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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs FOR: MURDER X (detained)

FACTUAL CIRCUMSTANCES: An assistant provincial prosecutor filed an information on December 1, 2010 alleging that the accused with deliberate intent to kill, with treachery, evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength willfully and unlawfully and feloniously hacked the victim several

times with samurai inflicting fatal hacking wounds and incise wounds causing his instantaneous death on November 25, 2010 at 10:30 pm. The Chief of Police of San Fernando, Cebu filed a criminal complaint against the accused on December 8, 2010 for the crime of murder on the basis of the affidavits of Crislend Parba and police investigators. In his affidavit, witness Parba stated that he was asked by the accused to go to the latters mothers house located nearby for a drinking session and karaoke. Upon reaching the place, Parba said he saw the victims lifeless body lying on the ground. However, during cross-examination, Parba stated that upon reaching the accused mothers house, he was surprised to see a man lying on the ground face up, still moving. The accused then took a samurai and finished the man lying on the ground by hacking the latter twice. He further stated that he was asked by the accused to help him carry the dead body of the victim to a grassy place. This was about 100 meters from where the victim was killed. Parba stated that the accused threatened to kill him if he would report to anybody.

ISSUE: 1.Whether or not there is enough evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused murdered the victim?

NECESSITY OF PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT Proof beyond reasonable doubt means proof to the satisfaction of the court and keeping in mind the presumption of innocence that precludes every reasonable hypothesis except that for which it is given. It is not sufficient for the proof to establish a probability, even though strong, that the fact charged is more likely true than the contrary. It must establish the truth of the fact to a reasonable certainty and moral certainty a certainty that convinces and satisfies the reason and conscience of those who are to act upon it. [People v. Castillo, G.R. No. 132895, March 10, 2004, 425 SCRA 136, 166, citing United States v. Reyes, 3 Phil. 6 (1903).] In People v. Berroya (347 Phil. 410, 423, 1997), Supreme Court stated that the Constitution itself provides that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved. An accused is entitled to an acquittal unless his guilt is shown beyond reasonable doubt. It is the primordial duty of the prosecution to present its side with clarity and persuasion, so that conviction becomes the only logical and inevitable conclusion, with moral certainty.

PROSECUTION FAILED TO SHOW PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT The prosecution was not able to establish proof beyond reasonable doubt on the guilt of the accused upon the evidence presented. It was not able to establish the connection between the crime committed and the accused.

Tarnished Credibility of the Witness The witness Parba never mentioned in his affidavit that he saw the accused hacking the victim. While he insisted that he requested an investigator to make the necessary correction on his affidavit, the latter under oath denied that there was such a request. Moreover, there was no other witness who could corroborate the testimony of Parba.

The fact that the witness did not mention in his affidavit that he saw the accused hacking the victim casts some doubt into his credibility. As stated earlier, his credibility was tarnished when an investigator under oath said that the witness never asked him to amend the affidavit. His conflicting testimonies were further stressed when he gave a contrary account during cross-examination vis--vis his affidavit. While he stated in his affidavit that he saw a lifeless body, during cross-examination he said the contrary account that the body he saw was still alive. Parba stated that upon reaching the accused mothers house, he was surprised to see a man lying on the ground face up, still moving. Additionally, it is contrary to human nature that the accused invited Parba only to show the latter a dying man that the accused allegedly killed. The prosecution through the witness was not able to show the direct link between the crime committed and the accused.

No Forensic Evidence The prosecution also failed to show forensic evidence that would directly link the accused to the crime. Although the police investigators discovered some blood trail, slippers and bloody clothes allegedly belonging to the victim, no blood samples were taken to a laboratory for DNA testing in order to implicate or eliminate the accused. Thus, the pieces of evidence presented were not conclusive.

CONCLUSION: An accused is entitled to an acquittal unless his guilt is shown beyond reasonable doubt. It is the primordial duty of the prosecution to present its side with clarity and persuasion, so that conviction becomes the only logical and inevitable conclusion, with moral certainty. In the instant case, the pieces of evidence presented by the prosecution did not

establish proof beyond reasonable doubt. Instead, the evidence collected prejudiced the rights of the accused. In the absence of witnesses and pieces of evidence that would link the accused with the crime committed, it is hereby prayed, that the case against the accused be dismissed.

Submitted by:

Maria Cristina S. Swensen Tristan G. Niog