People vs. Rubiso
G.R. No.128871, March 18, 2003
On November 6, 1992, According to the accused, while he was welding a tiller Serafin Hubines, Jr. passed by and kicked it. When he confronted appellant, the latter asked, "Why, do you want to fight?" Then Hubines boxed appellant on his chest. He fell down on a sitting position. At that point, Hubines pulled his gun. Appellant immediately stood up and held Hubines’ hands. They grappled for its possession and both fell on the ground. Then the gun exploded. According to appellant, he was not sure who "caused" the shot. He noticed that many people approached them. Appellant lied down on his stomach and covered his ears. That was the time he heard three or more shots. He stood up and saw Hubines lying on the ground full of blood. He walked a few steps and met PO3 Danilo Opong. Appellant told the latter that he was only defending himself. Patrolman Opong then arrested him and brought him to the Pavia Police Station for investigation. Meanwhile, Romeo Zuspa, a worker in the compound, took the firearm and gave it to Patrolman Opong who, in turn, "surrendered" it to his station.
Whether or not the lower court erred in finding that accused failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence the elements of self-defense despite the fact that the accused proved the three elements of self-defense.
No. To successfully claim self-defense, the accused must prove the existence of the following: (1) unlawful aggression on the part of the victim; (2) reasonable necessity of the means employed by the person being attacked to prevent or repel it; and (3) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself. Unlawful aggression is a condition sine qua non for the justifying circumstance of self- defense. It contemplates an actual, sudden and unexpected attack, or imminent danger thereof, and not merely a threatening or intimidating attitude. The person defending himself must have been attacked with actual physical force or with actual use of weapon. Appellant insists that when the victim pulled out his gun, both grappled for its possession. They fell and there were bursts of gunfire. He must have killed the victim but he was only defending himself. Assuming that Hubines had a gun and pulled it, however, records show that he did not manifest any aggressive act which may have imperiled the life and limb of herein appellant. It is axiomatic that the mere thrusting of one’s hand into his pocket as if for the purpose of drawing a weapon is not unlawful aggression. Even the cocking of a rifle without aiming the firearm at any particular target is not sufficient to conclude that one’s life was in imminent danger. Hence, a threat, even if made with a weapon, or the belief that a person was about to be attacked, is not sufficient. It is necessary that the intent be ostensibly revealed by an act of aggression or by some external acts showing the commencement of actual and material unlawful aggression. Another factor which militates against appellant’s claim of self-defense is the nature and number of wounds suffered by the victim. Further, the location and presence of gunshot wounds on the body of the victim eloquently refute appellant’s allegation of self-defense. It is an oft repeated rule that the presence of a large number of wounds, their location and their seriousness would negate self-defense. Instead, they indicate a determined effort to kill. The appellant was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder.