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G.R. No. 169588 October 7, 2013 1996 and 2003-1997.

Petitioner filed an Affidavit-Complaint


against respondents Benedicto Balajadia, Jeffrey Walan, and
JADEWELL PARKING SYSTEMS CORPORATION three (3) John Does, one of whom was eventually identified as
represented by its manager and authorized representative respondent Ramon Ang. The Affidavit-Complaint was filed with
Norma Tan, Petitioner, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Baguio City on May 23,
vs. 2003.3 A preliminary investigation took place on May 28, 2003.
HON. JUDGE NELSON F. LIDUA SR., Presiding Judge of Respondent Benedicto Balajadia likewise filed a case charging
The Municipal Trial Court Branch 3, Baguio City, Jadewell president, Rogelio Tan, and four (4) of Jadewell's
BENEDICTO BALAJADIA, EDWIN ANG, "JOHN DOES" and employees with Usurpation of Authority/Grave Coercion in I.S.
"PETER DOES" Respondents. No. 2003-1935.

DECISION In his Counter-affidavit for the two cases he filed for himself
and on behalf of his co-respondents, respondent Benedicto
LEONEN, J.: Balajadia denied that his car was parked illegally. He admitted
that he removed the clamp restricting the wheel of his car since
he alleged that the placing of a clamp on the wheel of the
We are asked to rule on this Petition for Review on Certiorari
vehicle was an illegal act. He alleged further that he removed
under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, praying that the assailed
the clamp not to steal it but to remove the vehicle from its
Decision of Branch 7 of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City
clamp so that he and his family could continue using the car.
and Order dated August 15, 2005 be reversed and that
He also confirmed that he had the clamp with him, and he
Criminal Case Nos. 112934 and 112935 be ordered reinstated
intended to use it as a piece of evidence to support the
and prosecuted before the Municipal Trial Court of Baguio City.
Complaint he filed against Jadewell.4

Petitioner Jadewell Parking Systems Corporation is a private


In the Resolution5 of the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of
parking operator duly authorized to operate and manage the
San Fernando City, La Union, Acting City Prosecutor Mario
parking spaces in Baguio City pursuant to City Ordinance 003-
Anacleto Banez found probable cause to file a case of
2000. It is also authorized under Section 13 of the City
Usurpation of Authority against the petitioner. Regarding the
Ordinance to render any motor vehicle immobile by placing its
case of Robbery against respondents, Prosecutor Banez
wheels in a clamp if the vehicle is illegally parked.1
stated that:

