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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Case Digest- Criminal Law-Habitual Delinquent

G.R. No. 45141           September 15, 1936
BIENVENIDO VENUS, defendant-appellant.
Jose F. Oreta for appellant.,Office of the Solicitor General Hilado for appellee.

FACTS: Prosecuting atty. of the CFi in Manila filed a case of robbery against defendant which such crime occurred in an inhabited house. It was alleged that defendant entered the house then occupied by Zoila de Talaban by breaking the door of said house which was secured by a padlock.  Once inside took and carried away, with the intent of gain and without the consent of the owner, personal properties belonging to Zoila de Talaban of the total value of one hundred and eighty-eight and fifty centavos. It was also alleged that the said accused is a habitual delinquent, having previously been convicted by final judgment rendered by a competent court, once for the crime of attempted robbery in an inhabited house and once for theft, the date of his last conviction being November 14, 1934."

The accused pleaded guilty to the information and trial court rendered judgment imposing upon him an indeterminate prison sentence ranging from four months and one day of arresto mayor to three years, three months and twenty-one days of prision correccional, with the accessory penalties provided by law, to indemnify the complaint Zoila de Talaban in the amount of P97.50, which represents the value of the personal properties not recovered from the accused, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs, The articles recovered from the accused were ordered returned to the complainant. From this decision, the defendant has appealed to this court. The trial court, in imposing the prison sentence upon the defendant-appellant, took into account the aggravating circumstance of recidivism instead of what was alleged in the information. On the contrary, the Solicitor-General, however, recommends that the defendant-appellant be also adjudged a habitual delinquent.

ISSUE: Whether or not the contention of the Solicitor General is correct?

HELD: No.  The Supreme Court Decided, the defendant and appellant in the case at bar can not be considered a habitual delinquent but only a recidivist. As the plea of guilty offsets the aggravating circumstance of recidivism, the penalty provided for in article 299 of the Revised Penal Code for the crime of robbery in an inhabited house by means of unlawful entry where the criminal is not armed and the value of the property stolen does not exceed 250 pesos, should be imposed in the medium degree in accordance with the provisions of article 64 of the Revised Penal Code. Applying the provisions of the Indeterminate Sentence Law (People vs. Co Pao [1934], 58 Phil., 545; People vs. Gayrama [1934], 60 Phil., 796), the principal penalty imposed by the court a quo was  modified and instead the penalty of six months and one day to two years, eleven months and eleven days of prision correccional, was imposed upon the defendant-appellant, Bienvenido Venus. With this only modification, the judgment of the lower court is affirmed, with costs against the appellant in both instances. 


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