Alibi

To some “alibi” means “excuse” for not performing or doing something. In law however, it means “elsewhere” and it is a defense used by the accused to deny his involvement in a crime of which he is charged with because at the time of the commission he was elsewhere. This is a very common defense used in our courts but unfortunately it is considered a weak one. In the very famous case of Hubert Web, the case against him was dismissed because the court believed in Hubert’s alibi that he was in the United States on the date and time the Vizconde massacre took place.

People vs. Mosquerra

Jimmy and Jesemiel Mosquerra were accused of murdering Nelson Soro by stabbing. There was an altercation between the accused and the victim during a basketball game in their barangay which escalated to a brawl and resulted in the stabbing of Nelson. During trial, Jimmy raised the defense of alibi claiming that at the time of the alleged incident which caused the death of Nelson he transported several passengers using his tricycle and even had a drinking spree with several persons in another place. He even presented a witness to support his claim. After trial the Trial Court found them guilty of murder disregarding Jimmy’s alibi saying that it is a weak defense and could not prevail over the positive identification by a prosecution witness. Jimmy appealed his conviction saying that the trial court made an error in convicting him for the crime.

Alibi is Weak

The Supreme Court sustained Mosquerra’s conviction. “We have held in a number of cases that alibi is an inherently weak and unreliable defense, for it is easy to fabricate and difficult to disprove.” (G.R. No. 129209, August 9, 2001) The defense tried to discredit the positive identification by one of the prosecution witness but what was presented were mere affidavits and the affiants were not presented in open court. These were considered hearsay. Said the Court: “To establish alibi, the accused must prove (a) that he was present at another place at the time of the perpetration of the crime, and (b) that it was physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime. Physical impossibility “refers to the distance between the place where the accused was when the crime transpired and the place where it was committed, as well as the facility of access between the two places.” In this case the accused failed to prove that he was in another place and that it was physically impossible for him to be in crime scene. The witnesses he presented even contradicted each other on several points. For his failure to substantiate his alibi, Jimmy’s conviction was affirmed.

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