According to the Resolution of the Office of the Provincial


We find no probable cause to charge respondents in these two
Prosecutor, San Fernando City, La Union, the facts leading to
(2) cases for the felony of Robbery. The elements of Robbery,
the filing of the Informations are the following:
specifically the intent to gain and force upon things are absent
in the instant cases, thereby negating the existence of the
Jadewell Parking Systems Corporation (Jadewell), thru [sic] its crime.
General Manager Norma Tan and Jadewell personnel Januario
S. Ulpindo and Renato B. Dulay alleged in their affidavit-
xxxx
complaint that on May 17, 2003, the respondents in I.S No.
2003-1996 Edwin Ang, Benedicto Balajadia and John Doe
dismantled, took and carried away the clamp attached to the We, however, respectfully submit that the acts of respondents
left front wheel of a Mitsubishi Adventure with Plate No. WRK in removing the wheel clamps on the wheels of the cars
624 owned by Edwin Ang. Accordingly, the car was then involved in these cases and their failure to pay the prescribed
illegally parked and left unattended at a Loading and Unloading fees were in violation of Sec. 21 of Baguio City Ordinance No.
Zone. The value of the clamp belonging to Jadewell which was 003-2000 which prescribes fines and penalties for violations of
allegedly forcibly removed with a piece of metal is P26,250.00. the provisions of such ordinance. Certainly, they should not
The fines of P500.00 for illegal parking and the declamping fee have put the law into their own hands. (Emphasis supplied)
of P500.00 were also not paid by the respondents herein.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, there is probable cause
In I.S. No., 2003-1997, Jadewell thru [sic] its General Manager against all the respondents, except Jeffrey Walan or Joseph
Norina C. Tan, Renato B. Dulay and Ringo Sacliwan alleged in Walan (who has been dragged into this controversy only by
their affidavit-complaint that on May 7, 2003, along Upper virtue of the fact that he was still the registered owner of the
Mabini Street, Baguio City, herein respondents Benedicto Nissan Cefiro car) for violation of Section 21 of City Ord. No.
Balajadia, Jeffrey Walan and two (2) John Does forcibly 003-2000 in both cases and we hereby file the corresponding
removed the clamp on the wheel of a Nissan Cefiro car with informations against them in Court.6
Plate No. UTD 933, belonging to Jeffrey Walan which was then
considered illegally parked for failure to pay the prescribed Prosecutor Banez issued this Resolution on July 25, 2003.
parking fee. Such car was earlier rendered immobile by such
clamp by Jadewell personnel. After forcibly removing the On October 2, 2003, two criminal Informations were filed with
clamp, respondents took and carried it away depriving its the Municipal Trial Court of Baguio City dated July 25, 2003,
owner, Jadewell, its use and value which is P26,250.00. stating:
According to complainants, the fine of P500.00 and the
declamping fee of P500.00 were not paid by the respondents.2 That on May 17, 2003 at Baguio City and within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused with unity
The incident resulted in two cases filed by petitioner and of action and concerted design, did then and there, with unity
respondents against each other. Petitioner Jadewell filed two of action and concerted design, willfully, unlawfully and
cases against respondents: Robbery under I.S. Nos. 2003- feloniously forcibly dismantled [sic] and took [sic] an
immobilizing clamp then attached to the left front wheel of a however, filed its criminal complaint on May 23, 2003, well
Mitsubishi Adventure vehicle with Plate No. WRK 624 within the prescribed period.12
belonging to Edwin Ang which was earlier rendered
immobilized by such clamp by Jadewell Personnel's for Respondents filed their Opposition13 on March 24, 2004, and
violation of the Baguio City ordinance No. 003-2600 to the petitioner filed a Reply14 on April 1, 2004.
damage and prejudice of private complainant Jadewell Parking
System Corporation (Jadewell) which owns such clamp The respondent judge released a Resolution15 dated April 16,
worth P26,250.00 and other consequential damages. 2004 upholding the Order granting respondents' Motion to
Quash. The Resolution held that:
CONTRARY TO LAW,
For the guidance of the parties, the Court will make an
San Fernando City, La Union for Baguio City, this 25th day of extended resolution on one of the ground [sic] for the motion to
July 2003.7 quash, which is that the criminal action has been extinguished
on grounds of prescription.
The cases were docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 112934 and
112935 with the Municipal Trial Court of Baguio City, Branch 3. These offenses are covered by the Rules on Summary
Respondent Benedicto Balajadia and the other accused Procedure being alleged violations of City Ordinances.
through their counsel Paterno Aquino filed a January 20, 2004
Motion to Quash and/or Manifestation8 on February 2, 2004. Under Section 9 of the Rule [sic] on Summary Procedure, the
The Motion to Quash and/or Manifestation sought the quashal running of the prescriptive period shall be halted on the date
of the two Informations on the following grounds: the case is filed in Court and not on any date before that
extinguishment of criminal action or liability due to prescription; (Zaldivia vs. Reyes, Jr. G.R. No. 102342, July 3, 1992, En
failure of the Information to state facts that charged an offense; Banc).
and the imposition of charges on respondents with more than
one offense.
In case of conflict, the Rule on Summary Procedure as the
special law prevails over Sec. 1 of Rule 110 of the Rules on
In their Motion to Quash, respondents argued that: Criminal Procedure and also Rule 110 of the Rules of Criminal
Procedure must yield to Act No. 3326 or "AN ACT TO
1. The accused in this case are charged with violation ESTABLISH PERIODS OF PRESCRIPTION FOR
of Baguio City Ordinance No. 003-2000. VIOLATIONS PENALIZED BY SPECIAL ACTS AND
MUNICIPAL ORDINANCES AND TO PROVIDE WHEN
2. Article 89 of the Revised Penal [sic] provides that PRESCRIPTION SHALL BEGIN TO RUN" (Ibid).
criminal liability is totally extinguished by prescription
of the crime. Petitioner then filed a Petition 16 for Certiorari under Rule 65
with the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City. The case was
3. Act No. 3326, as amended by Act No. 3763, raffled to Branch 7 of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City.
provides: "Section 1. x x x Violations penalized by Petitioners contended that the respondent judge committed
municipal ordinances shall prescribed [sic] after two grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
months." jurisdiction in dismissing Criminal Case Nos. 112934 and
112935 on the ground of prescription. Petitioners argued that
4. As alleged in the Information, the offense charged the respondent judge ruled erroneously saying that the
in this case was committed on May 7, 2003. 5. As can prescriptive period for the offenses charged against the private
be seen from the right hand corner of the Information, respondents was halted by the filing of the
