G.R. No. 206374. August 30, 2017

THIRD DIVISION: [G.R. No. 206374, August 30, 2017] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, V. RONALDO FERRER Y CRUZ, ACCUSED-APPELLANT.

The Regional Trial Court, Branch 39, in Lingayen City, Pangasinan pronounced accused Ronaldo Ferrer Cruz guilty of murder as charged in Criminal Case No. L-8564 for the fatal shooting of the late Tetus M. Marzan in the evening of December 1, 2008 through the decision rendered on March 29, 2011.[1] The conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeals on September 20, 2012.[2] He then appealed to the Court.

During the pendency of the appeal, the Court received from P./Supt. II Richard W. Schwarzkopf, Jr., the Superintendent of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, a certified true copy of the death certificate bearing Registry No. 2014 issued by the Local Civil Registrar of Muntinlupa City certifying that accused Ferrer had died due to cardio-respiratory arrest on May 27, 2014 in the New Bilibid Prison Hospital.[3]

Considering the death of the accused prior to the finality of the conviction, his criminal liability is deemed totally extinguished based on Article 89 of the Revised Penal Code, which pertinently provides:
Article 89. How criminal liability is totally extinguished. - Criminal liability is totally extinguished:

1. By the death of the convict, as to the personal penalties; and as to pecuniary penalties, liability therefor is extinguished only when the death of the offender occurs before final judgment.

xxxx
The total extinguishment of the criminal liability of the accused carried with it the extinguishment of his pecuniary liabilities directly arising from the offense committed.[4]

UPON THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the Court DISMISSES Criminal Case No. L-8564 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 39, in Lingayen City, Pangasinan filed against RONALDO FERRER y CRUZ; DECLARES his pecuniary liabilities arising from the offense extinguished; and CONSIDERS this appeal CLOSED and TERMINATED, without costs of suit.

SO ORDERED.

[1] CA Rollo, pp. 1 1-20. Penned by Presiding Judge Robert P. Fangayen.

[2] Rollo, pp. 2-14; penned by Associate Justice Nina G. Antonio-Valenzuela, with Associate Justice Isaias P. Dicdican and Associate Justice Michael P. Elbinias concurring.

[3] Id. at 41.

[4] People v. Bunay, G.R. No. 171268, September 14, 2010, 630 SCRA 445, 448; People v. Bayotas, G.R. No. 102007, September 2, 1994, 236 SCRA 239, 256.

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