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PEOPLE vs. SGT. JERRY BALANON [G.R. Nos. 85248-49. July 6, 1994. !

"#$s% On 3 November 1980 Roberto Laino and Gregorio Santillan, both trustee inmates of San Ramon Penal arm, !ere e"#hanging fist blo!s along the national high!a$ in Labuan, %amboanga &it$' (##used Sgt' )err$ *alanon, an enlisted man of the Phili++ine (rm$ !as standing nearb$' (s the fight +rogressed, Sgt' *alanon left for a nearb$ store' ,s' ,aria Luningning Sinsuan and ,s' -lsa de la &ru., both tea#her !ere seated on a ben#h in the house of (lim /sman some three feet a!a$ from the road !aiting for a bus to ta0e them to %amboanga &it$' One of them shouted for hel+ so ,s' Sinsuan !ent near to +a#if$ them sa$ing, 12ama na $an'1 One of them retorted, 1(lam mo ,a3am ' ' ',1 but !as #ut short !hen *alanon !ent to ,s' Sinsuan, !al0ed her five meters a!a$ and then told her not to interfere' 2hen he !ent ba#0 to the t!o 4uarreling inmates, +ulled a gun suddenl$ from his !aist, and shot them one after another t!i#e' ( fifth shot !as su++osedl$ fired but the trial #ourt did not #onsider the same as it has not been suffi#ientl$ established in the re#ord' earing that *alanon !as running amo0, ,s' Sinsuan ran ba#0 to !here she !as +reviousl$ sitting' ,s' de la &ru., !ho !as then si" months +regnant, remained seated on the ben#h as the startling o##urren#e unfolded before them' 2he sha0en tutors then +ro#eeded on their !a$ Subse4uentl$, *alanon !as #harged !ith murder on t!o #ounts, both 4ualified b$ evident +remeditation and trea#her$' Sgt' *alanon set u+ the defense of alibi and mista0en identit$' (++ellant #ontends that he is not the assailant des#ribed b$ +rose#ution !itness Sinsuan sin#e he does not have an$ !ound or stit#hes as #onfirmed b$ the +rose#utor !ho 1!as not able to see an$ s#ar1 behind his ears' 5n her S!orn Statement, Luningning sim+l$ des#ribed the assailant as 1tall about 6371 above, medium or little slim, fair #om+le"ion, slit e$es, +lain long hair 8minus hair#ut along the !ound !ith stit#hes,1 and nothing !as #ategori#all$ said about the lo#ation of the !ound' Sin#e Luningning !as des#ribing a++ellant3s hair !hen she too0 e"#e+tion to a then visible hair#ut bordering a !ound, said !ound #ould have been on a++ellant3s +ate or head !hi#h, !hen the +rose#utor too0 a loo0 behind a++ellant3s ears, #ould have been hidden b$ his long hair' 9e also 4uestioned the #ourt3s a#tion in giving #reden#e to the testimon$ of (#asio !ho !as not onl$ +robabl$ drun0, but !as a #onvi#ted hi:a#0er and falsifier of +ubli# do#uments' &ssu'% ;oN the #ourt erred in #onvi#ting *alanon' Rul()*% NO'

(L5*5< &(NNO2 S2(N= 5N 29- (&- O POS525>- 5=-N25 5&(25ON O (&&/S-=< &(S(2 *(R' ? (++ellant3s alibi #annot stand in the fa#t of his #lear and +ositive identifi#ation b$ (#asio !ho, a++ellant even admitted, had no ill !ill to im+li#ate him 8*alanon@ in the #rime' ,oreover, there is not #om+elling reason to de+art from the assessment of the #redibilit$ of the !itnesses made b$ the trial :udge !ho, unli0e the revie!ing #ourt, had the o##asion and o++ortunit$ to observe their demeanor and dete#t an$ badge of fabri#ation' *ut even granting arguendo a++ellant3s #laim to be true, this does not #ontradi#t the testimonies of other +rose#ution !itnesses that he shot the vi#tims to death' ;52N-SS-S< =5SA/(L5 5&(25ONS< =R/NB-NN-SS (N= &ON>5&25ON O ( &R5,-, NO2 GRO/N=S 29-R- OR< -C&-P25ON< &(S- (2 *(R' ? (++ellant faults the trial #ourt for giving #reden#e to the testimon$ of (#asio !ho !as not onl$ +robabl$ drun0, but !as a #onvi#ted hi:a#0er and falsifier of +ubli# do#uments as !ell< hen#e, a+t to fabri#ate his testimon$' *ut, +robabilit$ is not

s' Sinsuan. b$ highlighting her alleged in#onsistent statements. and senten#ing him to re#lusion +er+etua in ea#h #ase. !hen the latter !as alread$ inside the bus and !hen she !as still boarding the bus. shall not be a ground for dis4ualifi#ation of !itnesses' &R-=5*5L52D O . she allegedl$ averred that she got a #lose vie! of the a##used !hen she !as still boarding the bus.s' de la &ru.urder on t!o 8F@ #ounts 4ualified b$ trea#her$.9-R.eviden#e.OR-.52N-SS-S< NO2 ( -&2-= *D 2R5>5(L 5N&ONS5S2-N&5-S< &(S.-=' . it does not follo! that he !as drun0' .(2 *(R' ? (++ellant also dis#redits +rose#ution !itness -lsa de la &ru. the de#ision of the #ourt a 4uo finding a##usedEa++ellant SG2' )-RRD *(L(NON G/5L2D of . but on #ue from the +rose#ution. and the follo!Eu+ 4uestion of the +rose#utor referred to the instan#e !hen the !itnesses !ere still boarding' *ut even if !e #onsider as in#onsistent this +ortion of .oreover. unless other!ise +rovided b$ la!. is ( 5R.s' de la &ru. i'e'. and to +a$ the #osts. a hi:a#0er or a falsifier is not ne#essaril$ a liar' /nder the Rules of &ourt. and even if (#asio too0 al#ohol. #onvi#tion of a #rime. ho!ever limited or ha. she said she !as alread$ on board the bus' ' ' ' . i'e'. .3 testimon$. this is too trivial to affe#t their straightfor!ard a##ount of the shooting of the vi#tims b$ a++ellant' . a drun0 +erson is #om+etent to testif$ on !hat he sees or e"+erien#es.$ his +er#e+tion ma$ be' 5n the same !a$. #ould be referring to t!o instan#es !hen a##used #ame along to .