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FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. NO. 176637 : October 6, 2008]


PEOPE OF T!E P!IIPPINES, Appellee, v. RE"N#DO DE#
TORRE, Appellant
D E $ I S I O N
$#RPIO, J.:
T%e $&'e
This is an appeal from the 4 December 2006 Decision
1
of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-.C. !o. 004"#. The Court of Appeals affirme$ the
# Au%ust 2001 Decision
2
of the Re%ional Trial Court &RTC', !ational Capital
(u$icial Re%ion, )ara*+a,ue Cit-, .ranch 2"/, in Criminal Case !os. /0-
10/4 an$ //-610 fin$in% Re-nal$o Dela Torre - 1urillo &Dela Torre' %uilt-
be-on$ reasonable $oubt of rape.
T%e F&ct'
At aroun$ /200 p.m., on 1# !o3ember 1//0, AAA,
#
4ho 4as then 11 -ears
ol$, 4ent out of the house to bu- barbecue. 5n her 4a- bac6 to the house,
Dela Torre calle$ her an$ pulle$ her to4ar$s a par6e$ 7eep 4here Richie
.isa-a &.isa-a' an$ 8eo Amoroso &Amoroso' 4ere 4aitin%.
Dela Torre brou%ht AAA insi$e the 7eep an$ as6e$ her if she lo3e$ him.
AAA ans4ere$ that she $i$ not lo3e him because he 4as u%l-. Dela Torre
6isse$ AAA on the chee6s an$ lips an$ touche$ her breast an$ 3a%ina.
After 6issin% an$ touchin% AAA, Dela Torre passe$ AAA to .isa-a 4ho too6
his turn in 6issin% an$ touchin% AAA. .isa-a then passe$ AAA to Amoroso
4ho po6e$ a 6nife on AAA9s nec6, remo3e$ her clothes, inserte$ his penis
in her 3a%ina, an$ 6isse$ her. AAA felt pain an$ her 3a%ina ble$.
1ean4hile, AAA9s uncle 4ent out of the house to loo6 for AAA. :hile
loo6in%, he urinate$ near the par6e$ 7eep. e sa4 Dela Torre loo6in% out
from the 7eep an$ a man on top of AAA 4hom, because of lac6 of
illumination, he $i$ not reco%ni;e. The men ran a4a- 4hen the- sa4 AAA9s
uncle. AAA9s uncle trie$ to run after the man 4ho 4as on top of AAA but
4as not able to catch him. e $resse$ AAA, 4ho 4as cr-in% insi$e the
7eep, then brou%ht her to the house.
:hen AAA9s mother arri3e$ at the house, AAA9s uncle tol$ her 4hat
happene$. The- imme$iatel- 4ent to <3a Abe7ero &Abe7ero', )resi$ent of
the 1an%%ahan omeo4ners Association, to report the inci$ent.
Thereafter, baran%a- tano$s loo6e$ for Dela Torre, .isa-a, an$ Amoroso
but 4ere onl- able to fin$ Dela Torre insi$e a hut. The baran%a- tano$s
brou%ht Dela Torre to Abe7ero9s house, then brou%ht him to the police
station 4here AAA positi3el- i$entifie$ him as one of the offen$ers.
Dr. <mmanuel !. Re-es of the !ational ea$,uarters )hilippine !ational
)olice Crime 8aborator- e=amine$ AAA. >n his report $ate$ 14 !o3ember
1//0, he foun$ a $eep healin% laceration at / o9cloc6 position an$ shallo4
healin% lacerations at #, 4, ", 6, an$ ? o9cloc6 positions of the %enital. e
conclu$e$ that his fin$in%s 4ere compatible 4ith recent loss of ph-sical
3ir%init-.
