Death, like a thief in the night, strikes at the most unexpected time.

Ryan Feria was 17 years of age and a second year Electronics and Communication Engineering student at the University of Baguio. He was bound for home at San Felipe, Zambales when he boarded Victory Liner Bus No. 729 on October 3, 1996. It was to be his last journey.

The killing of Feria was witnessed by Arnold Salvador, a chicharon vendor and Dominador Sarmiento, a security guard.

At around 10:15 o’clock in the morning, Salvador was selling chicharon inside Victory Liner Bus No. 729, while parked at the Siesta Bus Stop, San Roque Tarlac, Tarlac. Within his view was Edwin Alcodia who was seated at the 4th row of the bus. He tarried while waiting for the other passengers to board the vehicle. Thereupon, he noticed Feria boarding the bus. While Feria was still at the first rung of the bus’ doorsteps, Alcodia suddenly stood up, held Feria’s neck and stabbed him three (3) times with a balisong. Feria managed to get off the bus and ran towards the parking space where he fell down. Alcodia chased Feria but Sarmiento, a security guard, stopped him, ordered him to raise his hand and took the balisong.

When Salvador was called to testify, he recounted that he was making rounds at the Siesta Victory Liner Terminal. He posted himself three (3) meters away from Bus No. 729 to inform the passengers that it would be leaving soon. He then saw Alcodia approaching Feria and stabbed him. Feria fell from the bus when Alcodia released him. Somehow Feria was able to run a few meters away from Alcodia but he collapsed on the concrete pavement. When he saw Alcodia chasing Feria, he blocked his path while aiming his gun at Alcodia. He ordered Alcodia to raise his hand and thereafter took the balisong from him.

Feria was rushed to the Tarlac Provincial Hospital for treatment but later on pronounced dead by the hospital authorities.

Dr. Benjamin Fabie, a resident pathologist of the Tarlac Provincial Hospital, testified that he performed an autopsy on Feria’s cadaver. His Autopsy Report shows that the victim sustained three (3) stab wounds on the chest and left shoulder.

Alcodia, on his part, presented a different story. He testified that when he stood up to alight from the bus Feria who was from the front side of the bus approached him and attempted to stab him. He evaded the thrust and grappled with Feria for the possession of the knife. After wrestling the knife from Feria, he stabbed him. However, he could no longer remember how many times he stabbed the victim. Thereafter, he alighted from the bus and surrendered himself to Sarmiento.

The Supreme Court found Alcodia guilty and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of resclusion perpetua. The highest court of the land did not believe the defense that he was just protecting himself from the unlawful aggression of Feria. The Court said:

despite accused-appellant’s assertions that Feria was the aggressor and he (accused-appellant) engaged in a struggle for possession of the balisong, he did not sustain any injury. Surely, a plea of self-defense cannot be justifiably appreciated when it is extremely doubtful by itself. Not only this, accused-appellant’s testimony was uncorroborated by any separate and competent evidence. The defense failed to present anyone who could confirm his story, specifically that the victim was the aggressor. This, all the more, renders his story dubious.”

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See full text: PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. EDWIN ALCODIA Y SIMON (G.R. No. 134121 March 6, 2003)

Deccan Herald