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PEOPLE VS DECENA

Aug 4, 1994 | REGALADO, J.


Plaintiff: People of the PH
Accused: George Decena
TOPIC/DOCTRINE: JUSTIFYING
CIRCUMSTANCES: DEFENSE OF SELF,
RELATIVES, AND STRANGERS
FACTS:
George Decena was convicted with murder
for allegedly stabbing to death Jaime
Ballesteros in San Fabian, Pangasinan on
December 25, 1990 (Of all dates?! Says SC
)
He filed a petition for review claiming the
lower court erred in disregarding his claim of
self-defense and in not appreciating the
mitigating circumstance of voluntary
surrender.
Testimony of the Prosecution (by
Lyzviminda Ballesteros, 14 y/o daughter
of the victim)
On Dec 25, 1990, 4pm, Luzviminda was
asked by her mother to fetch her father
Jamie Ballesteros, who was watching a
basketball game. On her way to the
hardcourt, she met her father walking home
in an intoxicated state. Suddenly, she saw
Decena rushing towards her father with a
long bladed weapon. Jamie was stabbed on
the right chest just below the nipple. Decena
then fled from the crime scene. Luzviminda
called her mother for help and they rushed
Jamie to the hospital, but he was DOA.
Testimony of the defense
On Dec 25, 1990, 4pm, Decena was watching
a basketball game. The victim, Jaime
Ballesteros, went around the basketball
court, walking in a wobbly manner due to
drunkenness. Jaime stopped near the place
where Decena was sitting and, for no
apparent reason, held him by the neck
with one arm and, at the same time, poking
a fork against it with the other arm.
A Barangay Tanod who was also watching the
basketball game, intervened. He took the
fork from Jaime and advised Decena to go
home. Decena left and was followed later by
Jaime.
Decenas Uncle adds that he saw Jaime
attacking Decena with a balisong. He claims

Decena was able to block the stabbing blow


and a struggle ensued between them.
Decena overpowered Jaime and succeeded in
twisting his and thrusting the knife into his
body.
ISSUE:
W/N Decena acted in complete self-defense
in killing Jamie Ballesteros, thus absolving
him from criminal liability NO
HELD/RATIO
1. Deecenas action was more of
retaliation than self-defense
RETALIATION: The aggression that was
begun by the injured party already
ceased to exist when the accused
attacked him.
SELF-DEFENSE: The aggression was
still existing when the aggressor was
injured or disabled by the person
making a defense
Requirement for self-defense: That there
is an unlawful aggression against the person
defending himself
It must be positively shown that there
was a previous unlawful and
unprovoked attack that placed the
life of the accused in danger and
forced him to inflict more or less
severe wounds upon his assailant,
employing therefor reasonable means
to resist said attack
The burden of proof is usually with the
prosecution, but by invoking self-defense,
the burden of proof shifts to the
accused. If he fails to sufficiently prove this,
he shall be convicted from his admission of
killing the victim.
Accused must rely on the strength of his
own evidence and not on the weakness of
that of the prosecution, for even if that was
weak, it cannot be disbelieved after the
accused himself admitted the killing.
2. There were grave inconsistencies in the
testimonies of the defense
Decena, in his direct examination,
testified that a fork was poked at his
neck but, on cross-examination, he
said it was a knife instead

Decena insisted that he never went


out of his house after the stabbing
incident and until his surrender early
next morning, which is contradicted by
the police blotter
Decena said he did not immediately
confess he killed Jamie because he
was afraid to do so. a righteous
individual will not cower but would
readily admit the killing at the earliest
opportunity if he were legally and
morally justified in doing so.
Decenas uncle appears to be an
imaginative or coached witness

Prosecutions testimony was more credible


because Luzviminda had no opportunity to
concoct a story given the time from when
the incident took place to when she shouted
for help.

3. But there was no treachery, so the


crime was simple homicide. No proof
that the accused committed the crime by
employing means, methods or forms in
the execution thereof which tended
directly and especially to insure its
execution, without risk to himself arising
from the defense which the offended
party might make.
4. Mitigating circumstance of voluntary
surrender may be awarded to Decena. He
was, evidently with his concurrence,
accompanied and surrendered by his
father to a person in authority, early in
the morning after the incident and before
he could actually be arrested.
JUDGMENT MODIFIED
- Decena is guilty of homicide
- 8 years prison mayor to 14 years, 8
months reclusion temporal