Witness lies in court to save own skin, avoid detection; one of the killers

It is evident to us that the trial judge gave credence to the obviously incredible and patently fabricated testimonies of the prosecution's witnesses. In this case, the trial coourt relied mainly on the testimonies of prosecution witnesses Crispulo Sanchez and Victoriano Damas who swore that they were squatting out in the open, husking corn a mere 10 meters away from the sleeping "Memong", when out of nowhere accused-appellant appeared of the two onlookers, with unsurpassed sangfroid, murdered the victim in his sleep. Moreover, they also testified that after having witnesses the brutal and gruesome slaying of their master, they did not even bother to check if he was still alive, nor did they attempt to seek help from their neighbors. Oddly, they continued husking corn, as if nothing had happened. Such inaction is hardly the normal conduct one may expect from a person under identical circumstances. Furthermore, their reaction immediately thereafter raises eyebrows. However, the trial court simply brushed aside these observations of unnatural behavior and dismissed them as the result of the witnesses having been "shocked into insensibility x x x (and) gripped with fear, their senses in turmoil and their minds incapable of rational judgment." The court a quo then concluded that "(t)hat makes their reaction not really strange or unusual." We disagree. Such unfeeling and unnatural reactions are definitely their reactions not really strange or unusual." We disagree. Such unfeeling and unnatural reactions are definitely inconsistent with human experience and simple common sense. Moreover, the unrebutted testimony of defense witness Catalina Villarta shows that Crispulo Sanchez and Victoriano Damas were definitely not in a state of shock. They were able to converse and lie to the former. This uncanny ability of Crispulo Sanchez and Victoriano Damas to concoct a lie as to the source of the gunshots, and the location and condition of the victim refutes the trial judge's belief that the former were in a state of shocked insensibility. At this point, we cannot help but wonder whether the two were in fact associated with the commission of the crime and were acting thus in order to save their own skins and avoid detection. It will be noted that Crispulo Sanchez tested positive for gunpowder residue and nitrates. Furthermore, their failure to report the crime immediately and to identify the authors thereof, and their initial denial of any knowledge as to the identities of the killers cast a shadow on the veracity of their testimony. [G.R. No. 121195. November 27, 1996]