People v. Belbes (G.R. No. 124670)

CASE DIGEST: [G.R. No. 124670, June 21, 2000. 389 Phil. 500] THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. PATROLMAN DOMINGO BELBES, ACCUSED-APPELLANT.

FACTS: In the evening of February 16, 1990, Pat. Domingo Belbes and Pat. Jose Pabon were assigned to maintain peace and order at the Junior and Senior Prom of Pili Barangay High School. Around 9:00 p.m. while Teacher-In-Charge Mila Ulanca, Pat. Pabon and Belbes were watching the dance, two students approached Mrs. Ulanca and said "Ma'am, it seems that there is somebody making trouble."

Pat. Belbes and Pat. Pabon, armed with an Armalite rifle and a .38 caliber revolver, respectively, responded forthwith. Moments after the two police officers left, bursts of gunfire filled the air. Fernando Bataller, a graduating student was hit on different parts of his body and died. The accused Pat. Belbes stated that they acted in self-defense. The trial court convicted Pat. Belbes of murder and sentenced him to reclusion perpetua.

HELD: The offense is definitely not reckless imprudence resulting in homicide because the shooting was intentional. In this case, appellant intended to fire AT the victim, and in fact hit ONLY the victim.

Illustrations of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide are: (1) exhibiting a loaded revolver to a friend, who was killed by the accidental discharge brought about by negligent handling; or (2) discharging a firearm from the window of one's house and killing a neighbor who just at the moment leaned over the balcony front; or (3) where the defendant, to stop a fist fight, fired his .45 caliber pistol twice in the air, and, as the bout continued, he fired another shot at the ground, but the bullet ricocheted and hit a bystander who died soon thereafter.

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