>n an information $ate$ 2/ December 1//0, Assistant )rosecutor Antonietta
)ablo-1e$ina &)ablo-1e$ina' char%e$ Dela Torre, .isa-a, an$ Amoroso
4ith rape2
That on or about the 1#
th
$a- of !o3ember, 1//0, in the Cit- of
)ara*+a,ue, )hilippines an$ 4ithin the 7uris$iction of @the RTC, Dela
TorreA, conspirin% an$ confe$eratin% to%ether @4ith Amoroso an$ .isa-aA,
all of them mutuall- helpin% an$ ai$in% one another, arme$ 4ith a $ea$l-
4eapon, b- means of force an$ intimi$ation $i$ then an$ there 4illfull-,
unla4full- an$ feloniousl- @ha3eA carnal 6no4le$%e 4ith @AAAA, a chil$ 11
-ears of a%e, a%ainst her 4ill.
4
>n another information $ate$ 2/ December 1//0, )ablo-1e$ina char%e$
Dela Torre, .isa-a, an$ Amoroso 4ith acts of lasci3iousness2
That on or about the 1#
th
$a- of !o3ember, 1//0, in the Cit- of
)ara*+a,ue, )hilippines an$ 4ithin the 7uris$iction of @the RTC, Dela
TorreA, conspirin% an$ confe$eratin% to%ether 4ith @.isa-a an$ AmorosoA,
all of them mutuall- helpin% an$ ai$in% one another, 4ith le4$ $esi%n, $i$
then an$ there 4illfull-, unla4full- an$ feloniousl- commit acts of
lasci3iousness upon @AAAA, b- then an$ there 6issin% her on the $ifferent
parts of her face, mashin% her breast an$ touchin% her pri3ate parts,
a%ainst her 4ill.
"
Bince .isa-a 4as alle%e$l- alrea$- $ea$ an$ Amoroso 4as still at lar%e,
trial procee$e$ a%ainst Dela Torre onl-. Dela Torre plea$e$ not %uilt- to
both char%es. e claime$ that he 4as in a hut 4hich 4as ten arms-len%th
&dipa' a4a- from the 7eep 4hen the inci$ent happene$. A certain (o7o
Bestosa &Bestosa' testifie$ that, in$ee$, Dela Torre 4as insi$e the hut 4ith
him on 1# !o3ember 1//0. o4e3er, Bestosa slept an$ he $i$ not 6no4 if
Dela Torre left the hut 4hile he 4as asleep.
T%e RT$(' R)*+,-
>n its # Au%ust 2001 Decision, the RTC $ismisse$ the char%e for acts of
lasci3iousness an$ foun$ Dela Torre %uilt- be-on$ reasonable $oubt of
rape2
.!EREFORE, PRE/ISES $ONSIDERED, Crim. Case !o. /0-610 for
Acts of 8asci3iousness as a%ainst Re-nal$o $ela Torre is
or$ere$ DIS/ISSED an$ fin$in%Re0,&*1o 1e*& Torre G2IT" be-on$
reasonable $oubt for the crime of rape in Crim. Case !o. /0-10/4 as
$efine$ an$ penali;e$ un$er Art. 266-A par. 1&a' an$ &$' of the Re3ise$
)enal Co$e in relation to Art. 266-. 1
st
par. of R)C as amen$e$ b- in @sicA
RA 0#"# an$ consi$erin% the a%%ra3atin% circumstance of use of a $ea$l-
4eapon an$ the crime ha3in% been committe$ b- more than one person
4ithout an- miti%atin% circumstances, accuse$ RE"N#DO DE#
TORRE is hereb- sentence$ to the supreme penalt- of $eath b- lethal
in7ection an$ suffer the accessor- penalties pro3i$e$ b- la4 specificall- Art.
40 of the Re3ise$ )enal Co$e an$ to in$emnif- @AAAA, the pri3ate
complainant, the amount of )hp ?",000.00 in line 4ith e=istin%
7urispru$ence, )hp ?",000.00 for moral $ama%es an$ )hp ?",000.00 as
e=emplar- $ama%es.
6
The RTC hel$ that &1' AAA9s testimon- 4as cre$ibleC &2' AAA 4as
une,ui3ocal an$ e=plicit in i$entif-in% Dela Torre as one of the offen$ersC
&#' there 4as conspirac- amon% Dela Torre, .isa-a, an$ AmorosoC &4' Dela
Torre9s flat an$ unsubstantiate$ $enial $i$ not $eser3e an- si%nificant
consi$erationC an$ &"' the alle%e$ acts of lasci3iousness 4ere merel- acts
preparator- to or part of the rape.
5n appeal, Dela Torre conten$e$ that the RTC erre$ in fin$in% him %uilt-
be-on$ reasonable $oubt. e claime$ that the $eclaration of AAA9s uncle in
his s4orn affi$a3it $ate$ 16 !o3ember 1//0 that he $i$ not 6no4 the
offen$ers an$ his act of i$entif-in% Dela Torre as one of the offen$ers
$urin% the trial 4ere inconsistent. Durthermore, Dela Torre conten$e$ that
i$entification 4as $ifficult because the place 4here the inci$ent happene$
4as $ar6.
T%e $o)rt o3 #44e&*'( R)*+,-
>n its 4 December 2006 Decision, the Court of Appeals affirme$ the RTC9s
Decision 4ith mo$ification of the penalt-. >n 6eepin% 4ith Republic Act !o.
/#46, the Court of Appeals re$uce$ the penalt- from $eath to reclusion
perpetua 4ith all its accessor- penalties.
The Court of Appeals hel$ that &1' the me$ical fin$in%s 4ere consistent 4ith
AAA9s testimon- that she 4as rape$C &2' there 4as no sho4in% that AAA9s
uncle coul$ not ha3e possibl- i$entifie$ Dela Torre at the place 4here the
inci$ent happene$C &#' AAA positi3el- i$entifie$ Dela Torre as one of the
offen$ersC &4' there 4as no ill-moti3e on AAA9s partC &"' AAA9s testimon-
4as strai%htfor4ar$ an$ can$i$C &6' testimonies of -oun% rape 3ictims are
accor$e$ %reat 4ei%htC &?' the $efense of $enial is 4ea6 an$ cannot pre3ail
o3er positi3e i$entificationC an$ &0' there 4as conspirac- amon% Dela Torre,
.isa-a, an$ Amoroso.
ence, this appeal.
T%e $o)rt(' R)*+,-
The Court fin$s Dela Torre %uilt- of rape.
An appeal in a criminal case opens the entire case for re3ie4. The Court
can correct errors unassi%ne$ in the appeal.
?
The lo4er courts foun$ that there 4as conspirac- amon% Dela Torre,
.isa-a, an$ Amoroso. The RTC hel$ that2
@IAt +' 5)+te &44&re,t t%&t @De*& Torre, 6+'&0&, &,1 #7oro'oA co,'4+re1
&,1 7)t)&**0 %e*4e1 o,e &,ot%er +, r&4+,- t%e 0o),- 8+ct+7. Re-nal$o
$ela Torre an$ Ritchie .isa-a $i$ not $o an-thin% to stop Amoroso in
ra3ishin% the 3ictim an$ the- e3en acte$ as loo6outs an$ it coul$ be safel-
surmise$ that the- 4ere 7ust 4aitin% for their turns after Amoroso shall ha3e
finishe$ rapin% the 3ictim 4ere it not for the su$$en appearance of the
3ictim9s uncle = = = that prompte$ the three misfits to scamper an$
$isappear in the co3er of $ar6ness.
0
&Emphasis supplied'crala4librar-
The Court of Appeals hel$ that, EConsi$erin% that the unrebutte$ testimon-
of the 3ictim sho4e$ the combine$ actuations of all the accuse$, inclu$in%
@Dela TorreA, clearl- in$icatin% a common $esi%n to commit the crime of
rape, conspirac- 4as satisfactoril- pro3e$.E
/
The Court a%rees. Conspirac- e=ists 4hen the acts of the accuse$
$emonstrate a common $esi%n to4ar$s the accomplishment of the same
unla4ful purpose.
10
>n the present case, the acts of Dela Torre, .isa-a, an$
Amoroso clearl- in$icate a unit- of action2 &1' Dela Torre calle$ AAA an$
brou%ht her insi$e the 7eepC &2' .isa-a an$ Amoroso 4ere 4aitin% insi$e
the 7eepC &#' Dela Torre 6isse$ an$ touche$ AAA 4hile .isa-a an$ Amoroso
4atche$C &4' Dela Torre passe$ AAA to .isa-aC &"' .isa-a 6isse$ an$
touche$ AAA 4hile Dela Torre an$ Amoroso 4atche$C &6' .isa-a passe$
AAA to AmorosoC an$ &?' Amoroso inserte$ his penis in AAA9s 3a%ina an$
6isse$ her 4hile Dela Torre an$ .isa-a 4atche$.
Bince there 4as conspirac- amon% Dela Torre, .isa-a, an$ Amoroso, the
act of an- one 4as the act of all an$ each of them is e,uall- %uilt- of all the
crimes committe$.
11
The lo4er courts foun$ Dela Torre %uilt- be-on$ reasonable $oubt of rape.
The RTC hel$ that2
:hile @itA is true that it 4as onl- 8eo Amoroso 4ho actuall- ra3ishe$ the
3ictim base$ on the testimon- of the pri3ate complainant that Amoroso
succee$e$ in insertin% his penis to her pri3ate parts an$ that Re-nal$o $ela
Torre an$ Ritchie .isa-a merel- 6isse$ her an$ fon$le$ her pri3ate parts,
accuse$ $ela Torre can li6e4ise be hel$ liable for the bestial acts of
Amoroso as it is ,uite apparent that the three of them conspire$ an$
mutuall- helpe$ one another in rapin% the -oun% 3ictim.
12
The Court of Appeals hel$ that2
@:Ahile @Dela TorreA $i$ not ha3e carnal 6no4le$%e 4ith @AAAA, his tacit an$
spontaneous participation an$ cooperation of pullin% her to4ar$s the
par6e$ 7eep, molestin% her an$ $oin% nothin% to pre3ent the commission of
the rape, ma$e him a co-conspirator. As such, he 4as properl- a$7u$%e$ as
a principal in the commission of the crime.
1#
The Court a%rees. Durin% the trial, AAA testifie$ that Amoroso rape$ her2
A2 Pinasa ako ni Ritchie @.Aisa-a kay 8eo Amoroso at noong na kay 8eo
Amorosona ako ay hinubad ang short@sA ko at @TA-shirt ko.
F2 Sino ang naghubadGcrala4re$
A2 Si 8eo Amoroso po.
F2 Noong hinubaran ka, ano ang ginawa @nina Dela Torre at .isa-aAG
crala4re$
A2 Nasa likod po sila ng 7eep.
F2 Ano ang ginagawa nilaGcrala4re$
A2 Nakatingin po sa amin.
F2 At noong hinubad na ni 8eo Amoroso @iyongA shorts at @TA-
shirt mo, ano ang ginawa niya sa iyoGcrala4re$
A2 Pinasok niya po ang ari niya sa ari ko.
F2 Noong hinuhubaran ka na, anong posisyon niyo noonGcrala4re$
A2 Naka-higa po.
F2 Noong nakahubad ka na at nakahiga ano naman ang ginagawa ng
dalawaGcrala4re$
A2 Nakatingin po sa amin.
F2 Noong hinuhubaran ka, nanlaban ka baGcrala4re$
A2 Hindi na po.
F2 BakitGcrala4re$
A2 ay kutsilyo po kasi siya.
F2 Sino ang may kutsilyoGcrala4re$
A2 Si 8eo Amoroso po.
F2 Ano ang ginawa niya sa kutsilyoGcrala4re$
A2 @!inutokA po @sa akinA.
F2 SaanGcrala4re$
A2 Sa leeg po.
F2 Nagawa ba ni 8eo Amoroso ang ipasok ang ari niya sa ari
moG Hinubad ba niya ang shorts mo at shorts niyaGcrala4re$
A2 "po.
F2 PagkataposGcrala4re$
A2 #oon niya ako inano.
F2 Anong inanoGcrala4re$
A2 Pinasok niya po.
F2 #inapaan ka baGcrala4re$
A2 "po.
