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A mental retardate is not per se disqualified from testifying. AAA is a mental retardate. When her
mother Amparo Hachero (Amparo) left for Singapore to work, she entrusted Evelyn to the care
and custody of her sister Jovita Guban (Jovita) and the latters husband appellant Salvador. In
August 1996, Jovita left the house to meet someone, leaving Evelyn with Golimlim. Taking
advantage of the situation, Golimlim instructed AAA to sleep, and soon after she had laid down, he
kissed her and took off her clothes. As he poked at her an object which to Evelyn felt like a knife, he
proceeded to insert his penis into her vagina. When Jovita arrived, AAA told her about what
Golimlim did to her. Jovita, however, did not believe her. Lorna Hachero (Lorna), AAAs half-
sister, received a letter from their mother Amparo instructing her to fetch Evelyn from Sorsogon
and allow her to stay in Quezon City. Dutifully, Lorna immediately proceeded to Golimlims home
and brought Evelyn with her to Manila. A week after she brought Evelyn to stay with
her, Lorna suspected that her sister was pregnant as she noticed her growing belly. She thereupon
brought her to a doctor for check-up and ultrasound examination. The examinations revealed that
Evelyn was indeed pregnant. She thus asked her sister how she became pregnant, to which Evelyn
replied that appellant had sexual intercourse with her while holding a knife. The Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Sorsogon convicted Golimlim of the crime of rape. On appeal, the Court of
Appeals affirmed the conviction.


Whether or not the testimony of a mental retardate should be given weight and credence


The trial judges assessment of the credibility of witnesses testimonies is accorded great respect on
appeal in the absence of grave abuse of discretion on its part, it having had the advantage of
actually examining both real and testimonial evidence including the demeanor of the witnesses. A
mental retardate or a feebleminded person is not, per se, disqualified from being a witness, her
mental condition not being a vitiation of her credibility. It is now universally accepted that
intellectual weakness, no matter what form it assumes, is not a valid objection to the competency
of a witness so long as the latter can still give a fairly intelligent and reasonable narrative of the
matter testified to. In the present case, no cogent reason can be appreciated to warrant a departure
from the findings of the trial court with respect to the assessment of Evelyns testimony. It is
settled that sexual intercourse with a woman who is a mental retardate constitutes statutory rape
which does not require proof that the accused used force or intimidation in having carnal
knowledge of the victim for conviction. The fact of Evelyns mental retardation was not, however,
alleged in the Information and, therefore, cannot be the basis for conviction. Such
notwithstanding, that force and intimidation attended the commission of the crime, the mode of
commission alleged in the Information, was adequately proven. It bears stating herein that the
mental faculties of a retardate being different from those of a normal person, the degree of force
needed to overwhelm him or her is less. Hence, a quantum of force which may not suffice when the
victim is a normal person may be more than enough when employed against an imbecile.

GR No.143439

October 14, 2005


Respondent Susan Ramirez was the complaining witness in a criminal case or arson pending
before the RTC. The accused was petitioner Maximo Alvarez, stranged husband of Esperanza
Alvarez, sister of respondent. On June 21, 1999, Esperanza Alvarez was called to the witness stand
as the first witness against petitioner, her husband. Petitioner filed a motion to disqualify
Esperanza from testifying against him pursuant to Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court on
marital disqualification.

Respondent filed an opposition to the motion. Pending resolution of the motion, the trial court
directed the prosecution to proceed with the presentation of the other witnesses. On September 2,
1999, the trial court issued the questioned Order disqualifying Esperanza Alvarez from further
testifying and deleting her testimony from the records. The prosecution filed a motion for
reconsideration but was denied in the other assailed Order dated October 19, 1999. This prompted
respondent to file with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari with application for
preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order. On May 31, 2000, the Appellate Court
rendered a Decision nullifying and setting aside the assailed Orders issued by the trial court.
Hence, this petition for review on certiorari.

ISSUE: Whether or not Esperanza can testify over the objection of her estranged husband on the
ground of marital privilege.


Yes, Esperanza may testify over the objection of her husband. The disqualification of a witness by
reason of marriage under Sec. 22, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court has its exceptions as
where the marital relations are so strained that there is no more harmony to be preserved. The acts
of the petitioner stamp out all major aspects of marital life. On the other hand, the State has an
interest in punishing the guilty and exonerating the innocent, and must have the right to offer the
testimony of Esperanza over the objection of her husband.

People v Castaneda


Benjamin Manaloto was charged with the crime of Falsification of Public Document. The complaint was filed by his
wife, Victoria Manaloto.

That on or about the 19th day of May, 1975, in the Municipality of San Fernando, province of Pampanga, Philippines,
Benjamin falsified in a deed of sale the house and lot belonging to the conjugal partnership in favor of Ponciano
Lacsamana, making it appear that his spouse gave her marital consent to said sale.

At the trial, the prosecution called the wife to the witness stand but the defense moved to disqualify her as a witness,
invoking Sec. 20, Rule 130. The prosecution stated that it is a "criminal case for a crime committed by one against the
other." Notwithstanding such opposition, respondent Judge granted the motion, disqualifying Victoria.


Whether or not the criminal case for Falsification of Public Document may be considered as a criminal case for a crime
committed by a husband against his wife and, therefore, an exception to the rule on marital disqualification.


No. The case is an exception to the marital disqualification rule. WHEN AN OFFENSE DIRECTLY ATTACKS, OR
statute that one shall not be a witness against the other except in a criminal prosecution for a crime committed (by)
one against the other.

In the case, it must be noted that had the sale of the said house and lot, and the signing of the wife's name by her
husband in the deed of sale, been made with the consent of the wife, no crime could have been charged against said
husband. It is the husband's breach of his wife's confidence which gave rise to the offense charged. And it is this same
breach of trust which prompted the wife to make the necessary complaint.

With more reason must the exception apply to the instant case where the victim of the crime and the person who
stands to be directly prejudiced by the falsification is not a third person but the wife herself. And it is undeniable that
the act had the effect of directly and vitally impairing the conjugal relation. This is apparent not only in the act of the
wife in personally lodging her complaint with the Office of the Provincial Fiscal, but also in her insistent efforts in
connection with the instant petition, which seeks to set aside the order disqualifying her from testifying against her
husband. Taken collectively, the actuations of the witness-wife underscore the fact that the martial and domestic
relations between her and the accused-husband have become so strained that there is no more harmony to be
preserved said nor peace and tranquility which may be disturbed. In such a case, identity of interests disappears and
the consequent danger of perjury based on that identity is nonexistent. Likewise, in such a situation, the security and
confidence of private life which the law aims at protecting will be nothing but ideals which, through their absence,
merely leave a void in the unhappy home.