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Presumption of sanity.

Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) - January 10, 2018 - 12:00am One of the circumstances exempting a person from responsibility for a crime committed is imbecility or insanity except when it was committed during a lucid interval.

But the law presumes sanity so the person pleading insanity has the burden of proving it. This case of Cardo explains what constitutes insanity or imbecility and answers the question of whether a person with mere abnormality of mental faculties can be exempted from criminal responsibility.

Cardo was legally married to Lisa. The couple were residing in a nearby suburban town where Lisa was engaged in the buy and sell business of ready to wear dresses with her mother.

But after five years of marriage, they separated and Lisa stayed with her sister Marlie at the adjacent town.A few months after their separation, Cardo went to Marlie's house to convince Lisa to live with him again.

He entered Marlie's house without permission and started looking for Lisa in the sala and dining room even if Marlie told him that Lisa had gone out with her mother. Cardo even went to the second floor of the house upon being informed by a niece of Lisa that Lisa was upstairs.

Just then Lisa was about to descend but when she saw Cardo she turned around to avoid him. Cardo however quickly followed and the couple started quarrelling.

Then Lisa hurried down the stairs and ran to the comfort room to hide but Cardo followed him inside. Meanwhile, Marlie heard Lisa moaning and calling for her.

When Marlie pushed the door, she saw Cardo stabbing Lisa with a Batangas knife. So Marlie boxed him at the back and pulled him out of the door.

Cardo stepped out and pointed the blood-stained knife at Marlie as Lisa struggled out of the room to prevent Cardo from hitting Marlie. So Cardo turned towards Lisa and stabbed her again as Marlie shouted for help.

Her brother Nilo responded but he was unarmed, so Cardo chased him out of the house and also left the premises. Marlie and Nilo then took Lisa who was bathed in blood and in a state of shock to a hospital in another town where Lisa died of severe hemorrhage in the emergency room.

After almost two years of hiding, Cardo was arrested for crime of Parricide and charged before the Regional Trial (RTC) for willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attacking, assaulting and stabbing Lisa several times with a knife which caused her death.For his defense Cardo pleaded insanity by presenting Dr.

Reyes who conducted psychiatric and psychological examination on him two years after the commission of the crime and found him to be suffering from an "organic mental syndrome" or brain damaged disfunction characterized by instability, poor impulse control, poor judgment and an abnormal electroencephalogram result". His intelligence was however found to be within the average level.

But the RTC still found Cardo guilty as charged and sentenced him to reclusion perpetua. It held that the medical examination and findings of organic mental syndrome was conducted and submitted only two years after and not at the time he killed his wife.

Hence the presumption of sanity still prevails.Cardo appealed his conviction and insisted that the degree of insanity which he suffered at the time he killed his wife was such as to override his reason and judgment, and create in his mind an uncontrollable impulse to commit the crime.

The Supreme Court however said that the law presumes every person to be sane. So, a person accused of a crime who pleads insanity to exempt him from criminal liability has the burden of proving that at the time of the commission of the act, he or she is absolutely deprived of intelligence or freedom of the will.

Mere abnormality of his mental faculties does not exclude culpability.In this case Dr.

Reyes admitted during the trial that the organic mental syndrome suffered by Cardo could be transient or permanent depending on what caused it. He also admitted that at the time Cardo testified, he did not manifest signs and symptoms of such syndrome and that the examinations he made on Cardo two years later did not show that his judgment and mental faculties were totally impaired as to warrant a conclusion that his condition was the same when he committed the crime and when he was examined two years later.

Furthermore it was not positively shown that Cardo was abnormal or that he was partially or completely insane when he killed his wife.Therefore the RTC is correct in finding him guilty of parricide and sentencing him to reclusion perpetua with the corresponding damages (People vs.

Catanyag, G,R, 103974, September 10, 1993) Email:
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Publication:Philippines Star (Manila, Philippines)
Date:Jan 9, 2018
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