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Nacnac vs. People
G.R. No.191913, March 21, 2012
On February 20, 203, Petitioner, the victim and a number of other police officers were on duty. Petitioner, being the highest ranking officer during the shift, was designated the officer-of-the-day. In the evening, the victim, together with then SPO1 Basilio, took the patrol tricycle from the station grounds. When petitioner saw this, he stopped the victim and his colleague from using the tricycle. The victim told petitioner that he (the victim) needed it to go to Laoag City to settle a previous disagreement with a security of a local bar. Petitioner still refused. He told the victim that he is needed at the station and, at any rate, he should stay at the station because he was drunk. This was not received well by the victim. He told petitioner in Ilocano: "Iyot ni inam kapi" (Coitus of your mother, cousin!). The victim alighted from the tricycle. SPO1 Basilio did the same, went inside the office, and left the accused-appellant and the victim alone. The victim took a few steps and drew his .45 caliber gun which was tucked in a holster on the right side of his chest. Petitioner then fired his armalite upward as a warning shot. Undaunted, the victim still drew his gun. Petitioner then shot the victim on the head, which caused the latter’s instantaneous death. The trial court found the accused guilty of the crime charged and held that the claim of self-defense by the accused was unavailing due to the absence of unlawful aggression on the part of the victim. On appeal, the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the findings of the trial court and held that the essential and primary element of unlawful aggression was lacking.
Whether or not the justifying circumstances of the petitioner’s acts constitute as valid self- defense.
Yes. Article 11 of the Revised Penal Code provides the requisites for a valid self-defense claim. Unlawful aggression is an indispensable element of self-defense. "Without unlawful aggression, self- defense will not have a leg to stand on and this justifying circumstance cannot and will not be appreciated, even if the other elements are present." Ordinarily, there is a difference between the act of drawing one’s gun and the act of pointing one’s gun at a target. The former cannot be said to be unlawful aggression on the part of the victim. Unlawful aggression requires an actual, sudden and unexpected attack, or imminent danger thereof, and not merely a threatening or intimidating attitude x x x. The victim here was a trained police officer. He was inebriated and had disobeyed a lawful order in order to settle a score with someone using a police vehicle. A warning shot fired by a fellow police officer, his superior, was left unheeded as he reached for his own firearm and pointed it at petitioner. Petitioner was, therefore, justified in defending himself from an inebriated and disobedient colleague. Even if we were to disbelieve the claim that the victim pointed his firearm at petitioner, there would still be a finding of unlawful aggression on the part of the victim. Hence, it now becomes reasonably certain that in this specific case, it would have been fatal for the petitioner to have waited for the victim to point his gun before the petitioner fires back. The petitioner was therefore acquitted of homicide on reasonable doubt.