Facts:

Accused in this case was convicted of the crime of frustrated homicide in the RTC of Cebu for inflicting gun shot wounds on the complainant, Paradero.

During the trial, the prosecution presented testimony of the victim along with documentary evidence confirming her surgeries for the wounds.

The prosecution claims that on the day of the incident, the victim was tending her store when the accused came by and asked to buy some beer. Responding that there were no more, the victim tried to show the accused her refrigerator. Accused went inside the store and pulled out his gun and shot the victim once. The victim grabbed hold of a nearby knife and tried to defend herself when the accused shot another round that grazed the victim’s earlobe. The accused then left the scene of the crime.

The defense presented the testimony of the accused w/c was corroborated in some parts by his neighbor, Artiaga.

They claim that when the accused went by the store to buy cigarettes, the victim screamed that there was no more and then attacked the accused. During the scuffle, the accused was able to pull out his weapon and shoot the victim in self-defense.

The RTC gave more credence to the prosecution and convicted the accused.

Issue: WON the accused’s guilt was proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Held:

Yes, the SC held that the plea of self-defense on the part of the accused was not clearly and convincingly proven and so must fall.

What is clear is that petitioner was the aggressor during the incident. We have carefully examined the testimony of Paradero and found it to be credible and trustworthy. She testified in a clear and consistent manner during the trial. She was faithful and steadfast in recounting her ordeal despite the grueling cross-examination of the defense. Besides, Paradero testified that petitioner was drunk at the time of the incident. She also declared that she had known petitioner since 1988 and that the latter had, under the influence of alcohol, assaulted several persons. These circumstances reinforce the allegation petitioner’s propensity for harming people when he gets drunk.

On the other hand, petitioner narrated that when he went to Paradero’s store to buy cigarettes, the latter replied in a loud voice that she did not have any stock of cigarettes. Paradero, then holding a knife, suddenly went out of the store and attacked him. This testimony does not inspire belief.

Self-defense is inherently a weak defense because, as experience has demonstrated, it is easy to fabricate and difficult to prove.35 Thus, for this defense to prosper, the accused must prove with clear and convincing evidence the elements of self-defense. He must rely on the strength of his own evidence and not on the weakness of that of the prosecution. Even if the evidence of the prosecution is weak, it cannot be disbelieved if the accused admitted responsibility for the crime charged.36 In the case before us, petitioner failed to prove with plausible evidence all the elements of self-defense. Hence, his plea of self-defense must fail.

Accused is also invoking the equipoise rule but the SC held that they have earlier found the sole testimony of Paradero to be more credible than that of petitioner, even if the latter’s testimony was corroborated by Artiaga on some relevant points. Paradero’s account of the incident was clear and consistent. On the other hand, petitioner’s narration of the incident, though corroborated by Artiaga, hardly inspires belief, as it does not conform to reason and human experience. Further, the RTC and CA upheld the sole testimony of Paradero over that of petitioner. They concluded that petitioner failed to prove his claim of self-defense despite the fact that her testimony was corroborated by Artiaga. Basic is the rule that factual findings of the trial court deserve great weight and respect especially when affirmed by the appellate court.46 We found no compelling reason to disturb the ruling of both courts. Given the foregoing, Paradero’s testimony outweighs the testimonies of petitioner and Artiaga.

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