G.R. No. 183830, October 19, 2011
Caliso was arraigned and tried for rape with homicide. But instead, the RTC found him guilty of murder and sentenced him to death for killing AAA, a mentally retarded 16-year old girl.
On appeal, The CA affirmed Caliso’s conviction from the RTC, relying on the identification of the witness, Soledad Amegable of Caliso, seeing his back during the commission of the crime due to the physical features after seeing him pass by their barangay several times.
The CA ruled that the positive identification of Caliso ruling that she made a positive identification of Caliso as the perpetrator of the killing.
Whether or not the testimony of a witness attesting to identifying the perpetrator of a crime by merely seeing his back constitutes positive identification that warrants conviction.
No. No matter how honest Amegable’s testimony might have been, her identification of Caliso by a sheer look at his back for a few minutes could not be regarded as positive enough to generate that moral certainty about Caliso being the perpetrator of the killing, absent other reliable circumstances showing him
to be AAA’s killer.
In every criminal prosecution, the identity of the offender, like the crime itself, must be established by proof beyond reasonable doubt. first duty of the Prosecution is not to prove the crime but to prove the identity of the criminal, for even if the commission of the crime can be established, there can be no conviction without proof of identity of the criminal beyond reasonable doubt.
The test to determine the moral certainty of an identification is its imperviousness to skepticism on account of its distinctiveness. To achieve such distinctiveness, the identification evidence should encompass unique physical features or characteristics, like the face, the voice, the dentures, the distinguishing marks or tattoos on the body, fingerprints, DNA, or any other physical facts that set the individual apart from the rest of humanity.