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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
July-1997 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 96649-50 July 1, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LYNDON V. MACOY

  • G.R. No. 109660 July 1, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO NELL

  • G.R. No. 124914 July 2, 1997 - JESUS UGADDAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123074 July 4, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO M. FERNANDEZ

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-94-1017 July 7, 1997 - OSCAR B. LAMBINO v. AMADO A. DE VERA

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1245 July 7, 1997 - BENIGNO G. GAVIOLA v. NOEL NAVARETTE

  • G.R. No. 105760 July 7, 1997 - PNB v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107193 July 7, 1997 - EUGENIO TENEBRO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112006 July 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERTO S. DE VERA

  • G.R. No. 114275 July 7, 1997 - IÑIGO F. CARLET v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116962 July 7, 1997 - MARIA SOCORRO CACA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 118940-41 & 119407 July 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO MEJIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119872 July 7, 1997 - REMEDIOS NAVOA RAMOS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122206 July 7, 1997 - RAFAEL ARCEGA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 105284 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. IGNACIO ZUMIL

  • G.R. No. 106099 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AGUSTIN SOTTO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109814 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO MAALAT

  • G.R. No. 112797 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NIDA ALEGRO

  • G.R. No. 114265 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO MAGALLANES

  • G.R. No. 115307 July 8, 1997 - MANUEL LAO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115703 July 8, 1997 - EPIFANIO L. CASOLITA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117501 July 8, 1997 - SOLID HOMES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122308 July 8, 1997 - PURITA S. MAPA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. SC-96-1 July 10, 1997 - DAMASO S. FLORES v. BERNARDO P. ABESAMIS

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1236 July 11, 1997 - MADONNA MACALUA v. DOMINGO TIU, JR.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1249 July 11, 1997 - PACITA SY TORRES v. FROILAN S. CABLING

  • G.R. No. 104865 July 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICTORIANO PONTILAR, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 113511-12 July 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO SINOC

  • G.R. No. 115033 July 11, 1997 - PONCIANO T. MATANGUIHAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123204 July 11, 1997 - NATIONWIDE SECURITY AND ALLIED SERVICES, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-95-1158 July 14, 1997 - EUFEMIA BERCASIO v. HERBERTO BENITO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106153 July 14, 1997 - FLORENCIO G. BERNARDO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108838 July 14, 1997 - PAGCOR v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 116528-31 July 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIETO ADORA

  • G.R. No. 108492 July 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NOEL BANIEL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118078 July 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. OSCAR VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 123379 July 15, 1997 - BAROTAC SUGAR MILLS, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 115439-41 July 16, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 120437-41 July 16, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARMANDO ALVARIO

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-97-1382 July 17, 1997 - REXEL M. PACURIBOT v. RODRIGO F. LIM, JR.

  • G.R. No. 105002 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIARANGAN DANSAL

  • G.R. No. 108634 July 17, 1997 - ANTONIO P. TAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111165 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGELIO MERCADO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113257 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHNNY LASCOTA

  • G.R. No. 114742 July 17, 1997 - CARLITOS E. SILVA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118860 July 17, 1997 - ROLINDA B. PONO v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120262 July 17, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125195 July 17, 1997 - SAMAHAN NG MGA MANGGAGAWA SA BANDOLINO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1362 July 18, 1997 - DSWD, ET AL. v. ANTONIO M. BELEN, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-95-1283 July 21, 1997 - DAVID C. NAVAL, ET AL. v. JOSE R. PANDAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108488 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODENCIO NARCA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111002 July 21, 1997 - PACIFIC MARITIME SERVICES, INC., ET AL. v. NICANOR RANAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117402 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLLIE L. ALVARADO

  • G.R. No. 119184 July 21, 1997 - HEIRS OF FELICIDAD CANQUE v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121768 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINGO CASTILLO, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 122250 & 122258 July 21, 1997 - EDGARDO C. NOLASCO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124347 July 21, 1997 - CMS STOCK BROKERAGE, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125510 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENATO LISING

