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People vs.

Lee
Nature: Automatic review of a decision of RTC which sentenced the accussedappellant Noel Lee to
death for the murder of Joseph Marquez.
Facts:
Accused-appellant pleaded not guilty to the charge. At the trial, the prosecution
presented the following witnesses;
a.
b.
c.
d.

Herminia- the mother of the victim


Resident doctor at the MCU hospital
Police officer who examined the crime scene
Medico-legal officer of the PNP crime lab

Herminia, testified that she accused Noel peering through the window and holding a
gun aimed at joseph and simultaneously fired the same hitting Joseph head.
For his defense, the accused presented two (2) witnesses
a. A neighbor
b. Himself
The accused denies the killing. He claims that from 8-10 in the evening of sept, he
was in his house and was having some drinks with his neighbor and his driver.
RTC found the accused guilty and sentenced him to penalty of death.
Issues:
1.Whether or not the trial court should not have accepted Herminias
testimony because it is biased, incredible and inconsistent.
Ruling :
The Supreme Court held that Herminias testimony is positive, clear, convincing and
straightforward. The inconsistency between her affidavit and her testimony was
satisfactorily explained by Hermia on cross-examination.
Herminia corrected her affidavit by saying in open court that she saw the hand and
the gun coming out of the open window, not from a hole in the widow.
In her direct testimony, Herminia presented a photograph of her living room just the
way it looked from her side on the right side.
Between Herminias testimony in open court and her sworn statement, any
inconsistency therein does not necessarily discredit the witness. Affidavits are
generally considered inferior to open court declarations because affidavit are taken
ex-parte and are always incomplete and inaccurate.
2. Whether the accused may prove bad moral character of the victim.

Under sub.par (3) of section 51. Character evidence, whether good or bad, of the
offended party may be proved if it tends to establish in any reasonable degree the
probability or improbability of the offense charged. Such evidence is commonly
offered to support a claim of self-defense in assault or homicide case or claim of
consent in rape case.
In homicide cases, a pertinent character trait of the victim is admissible in two
situations: (1) as evidence of the deceaseds aggression; and (2) as evidence of
state of mind of the accused.
The pugnacious, quarrelsome or trouble-seeking character of the deceased or his
calmness, gentleness and peaceful nature as the case may be, is relevant in
determining whether the deceased or the accused was the aggressor. When the
evidence tends to prove self-defense, the known violent character of the deceased
is also admissible to show that it produced a reasonable belief of imminent danger
in the mind of the accused and justifiable conviction that a prompt defensive action
was necessary.
In the instant case, prof of the bad moral character of the victim is
irrelevant to determine the probability or improbability of his killing.
Accused-appellant has not alleged that the victim was the aggressor or
that the killing was made in self-defense.
Moreover, proof of the victims bad moral character is not necessary in
cases of murder committed with treachery and premeditation. Following
the ruling in People vs. Soliman, where the killing of the victimwas
attended by treachery, proof of the victims bad moral character is not
necessary. The presence of aggravating circumstance negates the
necessity of proving the victims bad character to establish the probality
or improbability of the offense charged.