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Burden of Proof & Shifting of the Onus Probandi: The one invoking has the burden of proving self-defense
1. People vs. Amante, 391 SCRA 155

2. People vs. Mondijar, 392 SCRA 356
FACTS: On appeal is the decision of the RTC of Masbate, finding appellant Pedro Mondijar guilty of the murder of Pamfilo Aplacador and imposing upon him the penalty of death. Because appellant was more than 79 years old at the time of the commission of the offense, the sentence was commuted to reclusion perpetua.
Appellant and the victim were neighbors. Although appellant was the father-in-law of the victim, there was bad blood between them. In a previous incident, the son-in-law (Aplacador) had stabbed appellant. Whatever their quarrel, it was never patched up. A month later, the ill feelings erupted anew with fatal results for Aplacador. At about 6:30pm the accused stabbed and hacked with the use of a sharp and pointed bolo, one PAMFILO APLACADOR hitting him at the different parts of his body which was the direct and the logical cause of his instantaneous death.
Appellant admitted killing the victim, but claimed that he only acted in self-defense.
ISSUE: Whether the accused acted in self-defense.
RULING: Appellant failed to establish unlawful aggression on the part of the victim, one of the elements necessary for self-defense to be sustained. Aplacador’s “gritting of his teeth” hardly constituted unlawful aggression, adding that appellant’s act of continuously hacking the victim after the latter fell down and was disarmed is unjustified because the supposed aggression had already ceased. Appellant exceeded the limits of necessity to suppress an alleged attack, and the number and location of the hacking wounds sustained by the deceased belied appellant’s claim of self-defense.
When an accused invokes self-defense, he effectively admits the killing, and the onus probandi shifts upon him to show clearly and convincingly that the killing is justified and that no criminal liability is incurred. For self-defense to prosper, the accused must satisfy the following requisites: (a) unlawful aggression by the victim, (b) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it, and (c) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the accused. The accused must rely upon his own evidence and not on the weakness of the prosecution in order to establish self-defense.
Assuming arguendo that the victim, Aplacador, did try to stab appellant, appellant went beyond reasonable necessity in trying to prevent or repel the assault. The victim was not only disabled by multiple hack wounds; he was in fact decapitated. The nature and number of wounds inflicted upon the victim show that appellant’s intentions went beyond trying to protect his person but sought to deliver serious harm, thus rendering self-defense unavailing in this case. Appellant’s claim of self-defense is dubious. A plea of self-defense cannot be appreciated where it is not only uncorroborated by independent and competent evidence but is extremely doubtful by itself.
Prosecution failed to properly prove the qualifying circumstances of treachery, abuse of superior strength, and evident premeditation. Appellant could only be declared guilty of homicide.

3. Ladiana vs. People, 393 SCRA 419
FACTS: The accused, a public officer, being then a member of the Integrated National Police (INP now PNP) assigned at the Lumban Police Station, Lumban, Laguna, acting in relation to his duty which is primarily to enforce peace and order within his jurisdiction, taking advantage of his official position confronted Francisco San Juan why the latter was removing the steel pipes which were previously placed to serve as barricade to prevent the entry of vehicles along P. Jacinto Street, Barangay Salac, Lumban, Laguna, purposely to insure the safety of persons passing along the said street and when Francisco San Juan told the accused that the latter has no business in stopping him, said accused who was armed with a firearm, attacked and shot Francisco San Juan with the firearm hitting Francisco San Juan at his head and neck inflicting upon him fatal wounds thereby causing the death of Francisco San Juan.
Petitioner admitted that he shot the victim while the latter was attacking him. “Kaya itong si Kapitan San Juan ay sumugod at hinawakan ako sa may leeg ng aking suot na T-shirt upang ako ay muling saksakin; sa dahilang hindi ako makatakbo o makaiwas sa kabila ng aking pananalag hanggang magpaputok ako ng pasumala sa kanya; sa bilis ng pangyayari ay hindi ko alam na siya ay tinamaan”
ISSUE: whether he acted in self-defense is entitled to the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender.
Through the above statement, petitioner admits shooting the victim -- which eventually led to the latter’s death -- but denies having done it with any criminal intent. In fact, he claims he did it in self-defense. Nevertheless, whether categorized as a confession or as an admission, it is admissible in evidence against him.
In general, admissions may be rebutted by confessing their untruth or by showing they were made by mistake. The party may also establish that the response that formed the admission was made in a jocular, not a serious, manner; or that the admission was made in ignorance of the true state of facts. Yet, petitioner never offered any rationalization why such admissions had been made, thus, leaving them unrebutted. Having admitted that he had fatally shot the victim, petitioner had the duty of showing that the killing was justified, and that the latter incurred no criminal liability therefor. Petitioner should have relied on the strength of his own evidence and not on the weakness of that for the prosecution. Even if his evidence be weak, it cannot be disbelieved after the accused has admitted the killing. Petitioner argues that it was the prosecution that indirectly raised the issue of self-defense. Hence, he could not be bound by it. This argument deserves scant consideration. Therefore, petitioner can no longer invoke his constitutional right to be presumed innocent of the crime charged. As far as he is concerned, homicide has already been established. The fact of death and its cause were established by his admissions coupled with the other prosecution evidence including the Certificate of Death, the Certificate of Post-Mortem Examination and the Medico-Legal Findings. The intent to kill is likewise presumed from the fact of death.
The only pieces of evidence in support of the plea of voluntary surrender made by petitioner are statements made by two (2) prosecution witnesses that they were allegedly told by other people that he had already gone to the police station. There is no showing that he was not actually arrested; or that when he went to the police station, he surrendered himself to a person in authority. Neither is there any finding that he has evinced a desire to own to any complicity in the killing.
We have ruled in the past that the accused who had gone to the police headquarters merely to report the shooting incident did not evince any desire to admit responsibility for the killing. Thus, he could not be deemed to have voluntarily surrendered. In the absence of sufficient and convincing proof showing the existence of indispensable circumstances, we cannot appreciate voluntary surrender to mitigate petitioner’s penalty.
Petition is DENIED

