Affidavit withdrawing testimony, NOT a recantation

The Affidavit executed by eyewitness Tessie Asenita is not a recantation. To recant a prior statement is to renounce and withdraw it formally and publicly. In her affidavit, Tessic Asenita did not really recant what she had said during the trial. She only said she wanted to withdraw her testimony because her father, Leonardo Tacadao, Sr., was no longer interested in prosecuting the case against accused-appellant. It is absurd to disregard a testimony that has undergone trial and scrutiny by the court and the parties simply because an affidavit withdrawing the testimony is subsequently presented by the defense. In the first place, any recantation must be tested in a public trial with sufficient opportunity given to the party adversely affected by it to cross-examine the recanting witness. In this case, Tessie Asenita was not recalled to the witness stand to testify on her affidavit. Her affidavit is thus hearsay. It was her husband, Roque Asenita, who was presented and the matters he testified to did not even bear on the substance of Tessie's affidavit. He testified that accused-appellant was not involved in the perpetration of the crime. In the second place, to accept the new evidence uncritically would be to make a solemn trial a mockerv and place the investigation at the mercy of unscrupulous witnesses. For even assuming that Tessie Asenita had made a retraction, this circumstance alone does not require the court to disregard her original testimony. A retraction does not necessarily negate an earlier declaration. For this reason, courts look with disfavor upon retractions because they can easily be obtained from witnesses usually through intimidation or for monetary considerations. Hence, when confronted with a situation where a witness recants his testimony, courts must not automatically exclude the original testimony solely on the basis of the recantation. They should determine which testimony should be given credence through a comparison of the original testimony and the new testimony, applying the general rules of evidence. [G.R. No. 108871. November 19, 1996]