Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I challenge Agra to wear black today

I challenge Justice secretary Alberto Agra to wear black today, even just to prove that he has no dandruff. If he wears his favorite color, which is orange, then, so be it. At least that's the color of the shirt he will be wearing once the term of this administration ends by June.

Agra should be ashamed for what he did, and to think that he was once a law professor of the Ateneo.

How could alibi be used to fully extinguish culpability for a crime? Alibi is a very weak defense tactic. In People vs. Mosquerra (G.R. No. 129209, August 9, 2001), the Supreme Court ruled that:

Accused defense of [sic] alibi is not worthy of belief. It has been repeatedly ruled that alibi is a weak defense as it is easy to concoct and fabricate. It become weaker in the face of the positive identification of the accused by an eye witnesses [sic] with no improper motive to falsely testify. More, it is not sufficient for the accused to alleged [sic] that he was away from the scene of the crime at the time of its commission. He must also present a clear and convincing proof that it is physically impossible for him to be at the locus criminis while the crime is in progress. That physical impossibility is not present in this case. The records show that Jimmy Mosquerra's residence is about one and a half (1½) kilometers away from the crime scene. . . . Its distance could be negotiated in just a few minutes only, especially, when one uses a motor vehicle which is of common use for travel today.

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.
Agra, as both Solicitor General and DOJ secretary at the same time, should probably know this--that alibi is not an affirmative defense.

What is most surprising is this---former Justice secretary Raul Gonzales was even the one who provided ARMM governor Zaldy Ampatuan his alibi by saying that the accused was inside Malacanang palace while the crime was being committed in Datu Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao.

In a conspiracy, the conspirators can actually be in some other place while a crime is being committed. For example, in this case, there is a higher probability that the masterminds of the crime were simply not there when the crime was committed. Conspiracy, in Philippine jurisprudence, is defined as an act committed by a band who, conspiring together, committed a crime. According to court records, Ampatuan is one of the conspirators. And being accused of such, the only possible and strongest reason for his acquittal is simply an affirmative defense, meaning, it should be proved beyond reasonable doubt that Ampatuan was never even there or he did not even know the plan of his other relatives against their political enemy.

I doubt it if Zaldy did not even know the plan to cause harm against the Mangundadatus. As a government official, it is the responsibility of the person who heard or know of some conspiracy to report such to the authorities. Zaldy should have been at least held liable for not acting on an information which he probably knew or received prior to the commission of the crime. And since this will still be heard before a court of law, at least Agra should have given the victims of the crime some latitude knowing that the crime was committed by a group of people, not by one individual.

In People vs. Bulasag (GR. no. 172869, 28 July 2008), it is ruled that: