Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence

Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1929 > November 1929 Decisions > G.R. No. 31479 November 29, 1929 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDUARDO TOLENTINO

054 Phil 77:



[G.R. No. 31479. November 29, 1929.]


Francisco A. Lava and Antonio M. Bautista, for Appellant.

Attorney-General Jaranilla, for Appellee.


1. WHEN PLEA OF SELF-DEFENSE WILL NOT BE SUSTAINED. — A plea of self-defense will not be sustained where the evidence for the defendant, who was the only eye-witness, is in direct conflict with the actual, physical facts.


The defendant was charged in the Court of First Instance of Laguna with the crime of murder, alleged to have been committed as

"That on or about November 1, 1928, in the municipality of Los Baños, Province of Laguna, Philippine Islands, and within the jurisdiction of this court, the accuse above-named, then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with treachery and evident premeditation and with the deliberate intent to kill, attacked and assaulted Espiridion Candelaria with a bolo with which he was armed, inflicting upon the right occipital region of the latter a moral wound which caused the death of said Espiridion Candelaria.

"Contrary to law."cralaw virtua1aw library

He plead not guilty, was tried, convicted and sentenced to fourteen years, eight months and one day of reclusion temporal, with the accessory penalties, to indemnify the heirs of the deceased in the sum of P1,000, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs, and on appeal assigns the following

"The court erred in not finding that the accused acted in self- defense and hence also in not acquitting the accused on the plea of self-defense."



The record is conclusive that Espiridion Candelaria died from the wound inflicted on him by the defendant who admits that he killed the deceased, but claims that he acted in self-defense. The defendant is the only eye-witness to the commission of the crime. Son after it was committed, the deceased was found lying with his back on the floor in his room with his body and, in particular, his head bathed with blood. Dr. Sixto A. Francisco, who made the personal examination of the deceased, testified that the body "showed one big, clean cut wound in the head."cralaw virtua1aw library

"The direction of the wound is horizontal; its size is six and half (6 1/2) inches long; three-fourth (3/4)inch wide, and one and a half (1/2) inches deep. It is on the right side, just about half an inch above the right ear, extending from the temporal region to the dorsal region of the neck."cralaw virtua1aw library


"‘Due to the extensive hemorrhage from this would in the head.’"

The doctor also testified that the would on the back of the head must have been inflicted with a sharp instrument by some person standing behind the victim. But upon cross-examination, stated that the wound could have been inflicted by a person standing in front of Candelaria if the deceased "stopped about 45 degrees."cralaw virtua1aw library

The defendant in his own behalf

"That on the morning of November 1, 1928, he was studying at the same table with Espiridion Candelaria; that the latter told his to stop studying because he (the accused) ’already had a tomb,’ to which he replied, "Mind your own business;’ that upon hearing these words, Candelaria threw a book at him, which he caught and placed on the table; that thereupon, Candelaria opened a knife and said: ’I will open your stomach’ and at the same time stood up and ran towards him in the attitude of stabbing him; that he (the accused) ran away towards the other end of the room where he kept his bolo, unsheathed it, and ran with said instrument in his right hand towards the door, passing in front of Candelaria but that Candelaria chased him towards the door, and, believing that Candelaria was going to stab him and having no time to escape, he attempted to disable with his bolo the hand of Candelaria which was holding the knife, but that, instead its blade hit Candelaria on the head, the accused not knowing at the time on what particular part of the head Candelaria was struck; that in the belief that he was still being pursued by Candelaria, the accused opened the door, went out and ran away, and never returned until the time that he surrendered himself to the authorities on December 13, 1928; and that Candelaria’s attempt to stab him produced a wound near the wrist of his rights arm, leaving a scar on that spot" (s. n. pp. 28, 30-34).

The evidence for the defense tends to show that the deceased was very quarrelsome, aggressive, overbearing and violent, and that the defendant was of a meek, submissive and peaceful character. The defendant also exhibited a wound on his forearm, which he claims was inflected upon him by the deceased, and Dr. Calupitan testified that the scar exhibited by the defendant was from three weeks to three months old. The defendant and the deceased were leaving together in the same room in a house near the School of Forestry in Los Baños, and were both students of that school.

Ciriaco Arriola, a witness for the prosecution, testified that on that day it was his turn to sweep the house, and at the time and for that purpose, he went to the porch of the house, and while there heard some noise from the room and later saw the defendant running out of it with an unsheathed bolo in his left had, which he lifted against the witness and chased him. That he ran as fast as he could to the nearest house, and later came back to the room and found Candelaria lying on the floor dead with his clothes saturated with blood and wound on the back of his head.

If, as the defendant claims, the deceased inflicted the injury upon his forearm, it must have been done with some kind of a weapon. Yet there is no claim or pretense that a weapon or instrument of any kind was found in the room with the body of the deceased. The trial court who saw the would and hear the defendant testify, did not believe that the would was inflicted by the deceased. Again, the doctor’s testimony as to the location, nature and extent of the blow that killed the deceased flatly contradicts the evidence of the defendant he acted in self-defense.

That is to say, that actual undisputed, physical facts flatly contradict the whole theory of self-defense. First, because no weapon of any kind was found in the room of the decease with which he could have inflicted the scar of the forearm of the defendant; and, second, the nature, character, location and extent of the wound, as testified by the doctor, clearly show that the deceased was either struck from behind or while his body was in a reclining position. From which it must follow that the deceased was quarrelsome and the defendant was a quiet and peaceable man, as the evidence tends to show, it may be that the deceased said something which provoked the defendant, and that by reason thereof he should have that as a mitigating circumstance. The lower court sentenced the defendant to fourteen years, eight months and one day of reclusion temporal.

For the reasons above stated, that judgment is modified and reduced, and the defendant is sentenced to twelve years and one day of reclusion temporal, and in all other respects affirmed, with costs. So ordered.

Avanceña, C.J., Johnson, Street, Malcolm, Ostrand and Romualdez, JJ., concur.

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