People vs. Barde
G.R. No.183094, September 22, 2010
Around 12:00 midnight on April 15, 1999, Elmer, who was only more or less three (3) meters away from the appellant, saw the latter get a rounded object from his belt bag, which he believed to be a hand grenade as he has previously seen one from military men when he was in Manila. Later, appellant pulled something from that rounded object, rolled it to the ground towards the center of the dancing place where the people were dancing, and left immediately. Five seconds thereafter, the rounded object exploded. At that moment, appellant was already one-half meter away from the gate of the dancing place. The lights went off, people scampered away, and many died and were seriously injured as a result of the said explosion. Hence, this appeal on the decision of the Court of Appeals which affirmed with modifications, the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) finding herein appellant Reynaldo Barde guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the complex crime of multiple murder with multiple frustrated murder.
Whether or not the trial court properly imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua for the complex crime of murder committed by the appellant, per Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code
Yes. Article 48 of the RPC provides that “When a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies, or when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other, the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum period.” A complex crime is committed when a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies. Appellant’s single act of detonating an explosive device may quantitatively constitute a cluster of several separate and distinct offenses, yet these component criminal offenses should be considered only as a single crime in law on which a single penalty is imposed because the offender was impelled by a single criminal impulse which shows his lesser degree of perversity. Thus, applying the aforesaid provision of law, the maximum penalty for the most serious crime, which is murder, is death. Pursuant, however, to Republic Act No. 9346 which prohibits the imposition of the death penalty, the appellate court properly reduced the penalty of death, which it previously imposed upon the appellant, to reclusion perpetua.