4. People v. Cario, GR 123325, 31 March 1998, 288 SCRA 404
This is an appeal of finding the accused guilty of murder.
Accused, then being armed with an improvised shotgun or “sumpak” shot one ROLANDO B. SOBREO, thereby inflicting upon the latter gunshot wounds affecting his internal organs such as heart, lung, liver, stomach and part of intestine, which ultimately caused his death.
Arlene Sobreo testified that she was on her way home when she heard a “shot.” As she passed by the store she saw accused-appellant carrying a “sumpak,” a homemade shotgun. When she got home, Bernadette Mata, a neighbor, told Arlene that her husband was shot by accused-appellant. Arlene rushed to the scene of the incident, which was a short distance from “Nognog” store, only to find her husband wounded and lying on the ground in front of “Medy” store. While there were people milling around at the crime scene, she was unable to recognize them as she was thinking of her husband. Roberto Maxwell testified that he was able to positively identify accused-appellant as the one who shot the victim as Roberto had been seeing accused-appellant at the public market.
Accused-appellant maintains that granting arguendo that Roberto Maxwell’s testimony was credible, it could not support a conviction for murder since the elements of treachery were not proven. In his defense, while accused-appellant expressly admits having killed Rolando Sobreo, he interposes a combination of accident and what appears to be self-defense.
ISSUE: Whether accused-appellant acted in self-defense.
RULING: Where an accused admits killing the victim but invokes self-defense, it is incumbent upon him to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he acted in self-defense; and as the burden of the evidence is thus shifted to him, he must rely on the strength of his own evidence and not on the weakness of that of the prosecution for, even if the latter were weak, it could not be disbelieved after the accused’s open admission of responsibility for the killing. Thus, to successfully invoke self-defense, the accused’s evidence must prove the existence of the essential requisites thereof, namely: (1) unlawful aggression on the part of the victim; (2) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it; and (3) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself.
Unlawful aggression presupposes an actual, sudden and unexpected attack, or an imminent danger thereof, and not merely a threatening or intimidating attitude. Unlawful aggression is a condition sine qua non for the justifying circumstance of self-defense. In other words, there can be no self-defense, complete or incomplete, unless the victim has committed unlawful aggression against the person defending himself. Simply put, unlawful aggression is indispensable, it being the main ingredient of self-defense.
Accused-appellant’s invocation of accident deserves scant consideration. Under paragraph 4 of Article 12 of the Revised Penal Code, a person who, while performing a lawful act with due care, causes an injury by accident without fault or intention of causing it, is exempt from criminal liability. Having ruled, however, that self-defense was not present, then it cannot be said that accused-appellant was performing a lawful act.
We agree, however, with accused-appellant and the Solicitor General that treachery was not duly proved. To qualify a killing to murder it must be shown that the same was committed with either treachery or evident premeditation, or cruelty; or in consideration of a price, reward or promise; or through means involving great waste or ruin, or on the occasion of a calamity. The crime thus committed is only homicide, not murder as held by the trial court.


5. People vs. Ulep, GR 132547, September 20, 2000]
6. ANGCACO vs. PEOPLE (378 SCRA 297)

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