the latter was filed with this Honorable Court on Complaint/Information in court and not when the Affidavit-
October 2, 2003, almost five (5) months after the Complaints were filed with the Office of the City Prosecutor of
alleged commission of the offense charged. Hence, Baguio City. Petitioner cited Section 1 of Rule 110 of the Rules
criminal liability of the accused in this case, if any, was on Criminal Procedure:
already extinguished by prescription when the
Information was filed.9 x x x "criminal actions shall be instituted x x x in x x x other
chartered cities, the complaint shall be filed with the office of
In an Order10 dated February 10, 2004, respondent Judge the prosecutor unless otherwise provided in their charter" and
Nelson F. Lidua, Sr., Presiding Judge of the Municipal Trial the last paragraph thereof states that "the institution of the
Court of Baguio City, Branch 3, granted the accused's Motion criminal action shall interrupt the running of the period of
to Quash and dismissed the cases. prescription of the offense charged unless otherwise provided
in special laws."17
Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration on February 27,
2004 responding to the February 10, 2004 Order11 to argue Petitioner contended further that:
among other points that:
the filing of the criminal complaint with the Office of the City
6.b. For another, the offenses charged have not yet prescribed. Prosecutor of Baguio City, not the filing of the criminal
Under the law, the period of prescription of offenses shall be information before this Honorable Court, is the reckoning point
interrupted by the filing of the complaint or information. While it in determining whether or not the criminal action in these cases
may be true that the Informations in these cases have been had prescribed.
filed only on October 2, 2003, the private complainant has,
xxxx the respondent judges Order dated February 10, 2004 and the
Resolution dated April 16, 2004.
The offenses charged in Criminal Case Nos. 112934 and
112935 are covered by the Revised Rules on Summary Petitioners then filed a May 17, 2005 Motion for
Procedure, not by the old Rules on Summary Procedure. Reconsideration which was denied by the Regional Trial Court
Considering that the offenses charged are for violations of a in an August 15, 2005 Order.
City Ordinance, the criminal cases can only be commenced by
informations. Thus, it was only legally and procedurally proper Hence, this Petition.
for the petitioner to file its complaint with the Office of the City
Prosecutor of Baguio City as required by Section 11 of the new The principal question in this case is whether the filing of the
Rules on Summary Procedure, these criminal cases "shall be Complaint with the Office of the City Prosecutor on May 23,
commenced only by information." These criminal cases cannot 2003 tolled the prescription period of the commission of the
be commenced in any other way. offense charged against respondents Balajadia, Ang, "John
Does," and "Peter Does."
Moreover, the ruling of the Supreme Court in Zaldivia vs.
Reyes cited in the assailed Resolution does not apply in this Petitioner contends that the prescription period of the offense
case. The offense charged in Zaldivia is a violation of municipal in Act No. 3326, as amended by Act No. 3763, does not apply
ordinance in which case, the complaint should have been filed because respondents were charged with the violation of a city
directly in court as required by Section 9 of the old Rules on ordinance and not a municipal ordinance. In any case,
Summary Procedure. On the other hand, Criminal Case Nos. assuming arguendo that the prescriptive period is indeed two
112934 and 112935 are for violations of a city ordinance and months, filing a Complaint with the Office of the City
as aforestated, "shall be commenced only by information."18 Prosecutor tolled the prescription period of two months. This is
because Rule 110 of the Rules of Court provides that, in
Thus, petitioner contended that the filing of the criminal Manila and in other chartered cities, the Complaint shall be
complaint with the Office of the City Prosecutor stopped the filed with the Office of the Prosecutor unless otherwise
running of the two-month prescriptive period. Hence, the provided in their charters.
offenses charged have not prescribed.
In their Comment,22 respondents maintain that respondent
In their Comment,19 respondents maintained that the Judge Lidua did not err in dismissing the cases based on
respondent judge did not gravely abuse his discretion. They prescription. Also, respondents raise that the other grounds for
held that Section 2 of Act No. 3326, as amended, provides dismissal they raised in their Motion to Quash, namely, that the
that: facts charged constituted no offense and that respondents
were charged with more than one offense, were sustained by
Sec. 2. Prescription shall begin to run from the day of the the Metropolitan Trial Court. Also, respondents argue that
commission of the violation of the law, and if the same be not petitioner had no legal personality to assail the Orders, since
known at the time, from the discovery thereof and the Jadewell was not assailing the civil liability of the case but the
institution of judicial proceeding for its investigation and assailed Order and Resolution. This was contrary to the ruling
punishment. in People v. Judge Santiago23 which held that the private
complainant may only appeal the civil aspect of the criminal
The prescription shall be interrupted when proceedings are offense and not the crime itself.
instituted against the guilty person, and shall begin to run again
if the proceedings are dismissed for reasons not constituting In the Reply,24 petitioner argues that the respondent judge only
jeopardy.20 (Emphasis supplied) dismissed the case on the ground of prescription, since the
Resolution dated April 16, 2004 only cited that ground. The
Respondents argued that Zaldivia v. Reyes21 held that the Order dated February 10, 2004 merely stated but did not
proceedings mentioned in Section 2 of Act No. 3326, as specify the grounds on which the cases were dismissed.
amended, refer to judicial proceedings . Thus, this Court, in Petitioner also maintains that the proceedings contemplated in
Zaldivia, held that the filing of the Complaint with the Office of Section 2 of Act No. 3326 must include the preliminary
the Provincial Prosecutor was not a judicial proceeding. The investigation proceedings before the National Prosecution
prescriptive period commenced from the alleged date of the Service in light of the Rules on Criminal Procedure 25 and
commission of the crime on May 7, 2003 and ended two Revised Rules on Summary Procedure.
months after on July 7, 2003. Since the Informations were filed
with the Municipal Trial Court on October 2, 2003, the Lastly, petitioner maintains that it did have legal personality,
respondent judge did not abuse its discretion in dismissing since in a Petition for Certiorari, "persons aggrieved x x x may
Criminal Case Nos. 112934 and 112935. file a verified petition"26 before the court.

In a Decision dated April 20, 2005, the Regional Trial Court of The Petition is denied.
Baguio City Branch 7, through Judge Clarence F. Villanueva,
dismissed the Petition for Certiorari. The Regional Trial Court The resolution of this case requires an examination of both the
held that, since cases of city ordinance violations may only be substantive law and the procedural rules governing the
commenced by the filing of an Information, then the two-month prosecution of the offense. With regard to the prescription
prescription period may only be interrupted by the filing of period, Act No. 3326, as amended, is the only statute that
Informations (for violation of City Ordinance 003-2000) against provides for any prescriptive period for the violation of special
the respondents in court. The Regional Trial Court of Baguio laws and municipal ordinances. No other special law provides
City, Branch 7, ruled in favor of the respondents and upheld any other prescriptive period, and the law does not provide any
other distinction. Petitioner may not argue that Act No. 3326 as The Local Government Code provides for the classification of
amended does not apply. cities. Section 451 reads:

In Romualdez v. Hon. Marcelo,27 this Court defined the SEC. 451. Cities, Classified. A city may either be component
parameters of prescription: or highly urbanized: Provided, however, that the criteria
established in this Code shall not affect the classification and
In resolving the issue of prescription of the offense charged, corporate status of existing cities. Independent component
the following should be considered: (1) the period of cities are those component cities whose charters prohibit their
prescription for the offense charged; (2) the time the period of voters from voting for provincial elective officials. Independent
prescription starts to run; and (3) the time the prescriptive component cities shall be independent of the province.
period was interrupted.28 (Citation omitted)
Cities in the Philippines that were created by law can either be
With regard to the period of prescription, it is now without highly urbanized cities or component cities. An independent
question that it is two months for the offense charged under component city has a charter that proscribes its voters from
City Ordinance 003-2000. voting for provincial elective officials. It stands that all cities as
defined by Congress are chartered cities. In cases as early as
The commencement of the prescription period is also governed United States v. Pascual Pacis,29 this Court recognized the
by statute. Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code reads: validity of the Baguio Incorporation Act or Act No. 1963 of
1909, otherwise known as the charter of Baguio City.

