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People v.

Boholst-Caballero (1974)
(According to Boholst)

The couple had a rough marriage. Soon after,

Caballero left, and Boholst and her daughter was left to
the support of her parents.

One night, after carolling, Boholst met Caballero who

upon seeing her, manhandled her. There were an
exchange of words and later on, Caballero was already
holding her by the hair and slapping her face until her
nose bled.

Caballero pushed her to the grounds, and to stop

herself from falling, she held on to his waist. As she did
so, she grasped the knife tucked by the left side of his

She fell to the ground then Caballero knelt over her

and chocked her saying that he will kill her. Because she
had no other recourse, she pulled out the knife of her
husband and thrust it at him, hitting the left side of his
body near the belt line.

When she was finally free, she ran home and on the
way, she threw the knife.

In the morning, she surrendered to the police and

presented the torn and blood-stained dress she wore
that night. The police officer accompanied her to look for
the weapon but when it can no longer be found, she was
advised to just give any knife and she did (now marked
Exhibit C).

(According to the Prosecutions witness, Caballeros friend)

On the night of the incident, Boholst was already

waiting for Caballero, and when he approached her, she
suddenly stabbed Francisco her with the knife marked by
the prosecution as Exhibit C.

His friends brought him to the hospital where he was

later interviewed by the police officer confirming that his
wife stabbed him. But because he needs blood
transfusion, he needs to be transferred to another
hospital. He died on the way.

Issue: Did Boholst act in legitimate defense of her person?

Held: Yes.
Ratio decidendi:

The RTC held that Boholsts evidence was not clear

and convincing:

Testimony improbable as brought out by her

demonstration during the trial

No wound or injury on her body treated by the


That the knife used was a Moro knife and not

exhibit C is incredible

Contradictory statements

Has motive: husbands abandonment

The court departs from the general rule that appellate

court will not disturb the findings of the trial court on
facts testified by the witnesses

The trial court judge overlooked an important piece of

evidence that could confirm the narration of the
appellant: location of the wound inflicted on the victim.

As she was flat on her back and and her husband

choking her, she had no other recourse but to pull out
the knife inserted at the left side of her husbands belt
and stabbed him hitting the left back portion just below
the waist, as also described by the attending physician
as the left lumbar region.

The fact that the blow landed in the vicinity from

where the knife was drawn is a strong indication of the
truth of her testimony, for as she lay on the ground with
her husband bent over her it was quite natural for her
right hand to get hold of the knife tucked in the left side
of the mans belt and thrust it at that section of the body
nearest to her hand at the moment.

This particular location of the wound negates the

credibility of the prosecution witness that is if it was true,
then the wound should have been directed towards the
front of the body of the victim rather than at his back.

The Court finds the location of the wound as a valuable

circumstance which confirms the plea of self-defense.

Appellant also lacks motive. She declared that she still

loved her husband and for several months prior to the
incident, she appeared resigned to her fate.

She also surrendered herself immediately the morning


The court also believed that the knife must be a blade

of six inches as stated by Boholst for it to penetrate
through the left lumbar region to the victims large
intestine and cause the discharge of fecal matter. >.<

All the elements of self-defense are present:

unlawful aggression as pointed out above

reasonable necessity for means employed:

woman strangled and chocked by a furious aggressor,
rendered almost unconcious by the strong pressure
on her throat. What is vital is the imminent peril to
Boholsts life. The knife afforded appellant the only
reasonable means with which she could free and save
herself. Necessity knows no law.

Lack of sufficient provocation: Boholst did not

provoke Caballero. She gave a valid excuse that she
went carolling to earn money for their child.

Boholst acted in the legitimate defense of her person.

Judgment of conviction set aside. Acquitted.