People v. Espina


People v. Espina

G.R. No. 219614

July 10, 2019


On May 26, 2005, around 8:30 in the evening, appellant Ponciano Espina, Ernando Reyes, Jr., Russel, Pio Manjares and a certain Dante were having a drinking spree inside Pio's house in Ibayo, Tipas, Taguig City. While the drinking spree was ongoing, appellant left. When he returned, he showed his drinking companions a .45-caliber gun and asked them to hold it, which they did. He later retrieved the gun and tucked it on his waist. After a while, appellant pulled out the gun and pointed it close to Ernando's chest, posing these questions "Ano gusto? Patay buhay?" Then right off, he shot Ernando in the upper right chest. Everyone else in the group scampered away. But shortly after, Russel came back and helped rush Ernando to the Rizal Medical Center. Emando later died in the hospital


                Whether or not accused is guilty of Murder.


                Yes. As a rule, a party who deliberately adopts a certain theory upon which the case is tried and decided by the lower court will not be permitted to change his or her theory on appeal. Points of law, theories, issues and arguments not brought to the attention of the lower court will not be considered by the reviewing court, as these cannot be raised for the first time at such late stage.To allow otherwise would be unfair to the adverse party who would have no opportunity to present further evidence material to the new theory. In any event, changing postures of defense betray a guilty mind and sheer lack of credibility.

                In  Rivera v. People, the Court held that intent to kill must be proved by either direct or circumstantial evidence which may consist of: (1) the means used by the malefactor; (2) the nature, location, and number of wounds sustained by the victim; (3) the conduct of the malefactor before, during, or immediately after the killing of the victim; and (4) the circumstances under which the crime was committed. We have also considered as determinative factors the motive of the offender and the words he uttered at the time of inflicting the injuries on the victim. The factual circumstances surrounding Ernando's death clearly showed appellant's intent to kill. He left the drinking spree and shortly after, he came back and showed off his gun to his drinking companions. Then, he pointed it to Ernando posing two (2) queries: "Ano gusto? Patay buhay?" And right off, he shot the unarmed victim in the right chest. Appellant's vicious attack was unprovoked. He just shot Ernando in the right chest during the drinking spree. The Medico Legal Report38 stated that Ernando sustained one (1) gunshot wound, through and through, causing laceration of his right lung, diaphragm, liver, and stomach. The cause of death was: "Gunshot wound, trunk." It has been settled that if the victim died because of a deliberate act of the malefactor, intent to kill is conclusively presumed.39 Verily, appellant's intent to kill Ernando was amply established on record.

                There is also treachery. Russel positively testified that appellant and Ernando had no prior conflict or quarrel when appellant suddenly shot Ernando. Russel vividly recounted that while the drinking spree was ongoing, appellant left and returned shortly. He was already carrying a .45-caliber gun. Ernando was left without even a bit of a chance to defend himself or run away. Undoubtedly, appellant employed means which ensured the commission of the crime without exposing himself to any risk which may come from Ernando's possible act of retaliation or defense.

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