G.R. No. 211003. April 23, 2014


We resolve the petition for review on certiorari of petitioner Miguel Reyes, assailing the January 17, 2014 decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 32459.

On September 28, 1996, Antonio Lubi, Liberato Villanueva and Gregorio Celino were drinking beer at a public market in Sariaya, Quezon when the petitioner - the barangay captain of Barangay Poblacion III -passed by, and joined them. In the course of their conversation, the petitioner stated that no elections would take place; Liberato countered that if the elections were to push through, he would run for the post of barangay captain against the petitioner. Antonio expressed his agreement with Liberato and his support for him. The turn of the conversation gravely irritated the petitioner who then left the drinking session.

The petitioner returned moments later, and pointed a gun at Antonio; he then told him "tapusin na natin ang laban" and fired the gun at Antonio, hitting him in the nostrils. The petitioner and Liberato then exchanged gunfire, resulting in Liberato's gunshot wounds that eventually led to his death.

The prosecution charged the petitioner with the crimes of murder and frustrated murder before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 60, Lucena City. In its decision dated February 10, 2009, the RTC found the petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of frustrated homicide, and sentenced him to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six months and one day of prision correccional, as minimum, to six years and one day of prision mayor, as, maximum. The Court, however, acquitted the petitioner of the murder charge.On appeal, the CA affirmed the RTC decision. The CA held that Antonio's positive identification of the petitioner as the person who shot him, coupled with SPO3 Manalo's report that there were 12 slugs recovered at the crime scene coming from the petitioner's .38 pistol, showed that the petitioner indeed shot Antonio. The Court also found the petitioner's claim that the shooting was merely accidental to be unmeritorious.

In the present petition for review on certiorari, the petitioner alleges that the prosecution failed to clearly establish that he was the person who shot Antonio. In the alternative, he argues that Antonio's shooting was accidental, as the latter was merely caught in his crossfire with Liberato.

We find the petitioner's guilt for shooting Antonio well-established. The latter testified that the petitioner aimed a gun at him and then shot him. Significantly, the petitioner failed to refute or discredit this testimony. Likewise, per Firearms Identification Report No. B-055-96 of Police Inspector Gerardo Umayao, the 12 fired cartridge cases (Exh. "G-1" to "G-12") recovered from the crime scene and the bullet (Exh. "GU") which hit Antonio came from the petitioner's .38 Mark IV pistol with serial number SG06181E. Under these circumstances, there can be no conclusion other than that the petitioner did indeed shoot Antonio.

As the CA did, we find unmeritorious the petitioner's alternative defense that the victim's shooting was merely accidental. This uncorroborated claim fails in light of the positive declaration of Antonio that the petitioner aimed his gun at him, uttered "tapusin na natin ang laban," and then fired. We point out in this regard that the courts a quo found Antonio's testimony credible and convincing; nothing in the presented evidence causes us to doubt this factual findings and to disbelieve Antonio's testimony.

WHEREFORE, we resolve to DENY the petition for lack of merit.


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