SC: Craft = aggravating circumstance


Craft involves intellectual trickery and cunning on the part of the accused. When there is a direct inducement by insidious words or machinations, fraud is present. Craft can be used in order not to arouse the suspicion of the victims and thus make them vulnerable to the accused's criminal minds.

In one case, the accused tricked the victims by pretending that they needed a ride. (G.R. No. 113245-47. August 18, 1997)

On 12 January 1991, Fidel Manio and Saturnina Bioser, with eight-year old Mark Anthony Malinao, were on board a "Toyota Tamaraw" on their way to Calumpit, Bulacan. When the vehicle momentarily stopped at the "Malolos crossing," Manuzon, a distant relative and former worker of Manio, approached the vehicle and asked Manio if he (Manuzon) and his three companions, namely, Bayan, Ramos and Disipulo, could be allowed to hitchhike. Manio acceded. The "hitchhikers" took the backseat of the vehicle. At the Alido Heights along MacArthur Highway, however, Disipulo abruptly pointed a gun at Manio while Bayan held a bladed weapon against Saturnina Bioser. Ramos showed that he was armed with a hand grenade. Disipulo directed Manio to proceed to Heritage Subdivision.

Arriving at the place, Manuzon and Bayan demanded from Manio the payroll cash intended for his shop workers. Manio instructed posthaste Saturnina Boiser to hand over the money, amounting to P18,000.00, to the accused. Disipulo asked Manuzon, "Totodasin ko na ba?" Manuzon replied, "Todasin mo na." Bayan, after getting Manio's wallet, ring, wristwatch and other personal belongings, forthwith stabbed Manio. Saturnina Bioser attempted to grab the weapon from Bayan but Ramos held her. Struggling to get free, she fell to the ground. Instantly, Ramos delivered three stab blows on her. The four malefactors took the vehicle and sped away. Young Malinao was on board the vehicle.

After some time, the group returned to the scene but they failed to find Manio and Saturnina Boiser. The two managed to hide from the group.

Manio and Saturnina Boiser were brought by good samaritans to the Calumpit District Hospital and, from there, to the Makati Medical Center.

The culprits tied and gagged Malinao and Left him on board the vehicle which the malefactors abandoned at some deserted place. Malinao somehow succeeded in freeing himself and, later, reaching for help. He was taken to the police station, and later to the house of his Lola Conching.

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