passengers to board Ruben's jeepney. When the jeepney was almost full, Pagapulaan demanded ₱10.00 from Ruben's conductor as payment for his services. The latter's refusal to pay led to an altercation between them. To stop the squabble, Ruben gave Pagapulaan ₱5.00. Displeased with the meager payment, Pagapulaan cursed Ruben and boxed the body of the jeepney, prompting the passengers to alight. Ruben grabbed a samurai stowed under his seat to keep Pagapulaan at bay. But as soon as he alighted his jeepney, he was surrounded and attacked by Batulan, Pagapulaan, Renato, and Junjun. Pagapulaan got hold of the samurai and sliced Rubens face and nose. Junjun stabbed Ruben using a knife. Renato struck Ruben's nape with a stone causing the latter's head to crack. Batulan also hacked Ruben with a samurai. She saw all four (4) accused take turns in stabbing Ruben with a knife and hacking him with a samurai. When Ruben fell to the ground, she alighted the jeepney and embraced her husband. Ruben died at the hospital. When asked to identify her husband's assailants in court, she instantly recognized and pointed at Pagapulaan, Renato, and Junjun. But she failed to immediately identify Batulan because of his new haircut.SPO4 Ausejo testified that on June 21, 2003, around 7 o'clock in the evening, his team received a report that a stabbing incident was taking place along Abellanosa Street. They immediately responded since the location was a mere two-minute drive.21 When they reached the location, a bystander told them that one of the assailants ran towards Brgy. Consolacion. He and his team quickly boarded their patrol car and chased the assailant. They caught the assailant in an abandoned warehouse. When they frisked him, they recovered a bloodied Batangas knife. The assailant was then brought to Police Precinct No. 5 for investigation. There, he was identified as Batulan. Letecia confirmed with the police that Batulan was indeed one (1) of her husband's assailants.


Whether or not the CA erred in affirming appellant’s conviction


                No. In another vein, both the trial court and the Court of Appeals correctly found that appellant acted in conspiracy with his co-accused. Conspiracy exists when two (2) or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. It arises on the very instant the plotters agree, expressly or impliedly, to commit the felony and forthwith decide to pursue it. What is important is that all participants performed specific acts with such closeness and coordination as to unmistakably indicate a common purpose to bring about the death of the victim. Once this is established, each of the conspirators is made criminally liable for the crime actually committed by any one of them. Here, the following circumstances established conspiracy: (1) all four accused knew each other as they were dispatchers or jeepney barkers in the area where the crime was committed: (2) they were all present at the time of the killing; (3) they surrounded Ruben when he alighted his jeepney; (4) they took turns hitting, hacking and stabbing Ruben with a stone, samurai and a knife; (5) Ruben sustained multiple injuries and wounds from the attacks; and (6) all four accused immediately escaped. The acts of appellant and his co-accused were coordinated. They were synchronized in their attacks and were motivated by a single criminal impulse - to kill Ruben. Their spontaneous agreement to commit the crime is sufficient to create joint criminal responsibility.  Conspiracy being present, appellant is thus equally liable as his co accused regardless of who delivered the killing blow. For where there is conspiracy, all conspirators are liable as co-principals. The act of one is the act of all.

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