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PD 1866 As Amended (Illegal Possession of Firearms)

People vs. Castillo            325 SCRA 613

Facts:

Julian Castillo was charged with murder and illegal possession of firearms in 2 separate informations for having shot Rogelio Abawag using a homemade .38 caliber revolver without serial number, which resulted to the instantaneous death of Abawag. Three live ammunitions without authority and permit to carry them were also found. After trial, trial court convicted him with homicide and illegal possession of firearm aggravated by homicide. Castillo now asserts that his conviction was unwarranted as no proof was adduced by the prosecution that he was not licensed to posses the subject firearm; they relying solely on his admission that he had to permit to posses and carry the same.

Issue:

WON the conviction for illegal possession of firearm is correct.

Held:

No.

Two (2) requisites are necessary to establish illegal possession of firearms: first, the existence of the subject firearm, and second, the fact that the accused who owned or possessed the gun did not have the corresponding license or permit to carry it outside his residence. The onus probandiof establishing these elements as alleged in the Information lies with the prosecution.

The first element — the existence of the firearm — was indubitably established by the prosecution. However, no proof was adduced by the prosecution to establish the second element of the crime. This negative fact constitutes an essential element of the crime as mere possession, by itself, is not an offense. The lack of a license or permit should have been proved either by the testimony or certification of a representative of the PNP Firearms and Explosives Unit that the accused was not a licensee of the subject firearm14 or that the type of firearm involved can be lawfully possessed only by certain military personnel.

Hence, in the case at bar, although the appellant himself admitted thathe had no license for the gun recovered from his possession, his admission will not relieve the prosecution of its duty to establish beyond reasonable doubt the appellant’s lack of license or permit to possess the gun.

 

Note:

If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, such use shall be considered as a special aggravating circumstance.

Thus, Based on the facts of the case, the crime for which the appellant may be charged is homicide, aggravated by illegal possession of firearm,the correct denomination for the crime, and not illegal possession of firearm, aggravated by homicide 

 

 

 

People vs. Ignas                                GR 140514-15

Facts:

June Ignas was convicted with murder aggravated especially by the use of an unlicensed firearm and was sentenced to suffer reclusion perpetua, which later on was upgraded to death by lethal injection, for unlawfully killing Nemosio Lopate, his wife’s paramour. Ignas contends that the special aggravating circumstance of the use of unlicensed firearm was improperly appreciated. He asserts that such must likewise be proved beyond reasonable doubt and that the prosecution failed to adduce the necessary quantum of proof.

Issue:

As the SC found that Ignas is liable only for the crime of homicide, the issue now is WON the special aggravating circumstance of use of unlicensed firearm can be taken against him.

Held:

No.

It is not enough that the special aggravating circumstance of use of unlicensed firearm be alleged in the information, the matter must be proven with the same quantum of proof as the killing itself. Thus, the prosecution must prove: (1) the existence of the subject firearm; and (2) the fact that the accused who owned or possessed it does not have the corresponding license or permit to own or possess the same. The records do not show that the prosecution presented any evidence to prove that appellant is not a duly licensed holder of a caliber .38 firearm. The prosecution failed to offer in evidence a certification from the Philippine National Police Firearms and Explosives Division to show that appellant had no permit or license to own or possess a .38 caliber handgun.  Nor did it present the responsible police officer on the matter of licensing as a prosecution witness.  Absent the proper evidentiary proof, this Court cannot validly declare that the special aggravating circumstance of use of unlicensed firearm was satisfactorily established by the prosecution.  Hence such special circumstance cannot be considered for purposes of imposing the penalty in its maximum period.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Del Rosario vs. People                    GR 142295

Facts:

Vicente Del Rosario was found guilty of illegal possession of firearms as a result of a search conducted in his house. He contends, however, that he had a license for the .45 caliber pistol recovered in his bedroom. He in fact presented the license but the police officer rejected such contending that the license presented was expired.

Issue:

WON Del Rosario can be held liable for illegally possessing the .45 caliber pistol found in his bedroom.

Held:

No.

The essence of the crime penalized under P. D. 1866 is primarily the accused’s lack of license or permit to carry or possess the firearm, ammunition or explosive as possession by itself is not prohibited by law.  Illegal possession of firearm is a crime punished by special law, a malum prohibitum, and no malice or intent to commit a crime need be proved. To support a conviction, however, there must be possession coupled with intent to possess (animus possidendi) the firearm.

The essence of the crime of illegal possession is the possession, whether actual or constructive, of the subject firearm, without which there can be no conviction for illegal possession.  After possession is established by the prosecution, it would only be a matter of course to determine whether the accused has a license to possess the firearm.” “Possession of any firearm becomes unlawful only if the necessary permit or license therefor is not first obtained. The absence of license and legal authority constitutes an essential ingredient of the offense of illegal possession of firearm and every ingredient or essential element of an offense must be shown by the prosecution by proof beyond reasonable doubt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People vs. Mejeca                               GR 146425

Facts:

Proculo Mejeca et al were convicted with the crime of robbery and homicide. Because of the aggravating circumstance of the use of unlicensed firearm, among others, trial court sentenced them to the penalty of death.

Issue:

WON the aggravating circumstance of the use of unlicensed firearm was properly appreciated in sentencing Mejeca et al to a penalty of death.

Held:

No.

The second element to establish the crime of illegal possession of firearm is the fact that the accused who owned or possessed the guns did not have the corresponding license or permit to carry it outside his residence. Thus, it bears stressing that the essence of the crime penalized under P.D. No. 1866, as amended, is primarily the accused’s lack of license or permit to carry or possess the firearm, as possession by itself is not prohibited by law. As such, it is the duty of the prosecution not only to allege it but also to prove it beyond reasonable doubt. In this regard, either the testimony of a representative of or a certification from the Philippine National Police Firearms and Explosives Office attesting that a person is not a licensee of any firearm would suffice to prove beyond reasonable doubt the second element. There, likewise, has been no such proof to show the existence of such element herein.

Thus, penalty was reduced to reclusion perpetua.

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R.A. No. 8294 took effect on July 6, 1997, fifteen days after its publication on June 21, 1997.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belga vs. Buban                  GR A.M. No. RTJ-99-1512

Facts:

Noel Bodota de Rama was driving at a fast speed which caused policemen to chase him. One of the policeman got his gun and was found out that he had no license to carry such. De Rama presented, however, a Mission Order. Judge Buban acquitted de Rama on the basis of the Mission Order.

Issue:

WON the Mission Order presented by de Rama can be considered as the license contemplated under RA 7610.

Held:

No.

It is clear from P.D. 1866 that a license is necessary in order to possess a firearm. As held in the case of Pastrano vs. Court of Appeals, a mission order cannot take the place of a license. Verily, respondent judge committed an erroneous conclusion in acquitting the accused in the criminal case. 

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