The aggravating circumstances of nighttime

In the case of People vs. Santos (91 Phil 320), it was held that if the aggravating circumstances of nighttime, uninhabited place or band concur in the commission of the crime, all will constitute one aggravating circumstance only as a general rule although they can be considered separately if their elements are distinctly perceived and can subsist independently, revealing a greater degree of perversity.

By and of itself, nighttime is not an aggravating circumstance, however, it becomes aggravating only when: [1] It is especially sought by the offender; or [2] it is taken advantage of by him; or [3] it facilitates the commission of the crime by ensuring the offender’s immunity from capture. (People vs. Monsayac, 307 SCRA 560, 1999; People vs. Bermas, 309 SCRA 741, 1999)

In the case of People v. Silva, the trial court correctly appreciated nighttime as aggravating considering that nighttime facilitated the abduction of the Ceriales brothers, the killing of Manuel Ceriales and the attempt to kill Edmundo Ceriales. Evidence shows that accused-appellants took advantage of the darkness to successfully consummate their plans. The fact that they brought with them a flashlight clearly shows that they intended to commit the crime in darkness. (People vs. Silva. G.R. No. 140871. 8 August 2002)

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