Velasquez vs. People
G.R. No.195021, March 15, 2017
On May 24, 2003 in the evening, Velasquez (accused) while armed with stones and wooden poles, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, with intent to kill, with treachery and abuse of superior strength, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, maul and hit Jesus del Mundo inflicting upon him injuries in the vital parts of his body, the said accused having thus commenced a felony directly by overt acts, but did not perform all the acts of execution which could have produced the crime of Murder but nevertheless did not produce it by reason of some causes or accident other than their own spontaneous desistance to his damage and prejudice.
The accused invoke the first and second justifying circumstances under Article 11 of the Revised Penal Code reiterating that it was Jesus, who was supposedly inebriated, vented his ire upon Nicolas and the other accused, as well as on Mercedes. The accused thus responded and countered Jesus' attacks, leading to his injuries.
Petitioners Nicolas Velasquez and Victor Velasquez, along with four others -Felix Caballeda, Jojo Del Mundo, Sonny Boy Velasquez, and Ampong Ocumen - were charged with attempted murder under Article 248, in relation to Article 6, of the Revised Penal Code.
Whether or not petitioners may be held criminally liable for the physical harm inflicted on Jesus Del Mundo.
Yes. A person invoking self-defense (or defense of a relative) admits to having inflicted harm upon another person - a potential criminal act under Title Eight (Crimes Against Persons) of the Revised Penal Code. However, he or she makes the additional, defensive contention that even as he or she may have inflicted harm, he or she nevertheless incurred no criminal liability as the looming danger upon his or her own person (or that of his or her relative) justified the infliction of protective harm to an erstwhile aggressor.
The accused's admission enables the prosecution to dispense with discharging its burden of proving that the accused performed acts, which would otherwise be the basis of criminal liability. All that remains to be established is whether the accused were justified in acting as he or she did. To this end, the accused's case must rise on its own merits:
It is settled that when an accused admits harming the victim but invokes self-defense to escape criminal liability, the accused assumes the burden to establish his plea by credible, clear and convincing evidence; otherwise, conviction would follow from his admission that he harmed the victim. Self-defense cannot be justifiably appreciated when uncorroborated by independent and competent evidence or when it is extremely doubtful by itself. Indeed, in invoking self-defense, the burden of evidence is shifted and the accused claiming self-defense must rely on the strength of his own evidence and not on the weakness of the prosecution.