  • G.R. No. 111933 July 23, 1997 - PLDT v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112429-30 July 23, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO P. CAYETANO

  • G.R. Nos. 118736-37 July 23, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TANG WAI LAN

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1205 July 24, 1997 - OSCAR P. DE LOS REYES v. ESTEBAN H. ERISPE, JR.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-97-1383 July 24, 1997 - JOSE LAGATIC v. JOSE PEÑAS, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 104663 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DAVID SALVATIERRA

  • G.R. No. 105004 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIONISIO MAROLLANO

  • G.R. No. 107723 July 24, 1997 - EMS MANPOWER & PLACEMENT SERVICES v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111211 July 24, 1997 - ABS-CBN EMPLOYEES UNION, ET AL., v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113235 July 24, 1997 - VICTORINA MEDINA, ET AL. v. CITY SHERIFF, MANILA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 113366-68 July 24, 1997 - GREGORIO ISABELO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116635 July 24, 1997 - CONCHITA NOOL, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116736 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENJAMIN ORTEGA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118458 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICKY DELA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 120276 July 24, 1997 - SINGA SHIP MANAGEMENT PHILS., INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121075 July 24, 1997 - DELTA MOTORS CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121867 July 24, 1997 - SMITH KLINE & FRENCH LAB., LTD. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127262 July 24, 1997 - HUBERT WEBB, ET AL. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter Nos. 95-6-55-MTC & P-96-1173 July 28, 1997 - REPORT ON AUDIT IN THE MTC OF PEÑARANDA, NUEVA ECIJA

  • G.R. No. 102858 July 28, 1997 - DIRECTOR OF LANDS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 103209 July 28, 1997 - APOLONIO BONDOC, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110823 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROCHEL TRAVERO

  • G.R. No. 112323 July 28, 1997 - HELPMATE, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113344 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ATANACIO LUTO

  • G.R. No. 116668 July 28, 1997 - ERLINDA A. AGAPAY v. CARLINA V. PALANG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116726 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEONARDO P. DE LA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 118822 July 28, 1997 - G.O.A.L., INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119000 July 28, 1997 - ROSA UY v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119649 July 28, 1997 - RICKY GALICIA, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119868 July 28, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120072 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORENTINO I. MESA

  • G.R. No. 123361 July 28, 1997 - TEOFILO CACHO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126556 July 28, 1997 - NELSON C. DAVID v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117742 July 29, 1997 - GEORGE M. TABERRAH v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • SBC Case No. 519 July 31, 1997 - PATRICIA FIGUEROA v. SIMEON BARRANCO, JR.

  • G.R. No. 97369 July 31, 1997 - P.I. MANPOWER PLACEMENTS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99030 July 31, 1997 - PLDT v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106582 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUPERTO BALDERAS

  • G.R. No. 107802 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JASON NAREDO

  • G.R. No. 108399 July 31, 1997 - RAFAEL M. ALUNAN III, ET AL. v. ROBERT MIRASOL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108619 July 31, 1997 - EPIFANIO LALICAN v. FILOMENO A. VERGARA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113689 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE SANGIL, SR.

  • G.R. No. 113958 July 31, 1997 - BANANA GROWERS COLLECTIVE, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116060 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CLEMENTE DE LA PEÑA

  • G.R. No. 116292 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JIMMY PEÑERO

  • G.R. No. 119068 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANTE CASTRO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121027 July 31, 1997 - CORAZON DEZOLLER TISON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121157 July 31, 1997 - HEIRS OF SEGUNDA MANINGDING, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123561 July 31, 1997 - DELIA R. NERVES v. CSC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124678 July 31, 1997 - DELIA BANGALISAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 109814   July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO MAALAT

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    SECOND DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 109814. July 8, 1997.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. FERNANDO MAALAT y FAJARDO, Accused-Appellant.

    The Solicitor General for Plaintiff-Appellee.

    Public Attorney’s Office for Accused-Appellant.

    SYNOPSIS


    Fernando Maalat was accused of the crime of murder. According to witnesses, Maalat entered the house of one Roberto Cruz and without a word of warning and in the presence of Cruz’s son stabbed him causing his death later that day. The accused was surrendered by his uncle-in-law to the police. The accused claimed that he acted in self-defense. The Regional Trial Court of Manila disregarded his defense and found him guilty as charged and was sentenced to suffer a penalty of reclusion perpetua. Hence, this appeal to the Supreme Court.

    The Supreme Court ruled out self-defense there being no findings of unlawful aggression on the part of the victim. The mitigating circumstance of incomplete self-defense, likewise, was denied due to the absence of unlawful aggression. Voluntary surrender, however, was appreciated in favor of the accused. Murder was proved because treachery was established. The decision of the lower court was affirmed with modification as to penalty.


    SYLLABUS


    1. CRIMINAL LAW; JUSTIFYING CIRCUMSTANCES; SELF-DEFENSE; BURDEN OF PROOF. — Self-defense is a time-worn excuse resorted to by assailants in appealed criminal cases. "However, the rule consistently adhered to in this jurisdiction is that it is incumbent upon the accused to prove the justifying circumstance of self-defense to the satisfaction of the court in order to be relieved of any criminal liability. In such instance, the accused must proffer strong, clear and convincing evidence and depend not on the infirmity of the prosecution, for even if the latter was weak, the plea of self-defense cannot prosper especially where the accused himself has admitted the killing."cralaw virtua1aw library

    2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ELEMENTS. — To successfully posit the theory of self-defense, the trial court must be satisfied that the three elements necessary to justify the acts complained of attended their commission. First, there must be unlawful aggression on the part of the victim. Second, the means employed to prevent or repel such aggression must be reasonably necessary. Finally, the person defending himself must not have provoked the victim into committing the act of aggression.

    3. ID.; ID.; ID.; UNLAWFUL AGGRESSION; NOT PRESENT IN CASE AT BAR. — The first requisite for self-defense is indispensable. Unless it is proven that there has been unlawful aggression on the part of the person injured or killed by the assailant, there can be no self-defense. If there is no unlawful aggression, there is nothing to prevent or repel. "In addition, for unlawful aggression to be appreciated, there must be an actual, sudden unexpected attack or imminent danger thereof, and not merely a threatening or intimidating attitude and the accused must present proof of positively strong act of real aggression." And for incomplete self-defense to be invoked, there must necessarily be unlawful aggression on the part of the victim. There was no unlawful aggression in the case at bar. Even assuming, arguendo, that there was an altercation first before the stabbing incident, the moment the victim was disarmed, the imminent danger to the life of the accused ceased. Hence, when accused stabbed the victim, he became the unlawful aggressor.

    4. ID.; MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES; VOLUNTARY SURRENDER, PRESENT HERE. — The mitigating circumstances of voluntary surrender, to be appreciated, must be spontaneous that it shows the intent of the accused to surrender unconditionally to the authorities, either because he acknowledges his guilt or because he wishes to save them the trouble and expense of finding and capturing him. In the case at bar, the accused, accompanied by his uncle, surrendered to the police station. He voluntarily, spontaneously and unconditionally placed himself at the disposal of the authorities. This act of repentance and respect for the law indicates a moral disposition favorable to his reform. The mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender is therefore appreciated in his favor.

    5. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; WITNESSES; CREDIBILITY; FINDINGS OF TRIAL COURT, RESPECTED. — The trial judge observed that the testimonies of the witnesses who identified the accused were straightforward and could not have been prompted by any ulterior motive. This Court will not alter the findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses as said findings are invariably given much weight and are entitled to respect from the appellate courts, absent any strong and cogent reason to the contrary, since the trial court is in a better position to decide the issue of credibility.

