Mere denial and alibi are weak defenses

Someone accused of a crime before the Court should base her defense on more than merely denying the charges or claiming to be somewhere else when the crime occurred. These are often not strong enough to be reliable legal defenses.

The Supreme Court  has many, many decisions ruling that mere denial and alibi are weak defenses that cannot prevail over the positive and categorical testimony of a prosecution witness. Mere denial, if unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, is a self-serving assertion that deserves no weight in law. And the defense of alibi is also a flimsy shield against conviction.

 

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. ALBERTO ANTICAMARA y CABILLO and FERNANDO CALAGUAS FERNANDEZ a.k.a. LANDO CALAGUAS

[G.R. No. 178771, June 8, 2011]

Between the categorical statements of the prosecution witness, on one hand, and the bare denial of the appellant, on the other, the former must perforce prevail. An affirmative testimony is far stronger than a negative testimony especially when it comes from the mouth of a credible witness. Alibi and denial, if not substantiated by clear and convincing evidence, are negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of weight in law. They are considered with suspicion and always received with caution, not only because they are inherently weak and unreliable but also because they are easily fabricated and concocted. Denial cannot prevail over the positive testimony of prosecution witnesses who were not shown to have any ill-motive to testify against the appellants.

As to the defense of alibi. Aside from the testimony of appellant Lando that he was in Tarlac at the time of the incident, the defense was unable to show that it was physically impossible for Lando to be at the scene of the crime. Basic is the rule that for alibi to prosper, the accused must prove that he was somewhere else when the crime was committed and that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime. Physical impossibility refers to the distance between the place where the appellant was when the crime transpired and the place where it was committed, as well as the facility of access between the two places. Where there is the least chance for the accused to be present at the crime scene, the defense of alibi must fail. During the trial of the case, Lando testified that the distance between his house in Brgy. Maligaya, San Miguel, Tarlac to the town of Rosales, Pangasinan is only around forty (40) kilometers. Such distance can be traversed in less than 30 minutes using a private car and when the travel is continuous. Thus, it was not physically impossible for the appellant Lando to be at the locus criminis at the time of the incident. In addition, positive identification destroys the defense of alibi and renders it impotent, especially where such identification is credible and categorical.

 

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. DONATO BULASAG Y ARELLANO ALIAS “DONG”

[G.R. No. 172869, July 28, 2008]

Nothing is more settled in criminal law jurisprudence than that denial and alibi cannot prevail over the positive and categorical testimony of the witness. Denial is an intrinsically weak defense which must be buttressed with strong evidence of non-culpability to merit credibility. Alibi is an inherently weak defense, which is viewed with suspicion and received with caution because it can easily be fabricated. For alibi to prosper, appellant must prove not only that he was at some other place when the crime was committed but that it was physically impossible for him to be at the locus criminis at the time of its commission. Appellant’s own evidence shows that he was in the immediate environs when the incident occurred. For he stated that he was just in his own house, barely three meters away from the house of the victim, Estelita.

 

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. GONZALO PENASO @ “LULU”

[G.R. No. 121980. February 23, 2000]

We find complainant’s testimony credible, while appellant’s defenses of alibi and denial are lacking in truth and candor. Nothing is more settled in criminal law jurisprudence than that alibi and denial cannot prevail over the positive and categorical testimony of the complainant.Alibi is an inherently weak defense, which is viewed with suspicion and received with caution because it can easily be fabricated. Denial is an intrinsically weak defense which must be buttressed with strong evidence of non-culpability to merit credibility. We find that despite his stance that several persons watched him demonstrate how to cook banana chips in Ubay, Bohol in the morning of November 16, 1989, appellant failed to present any disinterested witness to support his claim. For alibi to prosper, it is not enough that accused show he was elsewhere at the time the crime was committed, but there must also be clear and convincing proof that it was impossible for him to be at the locus criminis at the time of its commission.

With respect to the appellant’s claim that the victim was attending her classes at the time she was raped, we note that complainant’s explanation that it was their vacant period, was not rebutted by the defense. All told, we see no reason to depart from the rule that positive identification of the malefactor prevails over the defenses of alibi and denial.

 

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. BOBBY AGUNOS

[G.R. No. 130961. October 13, 1999]

The shopworn rule is that for alibi to prosper, it is not enough that accused was at some place else at the time of the commission of the crime, it must also be proved by clear and convincing evidence that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission and commit the crime.  His aunt’s testimony that he was seen sleeping outside the polling place from 1:00 oclock to 3:00 oclock in the early morning of May 9, 1995 must be taken with a grain of salt inasmuch as accused-appellant failed to present other disinterested witnesses aside from a close relation to corroborate his claim that he was nowhere near complainants home at the time of the commission of the crime.

  

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. JOVITO BARONA, FELIPE FERRARIZ, ELPIDIO SARA, JR., @ “Matias Sara” and ROBERTO BARONA, @ “Pewe Barona,” 

[G.R. No. 119595. January 25, 2000] 

The bare denials and alibi interposed by accused-appellants when juxtaposed with the positive declarations of the prosecution witnesses is not worthy of credence. Recognized as inherently weak defenses, which is the usual refuge of scoundrels, alibi and denial must be buttressed by other convincing evidence of non-culpability to merit credibility. It all the more fails where the assailants were positively identified by credible witness, against whom no ulterior motive can be attributed, as in this case. Records, show that the place where accused-appellants claimed they were at the time of the incident ranges from a distance of thirty (30) meters to about a kilometer away from the place of the crime. Other than these unsubstantiated, self-serving and negative statements of their alleged respective locations, no other evidence was presented to show that it was impossible for them to physically traverse the two places within a short span of time as to preclude their presence in the locus criminis. Such self-serving statements deserve no weight in law and cannot be given greater evidentiary value over the testimony of witnesses who testified on positive points. A distance of about five kilometers between the scene of the crime and the whereabouts of the accused has been considered as not so far as to negate physical presence at the scene of the crime. With more reason then, the fact that a mere neighbor whose house is about fifty (50) meters from the locus criminis which obviously can be negotiated by mere walking negates the posture of alibi. As consistently held by the court, for alibi to prosper, there must be potent proof that the accused could not have been physically present at the place of the crime or its vicinity at the time of its commission. As mentioned earlier, no such, convincing proof was presented to substantiate their proffered defenses.

 

Atty. Francesco C. Britanico

 

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