F2 At naipasokGcrala4re$
A2 "po.
F2 Nasaktan ka baGcrala4re$
A2 "po.
F2 Pagkatapos ipasok niya ang ari niya sa ari mo, ano naman ang
ginagawa ng dalawaGcrala4re$
A2 Nakaupo po sila.
F2 Ano paGcrala4re$
A2 Nakatingin po sa amin.
F2 Anong nangyari pagkataposGcrala4re$
A2 @HinalikanA po ako ni 8eo Amoroso.
2 = = = =
F2 Noong !o3ember 1# ay na-rape kaGcrala4re$
A2 "po.
F2 Naipasok ba ng akusado yung ari niyaGcrala4re$
A2 "po.
F2 Noong pinasok niya ay may dugo baGcrala4re$
A2 "po.
F2 ay sugatGcrala4re$
A2 "po.
F2 Alin ang naduguanG @$yongA pant- mo ba ay may dugoGcrala4re$
A2 "po.
F2 #ugoGcrala4re$
A2 "po.
14
>n rape cases, the cre$ibilit- of the complainant9s testimon- is almost
al4a-s the sin%le most important issue. :hen the complainant9s testimon-
is cre$ible, it ma- be the sole basis for the accuse$9s con3iction.
1"
>n the
present case, AAA9s testimon- 4as clear, positi3e, con3incin%, an$
consistent. The lo4er courts foun$ AAA9s testimon- cre$ible. The RTC hel$
that2
@>Af a 4oman sa-s she has been rape$, she sa-s in effect all that is
necessar- to sho4 that she has in$ee$ been rape$. This is especiall- true
in the case at bar 4here the4r+8&te co74*&+,&,t 9&' o,*0 11 0e&r' o3
&-e &t t%e t+7e o3 t%e +,c+1e,t &,1 %er te't+7o,0 *+:e t%e te't+7o,+e'
o3 ot%er r&4e 8+ct+7' 9%o &re 0o),- &,1 o3 te,1er &-e, +' cre1+b*e.
S%e 1+1 ,ot %e'+t&te o,e b+t +, 4o'+t+8e*0 +1e,t+30+,- Re0,&*1o 1e*&
Torre &' o,e o3 t%e &''&+*&,t' 4ho too6 a$3anta%e of her -outhful an$
frail bo$- in satisf-in% their lust for the flesh.
16
&Emphasis
supplied'crala4librar-
The Court of Appeals hel$ that, EA rape 3ictim9s testimon-, 4hen
strai%htfor4ar$ an$ can$i$, = = = unfla4e$ b- inconsistencies or
contra$ictions in its material points, must be %i3en full faith an$ cre$it, more
so in the case of a chil$-3ictim, as in this case, 4hose -outh an$ immaturit-
are consi$ere$ ba$%es of truth.E
1?
The e3aluation of the cre$ibilit- of 4itnesses is a matter best left to the trial
court because it has the opportunit- to obser3e the 4itnesses an$ their
$emeanor $urin% the trial. >t has the strate%ic position to $etermine 4hether
4itnesses are tellin% the truth. Thus, the Court accor$s %reat respect to the
trial court9s fin$in%s, unless the trial court o3erloo6e$ substantial facts
4hich coul$ ha3e affecte$ the outcome of the case.
10
>n People v. #y,
1/
the
Court hel$ that2
@:Aell-settle$ is the rule that the fin$in%s of facts an$ assessment of
cre$ibilit- of 4itnesses is a matter best left to the trial court because of its
uni,ue position of ha3in% obser3e$ that elusi3e an$ incommunicable
e3i$ence of the 4itnesses9 $eportment on the stan$ 4hile testif-in%, 4hich
opportunit- is $enie$ to the appellate courts. 5nl- the trial 7u$%e can
obser3e the furti3e %lance, blush of conscious shame, hesitation, flippant or
sneerin% tone, calmness, si%h, or the scant or full reali;ation of an oath - all
of 4hich are useful ai$s for an accurate $etermination of a 4itness9 honest-
an$ sincerit-. The trial court9s fin$in%s are accor$e$ finalit-, unless there
appears in the recor$ some fact or circumstance of 4ei%ht 4hich the lo4er
court ma- ha3e o3erloo6e$, misun$erstoo$ or misappreciate$ an$ 4hich, if
properl- consi$ere$, 4oul$ alter the results of the case. Hnless certain
facts of substance an$ 3alue 4ere o3erloo6e$ 4hich, if consi$ere$, mi%ht
affect the result of the case, its assessment must be respecte$ for it ha$
the opportunit- to obser3e the con$uct an$ $emeanor of the 4itnesses
4hile testif-in% an$ $etect if the- are l-in%.