    6. CRIMINAL LAW; MURDER; QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCES; TREACHERY; PRESENT IN CASE AT BAR. — The accused was killed while asleep and therefore, could not have put up any kind of defense. This constitutes treachery, which is committed when two conditions concur, namely, that the means, methods, and forms of execution employed gave the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate, and that such means, methods, and forms of execution were deliberately and consciously adopted by the accused without danger to his person. These two requisites were evidently present in the instant case.

    7. ID.; ID.; PROPER PENALTY HERE. — The applicable penalty for murder prior to the enactment of Republic Act No. 7659 which imposed the death penalty on certain heinous crimes is reclusion temporal maximum to death. There being no aggravating circumstance but with one mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender, the penalty imposable on the accused in accordance with Art. 64(2) of the Revised Penal Code should be the minimum period, that is, reclusion temporal in its maximum period. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, he is entitled to a minimum penalty of prision mayor maximum to reclusion temporal medium, being the range of the penalty next lower than that prescribed by Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code.


    D E C I S I O N


    ROMERO, J.:


    "Vengeance is sweet," some aver. But when it results in death, perpetrated upon an unsuspecting person, in his own house, in full view of his son and wife, such sweetness must perforce turn bitter. Once accused who deserves conviction reflects on his fate in his prison cell, he may realize that the more prudent philosophy is that advocated in the Holy Writ, thus: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)

    At about 1 to 2 o’clock in the afternoon of the fateful day of March 23, 1986, the accused, Fernando Maalat alias "Boy Tachi," suddenly entered the house of Roberto Cruz and, without a word of warning, stabbed him while sleeping on the floor of the living room beside the television set. This was witnessed by Roberto’s son Berniel, who was watching a television show in the same room. The boy shouted "Nanay" thrice, after which Roberto’s wife Imelda came rushing in from the kitchen which was only about two steps away. She saw her husband push the accused when he was about to be stabbed again and run towards the door. The accused, still holding on to the "balisong" he initially used in stabbing the victim gave chase. Roberto ran to the house of his mother-in-law which was about three houses away and was able to lock the door behind him. While the accused was not able to enter and later left the house, the victim, nevertheless, died there.

    On April 29, 1986, the accused was surrendered by his uncle-in-law to police investigator Amado Regalado. 1

    Dr. Marcial Cenido, who performed an autopsy on the body of Roberto Cruz on March 23, 1986, testified that the cause of death was a penetrating perforating stab wound on the left antero lateral thorax. The instrument used was a pointed bladed weapon. 2

    The accused claims that he acted in self-defense. His version of the incident is as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Accused was informed by one Edmund Carayat, whose brother was stabbed by Roberto Cruz, that he was also being hunted by the latter. 3 Accused then went to Roberto’s house to clarify the said information. He asked Roberto what he had done and why he was being hunted. Roberto’s answer was that accused might retaliate against him due to the stabbing of Edmund Carayat’s brother, Edwin. Accused then told Roberto that he could not retaliate against him because they are "compadres." Whereupon, Roberto then branded accused a "traitor" and proceeded to strangle him with his left hand while pulling a knife with the right. 4 The accused parried the arm that was strangling him with his left arm and kicked the right hand of the victim holding the knife with his left leg. Roberto dropped the knife which the accused immediately picked up to stab him with. Poised to stab Roberto again, the accused, nonetheless desisted when he saw the victim’s son who was a witness to the whole incident. 5 The accused then gave chase to the victim who ran out of the house. He again decided not to stab the victim a second time because the latter’s wife might get hurt as she came out of the house to intervene. 6 The accused went into hiding for a month in Pampanga and surrendered to the uncle of his wife when he was told by his wife that the police were gunning for him and he might be killed.

    For the death of Roberto Cruz, Fernando Maalat was charged with murder before the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch VII. On February 24, 1993, Judge Ed Vincent Albano rendered judgment, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "WHEREFORE, the accused Fernando Maalat is hereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principal of the crime of Murder, defined by Article 248 of the Penal Code qualified by treachery and dwelling and there being no mitigating circumstances, the accused is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua; to pay the heirs of the deceased the sum of P50,000.00 by way of compensatory damages pursuant to Article 2206 of the Civil Code; and to pay the costs of suit.

