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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs.

GERONIMO SOLIMAN y RULING: The Court found the testimony of Balaktaw worthy of credence not
BUENAVENTURA only because it is in part corroborated by the testimony of appellant Soliman
G.R. No. L-9723. June 28, 1957 himself, who admitted having inflicted the wounds that caused the death of the
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J. victim, (although by way of self-defense) but also because it is supported by the
nature of the wounds as found by Dr.Lara in his autopsy.
DOCTRINE: The proof of the good or bad moral character of the deceased may
only be allowed in homicide cases to show “that it has produced a reasonable An important flaw pointed out by the defense refers to the manner the witness
belief of imminent danger in the mind of the accused and a justifiable conviction identified the two defendants. It is claimed that when this witness was made to
that a prompt defensive action was necessary.” This rule does not apply to cases identify accused Soliman, he pointed to accused Palin and when he was asked to
of murder, where the killing is committed through treachery or premeditation. identify the latter, he pointed to the former. And he also committed a mistake in
designating the nicknames of the two accused. The Court noted that such mistake
FACTS: While Ernesto Basa was sleeping in a pushcart placed along the might have been caused by the witness’ loss of sense of direction.
sidewalk and Ernesto Balaktaw was also sleeping on a box situated near the
pushcart, with their heads opposite each other, Balaktaw was awakened The defense also claims that the trial court erred in not granting its motion for new
when someone kicked his hand. Upon awakening, Balaktaw saw Sofronio trial based on newly discovered evidence which consists of the criminal record of
Palin proceed toward the head of Ernesto Basa and hold the latter by the shoulder Ernesto Balaktaw. The Court ruled this claim untenable because it cannot be
at which moment his companion Geronimo Soliman approached Ernesto Basa and considered as newly discovered evidence as the same was available to the defense
stabbed him many times with a balisong. Thereafter, the assailants ran away. prior to the trial of the case and the fact that a person has been previously
convicted of a crime does not necessarily disqualify him as a witness for he may
Balaktaw reported the incident and brought Basa to the hospital where the latter still prove to be a truthful one.
expired. An autopsy of the deceased found that the cause of death is as follows:
“Profuse exsanguinating hemorrhage (only 850 cc. recovered) and shock due to The claim that the trial court also erred in not allowing the defense to prove that
multiple (7) stab wounds, two (2) being fatal, piercing the pyloric portion of the the deceased had a violent, quarrelsome or provocative character cannot also
stomach, duodenum, jejunum, hepatic flexure of colon and right kidney.” deserve consideration. While good or bad moral character may be availed of
as an aid to determine the probability or improbability of the commission of
Soliman admitted having inflicted the wounds to the deceased but invoked self- an offense, such is not necessary in a crime of murder where the killing is
defense. Palin corroborated the testimony of Soliman by declaring that he saw committed through treachery or premeditation. The proof of such character
Soliman and the deceased grappling with each other and tried to separate them. may only be allowed in homicide cases to show “that it has produced a
Palin also asked Soliman to surrender, which the latter heeded. reasonable belief of imminent danger in the mind of the accused and a
justifiable conviction that a prompt defensive action was necessary.” This
CFI sentenced both Soliman and Palin to suffer the extreme penalty of death, rule does not apply to cases of murder.
hence, this automatic review by the Supreme Court.
DISPOSITION: The decision appealed from is modified in the sense of imposing
ISSUE: Whether or not the lower court committed grave abuse of discretion when upon appellants merely the penalty of reclusion perpetua, affirming the decisions
it relied on the testimony of one eyewitness, Ernesto Balaktaw, supported by some in all other respects, with costs.
circumstantial evidence