Art. 91. Computation of prescription of offenses. The period


of prescription shall commence to run from the day on which As provided in the Revised Rules on Summary Procedure, only
the crime is discovered by the offended party, the authorities, the filing of an Information tolls the prescriptive period where
or their agents, and shall be interrupted by the filing of the the crime charged is involved in an ordinance. The respondent
complaint or information, and shall commence to run again judge was correct when he applied the rule in Zaldivia v.
when such proceedings terminate without the accused being Reyes.
convicted or acquitted, or are unjustifiably stopped for any
reason not imputable to him. In Zaldivia v. Reyes, the violation of a municipal ordinance in
Rodriguez, Rizal also featured similar facts and issues with the
The offense was committed on May 7, 2003 and was present case. In that case, the offense was committed on May
discovered by the attendants of the petitioner on the same day. 11, 1990. The Complaint was received on May 30, 1990, and
These actions effectively commenced the running of the the Information was filed with the Metropolitan Trial Court of
prescription period. Rodriguez on October 2, 1990. This Court ruled that:

The procedural rules that govern this case are the 1991 As it is clearly provided in the Rule on Summary Procedure
Revised Rules on Summary Procedure. that among the offenses it covers are violations of municipal or
city ordinances, it should follow that the charge against the
petitioner, which is for violation of a municipal ordinance of
SECTION 1. Scope This rule shall govern the summary
Rodriguez, is governed by that rule and not Section 1 of Rule
procedure in the Metropolitan Trial Courts, the Municipal Trial
110.
Courts in Cities, the Municipal Trial Courts, and the Municipal
Circuit Trial Courts in the following cases falling within their
jurisdiction: Where paragraph (b) of the section does speak of "offenses
falling under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Courts and
Municipal Circuit Trial Courts," the obvious reference is to
xxxx
Section 32(2) of B.P. No. 129, vesting in such courts:

B. Criminal Cases:
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable
with imprisonment of not exceeding four years and two
(1) Violations of traffic laws, rules and regulations; months, or a fine of not more than four thousand pesos, or
both such fine and imprisonment, regardless of other
(2) Violations of the rental law; imposable accessory or other penalties, including the civil
liability arising from such offenses or predicated thereon,
(3) Violations of municipal or city ordinances irrespective of kind, nature, value, or amount thereof; Provided,
(Emphasis supplied) however, That in offenses involving damage to property
through criminal negligence they shall have exclusive original
Section 11 of the Rules provides that: jurisdiction where the imposable fine does not exceed twenty
thousand pesos.
Sec. 11. How commenced. The filing of criminal cases
falling within the scope of this Rule shall be either by complaint These offenses are not covered by the Rules on Summary
or by information: Provided, however, that in Metropolitan Procedure.
Manila and in Chartered Cities, such cases shall be
commenced only by information, except when the offense Under Section 9 of the Rules on Summary Procedure, "the
cannot be prosecuted de officio. complaint or information shall be filed directly in court without
need of a prior preliminary examination or preliminary
investigation." Both parties agree that this provision does not
prevent the prosecutor from conducting a preliminary
investigation if he wants to. However, the case shall be The prosecutor must, however, certify under oath that
deemed commenced only when it is filed in court, whether or
not the prosecution decides to conduct a preliminary a) he has examined the complainant and his
investigation. This means that the running of the prescriptive witnesses;
period shall be halted on the date the case is actually filed in
court and not on any date before that. b) there is reasonable ground to believe that a crime
has been committed and that the accused is probably
This interpretation is in consonance with the afore-quoted Act guilty thereof;
No. 3326 which says that the period of prescription shall be
suspended "when proceedings are instituted against the guilty c) the accused was informed of the complaint and of
party." The proceedings referred to in Section 2 thereof are the evidence submitted against him; and
"judicial proceedings," contrary to the submission of the
Solicitor General that they include administrative proceedings.
d) the accused was given an opportunity to submit
His contention is that we must not distinguish as the law does
controverting evidence.
not distinguish. As a matter of fact, it does.

