Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Alibi and denial not appreciated - G.R. No. 178771

G.R. No. 178771

"x x x.

Between the categorical statements of the prosecution witness, on one hand, and the bare denial of the appellant, on the other, the former must perforce prevail. An affirmative testimony is far stronger than a negative testimony especially when it comes from the mouth of a credible witness. Alibi and denial, if not substantiated by clear and convincing evidence, are negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of weight in law. They are considered with suspicion and always received with caution, not only because they are inherently weak and unreliable but also because they are easily fabricated and concocted.[26] Denial cannot prevail over the positive testimony of prosecution witnesses who were not shown to have any ill-motive to testify against the appellants.[27]

As to the defense of alibi. Aside from the testimony of appellant Lando that he was in Tarlac at the time of the incident, the defense was unable to show that it was physically impossible for Lando to be at the scene of the crime. Basic is the rule that for alibi to prosper, the accused must prove that he was somewhere else when the crime was committed and that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime. Physical impossibility refers to the distance between the place where the appellant was when the crime transpired and the place where it was committed, as well as the facility of access between the two places.[28] Where there is the least chance for the accused to be present at the crime scene, the defense of alibi must fail.[29] During the trial of the case, Lando testified that the distance between his house in Brgy. Maligaya, San Miguel, Tarlac to the town of Rosales, Pangasinan is only around forty (40) kilometers. Such distance can be traversed in less than 30 minutes using a private car and when the travel is continuous.[30] Thus, it was not physically impossible for the appellant Lando to be at the locus criminis at the time of the incident. In addition, positive identification destroys the defense of alibi and renders it impotent, especially where such identification is credible and categorical.[31]

x x x."