    SO ORDERED." 7

    Hence this appeal.

    In his Brief, Accused-appellant challenges the above decision, alleging that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    I THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO CONSIDER THAT ACCUSED-APPELLANT ACTED IN SELF-DEFENSE; AND

    II ASSUMING ARGUENDO BUT WITHOUT ADMITTING THAT THE ACT OF THE ACCUSED DOES NOT JUSTIFY ACQUITTAL, STILL THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED FOR MURDER INSTEAD OF HOMICIDE AND IN NOT CONSIDERING THE MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE OF INCOMPLETE SELF-DEFENSE AND VOLUNTARY SURRENDER IN FAVOR OF THE ACCUSED.

    The appeal is devoid of merit.

    This Court in People v. Tuson 8 has stated that self-defense is a time-worn excuse resorted to by assailants in appealed criminal cases. "However, the rule consistently adhered to in this jurisdiction is that it is incumbent upon the accused to prove the justifying circumstance of self-defense to the satisfaction of the court in order to be relieved of any criminal liability. In such instance, the accused must proffer strong, clear and convincing evidence and depend not on the infirmity of the prosecution, for even if the latter was weak, the plea of self-defense cannot prosper especially where the accused himself has admitted the killing." 9

    To successfully posit the theory of self-defense, the trial court must be satisfied that the three elements necessary to justify the acts complained of attended their commission. First, there must be unlawful aggression on the part of the victim. Second, the means employed to prevent or repel such aggression must be reasonably necessary. Finally, the person defending himself must not have provoked the victim into committing the act of aggression. 10

    The first requisite is indispensable. Unless it is proven that there has been unlawful aggression on the part of the person injured or killed by the assailant, there can be no self-defense. If there is no unlawful aggression, there is nothing to prevent or repel. 11 "In addition, for unlawful aggression to be appreciated, there must be an actual, sudden, unexpected attack or imminent danger thereof, and not merely a threatening or intimidating attitude 12 and the accused must present proof of positively strong act of real aggression." 13

    The trial court correctly pointed out that there was no unlawful aggression in this case. The accused would want this Court to believe that he stabbed the victim in self-defense because he was about to be stabbed himself. There is, however, no testimony to that effect. He only stated that he saw the right hand of the victim holding a "balisong." The accused also testified that he was about to be strangled. This is not sufficient provocation to merit killing another person. Such act is not deemed sufficiently threatening to subject him to imminent danger which must be repelled by an equal or reasonable force. What further militates against the theory of self-defense is the fact that the accused wanted to stab the victim twice after the first attack. Only his supposed concern for the victim’s son and wife stopped him from doing so. If he truly acted in self-defense then he should have no desire left to inflict mortal injury after the aggression or the imminent danger to his person had ceased.chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary

    The version of the defense that the victim suddenly strangled the accused with one hand while holding a "balisong" with the other is not credible. The accused supposedly parried the hand strangling him with his left hand and kicked the hand holding the "balisong" with his left leg. This seems to be contrary to human experience as the rule of survival would impel a person being attacked to parry the hand holding the more dangerous weapon first, especially when the aggressor and the victim are of similar build. It is also improbable for a person to strangle another person similarly built with only one hand.

    The second assignment of error is likewise bereft of merit.

    For incomplete self-defense to be invoked, there must necessarily be unlawful aggression on the part of the victim. 14 As earlier discussed, there was no unlawful aggression in the case at bar. Even assuming, arguendo, that the version of the accused is true, that there was an altercation first before the stabbing incident, the moment the victim was disarmed, the imminent danger to the life of the accused ceased. Hence, when accused stabbed the victim, he became the unlawful aggressor.

