Factual findings of trial court generally binding on appeal

The pivotal issue is one of credibility. In this connection, the prosecution leans heavily on the testimony of Agustin Tan, the lone eyewitness to the incident. We have meticulously examined Augustin Tans account relative to the alleged kidnapping and murder of the victim, Salvador Leano, Sr. We find the same fraught with contradictions and inconsistencies and inherent incredibilities that we cannot agree, much more approve of, the trial courts reliance on his testimony as a basis for convicting the appellants. While it is settled that conclusions and findings of fact of the trial court, as well as the assessment of the witnesses credibility, are binding on us, yet it is equally settled that this rule admits of an exception, i.e., where the trial court ignored and overlooked facts and circumstances of weight and influence which when considered could alter the result. In the case at bench, we find that there is more to the exception than to the rule. [G.R. No. 119722. December 2, 1996]