Jesus Rebutado (Jesus) is brother to Edwin Rebutado (Edwin; a retardate) who one night brought home a pack of cigarettes. The said pack exploded during the family’s dinner.
It was alleged that Emmanuel Caon Jr. (Junior) was the perpetrator of the incident. It was however found otherwise by the barangay after their investigation.
Unsatisfied, Jesus still wants to confront Junior; hence, one day Jesus violently followed Emmanuel Rebutado Sr. (Senior) home. Upon reaching the Caon’s balcony Jesus demanded that he talk to Junior, Senior refused since his son was already asleep. In the middle of the confrontation, Norberta Caon (Senior’s wife), even went out to pacify his husband.
Jesus took out his gun (he was left-handed) and shot Senior at his forehead. He later died.
On trial, Jesus said that when Senior went to his son’s room, he took a gun with him outside to confront him, he tried to disarm Senior then a shot went off; the bullet went through the latter’s forehead. He went home with the gun.
Edwin threw the gun to the sea.
Jesus asserts that he was merely performing a lawful act of defending himself when he grabbed the victim’s hand which held the gun. The gun accidentally fired and the bullet hit the victim’s forehead. The accident was not his fault. The appellant asserts that when he wrestled with the victim for the possession of the gun, he was merely defending himself. He contends that he had no intention of killing the victim, as he merely wanted to talk to his son. If he had wanted to kill the victim, he could have easily done so when he met the latter for the first time that fateful night of November 5, 1993.
The lower court convicted Jesus of Murder.
Whether Jesus is guilty for murder?
It is an affirmative defense that must be proved by the accused with clear and convincing evidence. By admitting causing the injuries and killing the victim, the accused must rely on the strength of his own evidence and not on the weakness of the evidence of the prosecution because if such evidence is weak but the accused fails to prove his defense, the evidence of the prosecution can no longer be disbelieved. Whether the accused acted under a state of necessity is a question of fact, which is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court.
The legal aphorism is that the findings of facts by the trial court, its calibration of the testimony of the witnesses of the parties and of the probative weight thereof as well as its conclusions based on its own findings are accorded by the appellate court high respect, if not conclusive effect, unless the trial court ignored, misconstrued or misapplied cogent facts and circumstances of substance which, if considered, will change the outcome of the case. We have meticulously reviewed the records and find no basis to deviate from the findings of the trial court that the appellant was the provocateur, the unlawful aggressor and the author of a deliberate and malicious act of shooting the victim at close range on the forehead.
RUGAS VS. PEOPLE
Herberto Rafol (Rafol) was talking one evening to Perla Perez when from out of nowhere the latter was stabbed twice by Alexander Rugas; first, on the thigh, and second, on the stomach.
According to Rafol, he does not know Rugas nor does he remember having any quarrel with the same.
In his defense Rugas averred that he was merely defending himself from Rafol; that on the said night, he was inside his aunt’s kitchen slicing lemons when someone from the outside shouted: “Lumabas ang matapang dyan!” So he went out with a knife and saw Rafol – who was holding a bolo, Crispulo Romano (Romano), and Joval Rones (Rones). Upon seeing him, Rafol gave his bolo to Rones, and went to him; both engaged into a fist-fight.
Thereafter, Rones raised the bolo he held for Rafol, and upon seeing this Rugas took out his knife to defend...