As for the place of the filing of the Information, the Manual also
At any rate, the Court feels that if there be a conflict between
provides that:
the Rule on Summary Procedure and Section 1 of Rule 110 of
the Rules on Criminal Procedure, the former should prevail as
the special law. And if there be a conflict between Act No. 3326 SEC. 12. Place of the commission of offense. - The complaint
and Rule 110 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, the latter or information is sufficient if it states that the crime charged
must again yield because this Court, in the exercise of its rule- was committed or some of the ingredients thereof occurred at
making power, is not allowed to "diminish, increase or modify some place within the jurisdiction of the court, unless the
substantive rights" under Article VIII, Section 5(5) of the particular place in which the crime was committed is an
Constitution. Prescription in criminal cases is a substantive essential element of the crime, e.g. in a prosecution for
right.30 violation of the provision of the Election Code which punishes
the carrying of a deadly weapon in a "polling place," or if it is
necessary to identify the offense charged, e.g., the domicile in
Jurisprudence exists showing that when the Complaint is filed
the offense of "violation of domicile."
with the Office of the Prosecutor who then files the Information
in court, this already has the effect of tolling the prescription
period. The recent People v. Pangilinan31categorically stated Finally, as for the prescription period, the Manual provides that:
that Zaldivia v. Reyes is not controlling as far as special laws
are concerned. Pangilinan referred to other cases that upheld SEC. 20. How Period of Prescription Computed and
this principle as well. However, the doctrine of Pangilinan Interrupted. - For an offense penalized under the Revised
pertains to violations of special laws but not to ordinances. Penal Code, the period of prescription commences to run from
the day on which the crime is discovered by the offended party,
There is no distinction between the filing of the Information the authorities, or their agents, and shall be interrupted:
contemplated in the Rules of Criminal Procedure and in the
Rules of Summary Procedure. When the representatives of the a) by the filing of the complaint with the Office of the
petitioner filed the Complaint before the Provincial Prosecutor City/Provincial Prosecutor; or with the Office of the
of Baguio, the prescription period was running. It continued to Ombudsman; or
run until the filing of the Information. They had two months to
file the Information and institute the judicial proceedings by b) by the filing of the complaint or information with the
filing the Information with the Municipal Trial Court. The court even if it is merely for purposes of preliminary
conduct of the preliminary investigation, the original charge of examination or investigation, or even if the court
Robbery, and the subsequent finding of the violation of the where the complaint or information is filed cannot try
ordinance did not alter the period within which to file the the case on its merits.
Information. Respondents were correct in arguing that the
petitioner only had two months from the discovery and However, for an offense covered by the Rules on Summary
commission of the offense before it prescribed within which to Procedure, the period of prescription is interrupted only by the
file the Information with the Municipal Trial Court. filing of the complaint or information in court.

Unfortunately, when the Office of the Prosecutor filed the xxxx


Informations on October 5, 2003, the period had already
prescribed. Thus, respondent Judge Nestor Lidua, Sr. did not
For violation of a special law or ordinance, the period of
err when he ordered the dismissal of the case against
prescription shall commence to run from the day of the
respondents. According to the Department of Justice
commission of the violation, and if the same is not known at
National Prosecutors Service Manual for Prosecutors, an
the time, from the discovery and the institution of judicial
Information is defined under Part I, Section 5 as:
proceedings for its investigation and punishment. The
prescription shall be interrupted only by the filing of the
SEC. 5. Information. - An information is the accusation in complaint or information in court and shall begin to run again if
writing charging a person with an offense, subscribed by the the proceedings are dismissed for reasons not constituting
prosecutor, and filed with the court. The information need not double jeopardy. (Emphasis supplied).1wphi1
be placed under oath by the prosecutor signing the same.
Presidential Decree No. 127532 reorganized the Department of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch
Justices Prosecution Staff and established Regional State 218, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and Criminal
Prosecution Offices. These Regional State Prosecution Offices Cases Nos. 89152 and 89153 against petitioner Ma.
Theresa Pangilinan are hereby ordered
were assigned centers for particular regions where the
DISMISSED.[3]
Informations will be filed. Section 6 provides that the area of
responsibility of the Region 1 Center located in San Fernando,
La Union includes Abra, Benguet, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Culled from the record are the following undisputed facts:
Union, Mt. Province, Pangasinan, and the cities of Baguio,
Dagupan, Laoag, and San Carlos.
On 16 September 1997, Virginia C. Malolos (private complainant)
filed an affidavit-complaint for estafa and violation of Batas
The Regional Prosecutor for Region 1 or his/her duly assigned
prosecutor was designated to file the Information within the Pambansa (BP) Blg. 22 against Ma. Theresa Pangilinan (respondent)
two-month period provided for in Act No. 3326, as with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City. The complaint
amended.1wphi1
alleges that respondent issued nine (9) checks with an aggregate
amount of Nine Million Six Hundred Fifty-Eight Thousand Five
The failure of the prosecutor to seasonably file the Information
is unfortunate as it resulted in the dismissal of the case against Hundred Ninety-Two Pesos (P9,658,592.00) in favor of private
the private respondents. It stands that the doctrine of Zaldivia complainant which were dishonored upon presentment for payment.
is applicable to ordinances and their prescription period. It also
upholds the necessity of filing the Information in court in order
On 5 December 1997, respondent filed a civil case for accounting,
to toll the period. Zaldivia also has this to say concerning the
effects of its ruling: recovery of commercial documents, enforceability and effectivity of
contract and specific performance against private complainant before
The Court realizes that under the above interpretation, a crime the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Valenzuela City. This was
may prescribe even if the complaint is filed seasonably with the
docketed as Civil Case No. 1429-V-97.
prosecutor's office if, intentionally or not, he delays the
institution of the necessary judicial proceedings until it is too
late. However, that possibility should not justify a misreading of Five days thereafter or on 10 December 1997, respondent filed a
the applicable rules beyond their obvious intent as reasonably Petition to Suspend Proceedings on the Ground of Prejudicial
deduced from their plain language.
Question before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City,
citing as basis the pendency of the civil action she filed with the RTC
The remedy is not a distortion of the meaning of the rules but a
rewording thereof to prevent the problem here sought to be of Valenzuela City.
corrected.33
On 2 March 1998, Assistant City Prosecutor Ruben Catubay
WHEREFORE the Petition is DENIED.
recommended the suspension of the criminal proceedings pending the
outcome of the civil action respondent filed against private
complainant with the RTC of Valenzuela City. The recommendation
was approved by the City Prosecutor of Quezon City.