Dela Torre conten$e$ that the RTC o3erloo6e$ some substantial facts2 &1'
AAA9s uncle9s $eclaration in his s4orn affi$a3it that he $i$ not 6no4 the
offen$ers an$ his act of i$entif-in% Dela Torre as one of the offen$ers
$urin% the trial 4ere inconsistentC an$ &2' i$entification 4as $ifficult because
the place 4here the inci$ent happene$ 4as $ar6.
The Court is not impresse$. Dela Torre9s contentions are triflin% matters
4hich $o not affect the outcome of the case. <3en if his contentions 4ere
$eeme$ substantial, the outcome of the case 4oul$ still not be affecte$.
Dirst, AAA9s uncle ma- not ha3e personall- 6no4n the offen$ers but, after
4itnessin% the inci$ent, he 4as able to i$entif- Dela Torre $urin% the trial as
one of the offen$ers. The Court notes that AAA9s uncle positi3el- i$entifie$
Dela Torre as one of the offen$ers e3en at the time he e=ecute$ the s4orn
affi$a3it. The s4orn affi$a3it pro3i$es2
T2 %ilala mo ba @iyongA mga umabuso sa pamangkin moGcrala4re$
B2 Hindi po.
T2 ay ipapakita akong tao @sa iyoA, ano ang masasabi mo sa kanyaG
crala4re$
B2 Siya po &#33+&,t 4o+,te1 to t%e 4er'o, o3 RE"N#DO DE#
TORRE 0 /2RIO +,'+1e t%e DID Roo7 &' o,e o3 t%e tr+o +,'+1e t%e
;ee4 4atchin% the se=ual intercourse bet4een the 3ictim an$ suspect 8<5
A15R5B5'.
20
&Emphasis supplied'crala4librar-
Becon$, there 4as no sho4in% that 3isibilit- 4as impossible at the place
4here the inci$ent happene$. >n fact, Dela Torre himself a$mitte$ that the
place 4as not too $ar6 an$ that 3isibilit- 4as possible - he testifie$ that he
4as able to see AAA, AAA9s uncle, an$ Amoroso at the place2
A2 Nakita ko lang po si @###A na hawak po siya ni eo #7oro'o.
F2 %ailan mo nakitaGcrala4re$
A2 Noong !o3ember 1#, 1//0 po, @/ p.m.A
F2 Saang lugar mo sila nakitaGcrala4re$
A2 #oon po sa may 7eep, sa may paradahan po.
2 = = = =
F2 At noong makita mo sina 8eo Amoroso at @AAAA, ano ang ginagawa
nila, kung meron manGcrala4re$
A2 Si eo po, nasa loob ng ;ee4. At si @###A naman po, nasa baba
siya ng;ee4, hawak-hawak siya ng tiyuhin niya.
21
&Emphasis
supplied'crala4librar-
The Court mo$ifies Dela Torre9s ci3il liabilit-. e is still or$ere$ to pa-
AAA )?",000 as ci3il in$emnit- an$ )?",000 as moral $ama%es. >nstea$
of )?",000, ho4e3er, he is or$ere$ to pa- AAA onl-)2",000 as e=emplar-
$ama%es.
22
.!EREFORE, the Court #FFIR/S the 4 December 2006 Decision of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-.C. !o. 004"# 4ith
the /ODIFI$#TION that the e=emplar- $ama%es shall be )2",000.
SO ORDERED.