Treachery present where victim in no position to offer any defense

Upon the evidence, our minds are free from any doubt that the accused-appellants killed Sonny Sollo and that the killing was committed with treachery; hence, they are guilty of murder as charged. The critical point of inquiry to sustain a finding of treachery is not the initial attack or assault, which the trial court utilized as basis, but the final phase, i.e., when the accused-appellants overtook Sonny Solo after he fled for safety. The victim grappled for the bolo of accused-appellant Danilo Balamban when accused-appellant Rudy Balamban punched Sonny on the jaw which knocked Sonny to the ground, unconsious. As the latter lay on the ground, accused-appellant Danilo Balamban hacked the neck of Sonny with his bolo. Policeman Tejada and Valeza, who happened to pass by, witnesses this incident. After identifying themselves as policemen, Tejada ordered Danilo to drop his bolo, which he did. But then, while Tejada was facing a group of onlookers with his back toward the victim and Danilo, accused-appellant Rudy Balamban picked up the bolo, and with it, hacked the neck of Sonny Solo. Indisputably, Danilo and Rudy attacked Sonny with treachery because the latter, then unconscious and lying on the ground and armless, was in no position to offer any defense to ward off the attack nor provide a semblance of risk to the life or limb of the attackers. In short, the accused-appellants employed means or methods in the execution of the crime which tended directly and specially to insure its execution without risk to themselves arising from the defense which the offended party might make. All the requisites of treachery as defined in paragraph 16, Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code were thus present. [G.R. No. 119591. November 21, 1996]