SECOND DIVISION Aggrieved, private complainant raised the matter before the
PEOPLE OF THE G.R. No. 152662
PHILIPPINES,
x----------------------------------------------- Present:
- - - -x
CARPIO,
DECISION Chairperson,
- versus - BRION,
PEREZ,
SERENO, and
PEREZ, J.: REYES, JJ.

Promulgated:
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed this petition for MA. THERESA
PANGILINAN, June 13, 2012
certiorari[1] under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, on behalf of the Respondent.
Republic of the Philippines, praying for the nullification and
Department of Justice (DOJ).
setting aside of the Decision[2] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-
G.R. SP No. 66936, entitled Ma. Theresa Pangilinan vs. People of the
On 5 January 1999, then Secretary of Justice Serafin P. Cuevas
Philippines and Private Complainant Virginia C. Malolos.
reversed the resolution of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City and
The fallo of the assailed Decision reads:
ordered the filing of informations for violation of BP Blg. 22 against
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is respondent in connection with her issuance of City Trust Check No.
GRANTED. Accordingly, the assailed Decision of 127219 in the amount of P4,129,400.00 and RCBC Check No.
423773 in the amount of P4,475,000.00, both checks totaling the Criminal Case Nos. 89152 and 89153 for the reason that the cases for
amount of P8,604,000.00. The estafa and violation of BP Blg. 22 violation of BP Blg. 22 had already prescribed.
charges involving the seven other checks included in the affidavit-
complaint filed on 16 September 1997 were, however, dismissed. In reversing the RTC Decision, the appellate court ratiocinated that:

