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People vs. Almazan G.R. Nos.

138943-44 September 17, 2001 Facts: -On September 28, 1996, at about 4:00pm, accused-appellant Henry Almazan went home accompanied by his friend Johnald Molina. His wife informed him upon his return that his twelve fighting cocks had been stolen. He then proceeded to search for them and ended up in Vicente Madriagas house where the latter was playing chess with a certain Allan. The spectators were Vicentes son Noli carrying his 2year old daughter, his grandson Noel, and neighbor Angel Soliva. -Henry Almazan brandished a .38 caliber revolver in front of the group since he suspected Angel to be the culprit behind the theft of his fighting cocks. He aimed at Angel and fired twice but to no avail. Vicente tried to calm Henry down while Angel ran away but the accused-appellant aimed instead at Noli, fired his gun, and killed him. He then turned to Noel and shot him on the thigh. Both Noli and Noel were rushed to the hospital; the former dying along the way and latter surviving from a mere minor injury from the gunshot. -Henry contested that his acts were in self-defense. According to him, upon arrival at Vicentes house, the group was drinking liquor, mocking him, and threatening him of physical violence. He claims that Angel was the one that pulled out a .38 caliber revolver and aimed at him but misfired twice that ensued in a struggle for the weapon between the two men. During the struggle, accused-appellant claims that Noli was accidentally shot. After successfully wrestling the weapon away from Angel, Henry claims to have received a blow from behind which caused him to fall and see Noel poised to attack him with a broken bottle so he fired at the latters lower part of the body. His friend Johnald Molina corroborated his story. -Accused-appellant was charged with murder qualified by treachery for the death of Noli and frustrated murder for shooting Noel based on a statement of Noels attending physician, Dr. Misael Jonathan Ticman, who said that if not medically treated, the wound might get infected or lead to the victims death. He did send the victim home after undergoing treatment. -Accused-appellant went into hiding after the shooting incident and was caught eight months later. Crime Commited: Murder and Frustrated Murder aggravated by treachery and evident premeditation. Contention of the Accused: -Prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. -The testimony of Shirley Abordo, common-law wife of Nilo, is merely hearsay. -The testimony of Vicente has alleged inconsistencies in various vital points. -Evidence of the prosecution is impugned for its failure to present Angel who was primarily involved in the incident and whom the defense claims to be the real transgressor. -For frustrated murder, accused-appellant contends that the trial court erred in holding him guilty, as the wound sustained by Noel was not fatal and could not have caused his death. He also claims that his act was in self-defense. -The evidence sufficient to establish the absolute and moral certainty of the accused-appellants guilt is absent and he should be acquitted. Contention of the State: -Theft of Henrys fighting cocks constituted sufficient motive for the killing and that as a cockfight aficionado he must have found it imperative to exact vengeance on his suspected culprits. -Testimony of Johnald failed to create reasonable doubt on the guilt of Henry since he is a friend [and is] expected to extend relief to a friend, especially one in need.

CMIK 27 June 2013

-The qualifying circumstance of treachery was appreciated on the ground that the victims were completely defenseless when attacked and did not commit the slightest provocation. -Frustrated murder charge is based on Dr. Ticmans statement where he says Noel could catch infection[from the gunshot wound]. -The witnesses for the prosecution were consistent in their narration of the manner by which the events transpired, and they remained steadfast in the identification of the perpetrator. Held: -No justification for evident premeditation as there was no proof as to the manner and time during which the plan to kill was hatched. -Testimonial evidence to be credible should not only come from the mouth of a credible witness but should also be credible, reasonable and in accord with human experience, failing which, it should be rejected. -For the claim of self-defense to the charge of murder aggravated by treachery, the accused-appellant failed to discharge the burden of proof that rests upon him to prove by clear and convincing evidence the elements thereof: (a) that there was unlawful aggression on the part of the victim; (b) that there was reasonable necessity for the means employed to prevent or repel it; and (c) that there was lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the defendant. -Accused-appellant should be held liable for attempted murder, not frustrated murder since the victim did not sustain a fatal wound that could have caused his death were it not for timely medical assistance. Dr. Ticmans statements are pure speculation and the nature of the wound was that of a mere minor injury. -The Joint Decision of the trial court finding accused-appellant Henry Almazan guilty of Murder is affirmed. However, his conviction for Frustrated Murder is modified by lowering the crime to Attempted Murder.

CMIK 27 June 2013