People of the Philippines vs. Apolonio Apduhan, Jr., Et Al., G.R. No. L-19491, August 30, 1968, 133 Phil. 786

Facts:
Apolonio Apduhan, Jr., alias Junior, Rodulfo Huiso and Felipe Quimson were charged with the crime of Robbery With Homicide.

The accused pleaded guilty having in mind that such act would constitute as a mitigating circumstance so that the penalty of death be not imposed.

However, the Court of First Instance of Bohol (Judge Hipolito Alo presiding) convicting Apolonio Apduhan, Jr. of robbery with homicide and sentencing him to death and “to indemnify the heirs of the deceased Geronimo Miano in the amount of P6,000.00, to indemnify the heirs of the other deceased Norberto Aton in the same amount of P6,000.00 x x x”

The case was subject for automatic review. Atty. Alberto M. Meer, the accused’s counsel de oficio in the present review, contended that the use of unlicensed firearm, if ever appreciated in the case at bar, must be considered a generic aggravating factor which “may be off-set by the existence of mitigating circumstances so that the penalty to be imposed should be the penalty of reclusión perpetua.”

Issue:
Whether or not the use of an unlicensed firearm be considered as a generic aggravating circumstance.

Held:
No. The passage of Republic Act 373 did not only jettison the first two subdivisions of art. 294 from the periphery of art. 295 but also removed the said subdivisions (which pertain, inter alia, to the offense of robbery with homicide) from the effective range of art. 296.

Notwithstanding that the special aggravating circumstance of use of unlicensed firearm cannot be appreciated in the instant case, in the final analysis, to observe that the imposition of the death penalty on the accused Apduhan would appear to be a logical legal consequence, because as against the attendant mitigating circumstances the aggravating circumstances numerically and qualitatively preponderate.

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