    Lastly, the accused claims the benefit of the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender. For said circumstance to be appreciated, it must be spontaneous, in such a manner that it shows the intent of the accused to surrender unconditionally to the authorities, either because he acknowledges his guilt or because he wishes to save them the trouble and expense of finding and capturing him. 15 In the case at bar, we note that accused, accompanied by his uncle, surrendered to the police station. He voluntarily, spontaneously and unconditionally placed himself at the disposal of the authorities. 16 "This act of repentance and respect for the law indicates a moral disposition favorable to his reform." 17 The mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender is therefore appreciated in his favor.

    The trial court acted properly in giving more credence to the version of the prosecution that the accused suddenly entered the house of the deceased and stabbed the victim who was sleeping on the floor. Presumably, he wanted to avenge the death of his "kinakapatid" who was supposed to have died at the hands of the victim. The accused took advantage of the fact that Roberto was asleep and, therefore, could not fight back or defend himself. In this connection, the trial judge observed that the testimonies of the son and wife who identified the accused were straightforward and could not have been prompted by any ulterior motive. 18 This Court will not alter the findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses as said findings are invariably given much weight and are entitled to respect from the appellate courts, absent any strong and cogent reason to the contrary, since the trial court is in a better position to decide the issue of credibility.

    This Court is further inclined to believe the testimony of Roberto’s son Berniel that the accused killed his father while the latter was asleep and, therefore, could not have put up any kind of defense. This constitutes treachery, which is committed when two conditions concur, namely, that the means, methods, and forms of execution employed gave the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate, and that such means, methods, and forms of execution were deliberately and consciously adopted by the accused without danger to his person. 19 These two requisites were evidently present in the instant case.

    The applicable penalty for murder prior to the enactment of Republic Act No. 7659 which imposed the death penalty on certain heinous crimes is reclusion temporal maximum to death. There being no aggravating circumstance but with one mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender, the penalty imposable on the accused in accordance with Art. 64(2) of the Revised Penal Code should be the minimum period, that is, reclusion temporal in its maximum period. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, he is entitled to a minimum penalty of prision mayor maximum to reclusion temporal medium, being the range of the penalty next lower than that prescribed by Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. 20

    WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court is AFFIRMED subject to the following MODIFICATIONS: Accused Fernando Maalat, is hereby sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision mayor as minimum of twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal as maximum and to pay death indemnity of P50,000.00 to the victim’s heirs in lieu of compensatory damages. Costs against the accused.

    SO ORDERED.

    Regalado and Mendoza, JJ., concur.

    Puno and Torres, Jr., JJ., are on leave.

    Endnotes:



    1. TSN, December 6, 1988, p. 2.

    2. TSN, July 15, 1986, pp. 4-10; Exhs. "A" to "D."cralaw virtua1aw library

    3. TSN, February 21, 1990, p. 5.

    4. TSN, February 21, 1990, p. 7.

    5. TSN, February 21, 1990, p. 8.

    6. TSN, February 21, 1990, p. 9.

    7. Rollo, p. 19.

    8. People v. Tuson, G.R. No. 106345-46, September 16, 1996.

    9. People v. Bausing, 199 SCRA 355 (1991).

    10. Article 11 (1), Revised Penal Code.

    11. People v. Bausing, supra., citing People v. Malazzab, 160 SCRA 123 (1988).

    12. People v. Rey, 172 SCRA 149 (1989).

    13. People v. Literado, 209 SCRA 319 (1992).

    14. People v. Delgado. 182 SCRA 342 (1990).

    15. People v. Isleta, G.R. No. 114971, November 19, 1996; People v. Ablao, 183 SCRA 658 (1990); People v. Camahalan, 241 SCRA 558 (1995), citing People v. Devaras, 205 SCRA 676 (1992).

    16. People v. De Gracia and De Gracia, G.R. No. 112984, November 14, 1996, citing People v. Galaver, 223 SCRA 310 (1993).

    17. Francisco, The Revised Penal Code, Book One, Third Ed., 1958, p. 375.

    18. Rollo, p. 16.

    19. People v. Tuson, supra.

    20. People v. Ocana, 229 SCRA 341 (1993).

    G.R. No. 109814   July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO MAALAT


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