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PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-23463. September 28, 1967.]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. CARLOS CLEMENTE, PASCUAL CLEMENTE, and ROSALIO CLEMENTE, Defendants-Appellants.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff.

Irineo M. Cabrera for defendants.


SYLLABUS


1. EVIDENCE; CRIMINAL LAW; SELF-DEFENSE. — In criminal prosecutions, the burden of proving self-defense is on the accused.

2. ID.; ID.; ATTACK ON CHARACTER OF DECEASED; CONVICTION NECESSARY. — The attack on the character of the deceased, as a man prone to violence, has no weight, because it was not shown that the accusations levelled against him resulted in conviction. We must perforce be wary of such charges against a man who is no longer in a position to offer explanations.

3. ID.; ID.; VOLUNTARY SURRENDER. — That the surrender was induced by Rosalio’s fear of retaliation by the victim’s relatives does not gainsay the spontaniety of the surrender, nor alter the fact that by giving himself up, this accused saved the State the time and trouble of searching for him until arrested.

4. APPEAL; CONCLUSIONS OF FACT BY THE TRIAL COURT. — In the absence of satisfactory showing that any material error was committed therein, the conclusions of fact in the appealed decision as to the culpability of accused appellants must be upheld.

5. CRIMINAL LAW; HOMICIDE; CHANCE ENCOUNTER; CASE AT BAR. — There being neither premeditation nor treachery, inasmuch as the attack by Rosalio Clemente on Reyes Matnog appears to have been the result of a chance encounter and quarrel, and the wounding of the victim while lying prone on the ground was merely incidental to the ensuing pursuit, not intended to ensure the safety of the attackers themselves, the appellants appear to be merely guilty of homicide, rather than murder.

6. ID.; ID.; ACCOMPLICES. — In the case of appellants Carlos and Pascual Clemente, while they joined their brother in the pursuit of the fleeing Matnog, and in the attack on him as he fell, yet the prosecution eyewitness was unable to assert positively that the two managed to hit the fallen man. There being no showing of conspiracy, and the extent of their participation in the homicide being uncertain, they should be given the benefit of the doubt, and consequently they are declared to be mere accomplices in the crime.


D E C I S I O N


REYES, J.B.L., J.:


Appeal from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Samar (in Crim. Case No. C-778), convicting Carlos Clemente and Pascual Clemente of the crime of murder, and Rosalio Clemente, of homicide and sentencing them accordingly, for the death of one Reyes Matnog.

At about 3 o’clock in the afternoon of February 5, 1962, at the corner of the national highway and the barrio road in front of the house of a certain Hospicio Tan in barrio San Miguel, municipality of Lavezares, province of Samar, Reyes Matnog, barrio lieutenant of barrio MacArthur, same municipality, died of multiple wounds. Reyes Matnog had just come from a party (blow-out) given by Pedro Baniega in celebration of the latter’s election as barrio lieutenant of San Miguel. The autopsy-report of the Rural Health Officer of Lavezares (Exh. A) shows the deceased sustained the following injuries:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"EXTERNAL FINDINGS

"x       x       x

"2. Stab wound on the left lower part of the upper third of the arm, lateral side about one inch in length penetrating thru the other side and entering the chest cavity.

"3. Stab wound on the posterior part right side of the umbilical region penetrating the abdominal cavity.

"4. Stab wound on the upper part of the back above the right scapular region. The wound measures about one inch in length and 1
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