Witness credibility impaired by highly retentive memory as to small details but faltering memory on equally significant matters

Similarly, the Court is astonished by Agustin Tans highly retentive memory as to the minute details of the material incident even to the extent of quoting verbatim the exact statements of appellant Nemesio and the victim, words uttered seven years ago. However, when asked on equally significant matters, Tans memory faltered and his reasoning betrayed absurdity. Thus, when Tan, who claims to be an inspector for the Unido party, was asked the name of the Inspector or watcher of the Unido party for his own barangay, he simply could not answer. In this connection, we advert to the observation laid down by Justice Street seventy five years ago in U.S. vs. Burns: The experience of courts and the general observation of humanity teach us that the natural limitations of our inventive faculties are such that if a witness undertakes to fabricate and deliver in court a false narrative containing numerous details, he is almost certain to fall into fatal inconsistencies, to make statements which can be readily refuted, or to expose in his demeanor the falsity of his message. For this reason it will be found that prejurers usually confine themselves to the incidents immediately related to the principal fact about which they testify, and when asked about collateral facts by which their truthfulness could be tested, their answers not infrequently take the stereotyped form of such expressions as I dont know or I dont remember. [G.R. No. 119722. December 2, 1996]