xxx this Court reckons the commencement of the


Consequently, two counts for violation of BP Blg. 22, both dated 18
period of prescription for violations of Batas
November 1999, were filed against respondent Ma.Theresa Pambansa Blg. 22 imputed to [respondent] sometime
Pangilinan on 3 February 2000 before the Office of the Clerk of in the latter part of 1995, as it was within this period
that the [respondent] was notified by the private
Court, Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), Quezon City. These cases [complainant] of the fact of dishonor of the subject
were raffled to MeTC, Branch 31on 7 June 2000. checks and, the five (5) days grace period granted by
law had elapsed. The private respondent then had,
pursuant to Section 1 of Act 3326, as amended, four
On 17 June 2000, respondent filed an Omnibus Motion to Quash the years therefrom or until the latter part of 1999 to file
her complaint or information against the petitioner
Information and to Defer the Issuance of Warrant of Arrest before
before the proper court.
MeTC, Branch 31, Quezon City. She alleged that her criminal
liability has been extinguished by reason of prescription. The informations docketed as Criminal Cases Nos.
89152 and 89152(sic) against the petitioner having
been filed with the Metropolitan Trial Court of
The presiding judge of MeTC, Branch 31, Quezon City granted the Quezon City only on 03 February 2000, the said cases
had therefore, clearly prescribed.
motion in an Order dated 5 October 2000.
xxx
On 26 October 2000, private complainant filed a notice of Pursuant to Section 2 of Act 3326, as amended,
appeal. The criminal cases were raffled to RTC, Branch 218, Quezon prescription shall be interrupted when proceedings
are instituted against the guilty person.
City.
In the case of Zaldivia vs. Reyes [7] the Supreme Court
In a Decision dated 27 July 2001, the presiding judge of RTC, Branch held that the proceedings referred to in Section 2 of
Act No. 3326, as amended, are judicial proceedings,
218, Quezon City reversed the 5 October 2000 Order of the which means the filing of the complaint or
MeTC. The pertinent portion of the decision reads: information with the proper court. Otherwise stated,
the running of the prescriptive period shall be stayed
on the date the case is actually filed in court and not
xxx Inasmuch as the informations in this case were on any date before that, which is in consonance with
filed on 03 February 2000 with the Clerk of Court Section 2 of Act 3326, as amended.
although received by the Court itself only on 07
June 2000, they are covered by the Rule as it was While the aforesaid case involved a violation of a
worded before the latest amendment. The criminal municipal ordinance, this Court, considering that
action on two counts for violation of BP Blg. 22, Section 2 of Act 3326, as amended, governs the
had, therefore, not yet prescribed when the same computation of the prescriptive period of both
was filed with the court a quoconsidering the ordinances and special laws, finds that the ruling of
appropriate complaint that started the proceedings the Supreme Court in Zaldivia v. Reyes[8] likewise
having been filed with the Office of the Prosecutor applies to special laws, such as Batas Pambansa Blg.
on 16 September 1997 yet. 22.[9]

WHEREFORE, the assailed Order dated 05 October


2000 is hereby REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. The The OSG sought relief to this Court in the instant petition for
Court a quo is hereby directed to proceed with the review. According to the OSG, while it admits that Act No. 3326, as
hearing of Criminal Cases Nos. 89152 and 89153.[4]
amended by Act No. 3585 and further amended by Act No. 3763
dated 23 November 1930, governs the period of prescription for
Dissatisfied with the RTC Decision, respondent filed with the
violations of special laws, it is the institution of criminal actions,
Supreme Court a petition for review[5] on certiorari under Rule 45 of
whether filed with the court or with the Office of the City Prosecutor,
the Rules of Court. This was docketed as G.R. Nos. 149486-87.
that interrupts the period of prescription of the offense charged. [10] It
submits that the filing of the complaint-affidavit by private
In a resolution[6] dated 24 September 2000, this Court referred the
complainant Virginia C. Malolos on 16 September 1997 with the
petition to the CA for appropriate action.
Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City effectively interrupted
the running of the prescriptive period of the subject BP Blg. 22 cases.
On 26 October 2001, the CA gave due course to the petition by
requiring respondent and private complainant to comment on the
Petitioner further submits that the CA erred in its decision when it
petition.
relied on the doctrine laid down by this Court in the case of Zaldivia
v. Reyes, Jr.[11] that the filing of the complaint with the Office of the
In a Decision dated 12 March 2002, the CA reversed the 27 July 2001
City Prosecutor is not the judicial proceeding that could have
Decision of RTC, Branch 218, Quezon City, thereby dismissing
interrupted the period of prescription. In relying on Zaldivia,[12] the
CA allegedly failed to consider the subsequent jurisprudence respondent had already prescribed. Indeed, Act No. 3326 entitled An
superseding the aforesaid ruling. Act to Establish Prescription for Violations of Special Acts and
Municipal Ordinances and to Provide When Prescription Shall Begin,
[13]
Petitioner contends that in a catena of cases, the Supreme Court as amended, is the law applicable to BP Blg. 22 cases. Appositely, the
ruled that the filing of a complaint with the Fiscals Office for law reads:
preliminary investigation suspends the running of the prescriptive
SECTION 1. Violations penalized by
period. It therefore concluded that the filing of the informations with
special acts shall, unless otherwise provided in such
the MeTC of Quezon City on 3 February 2000 was still within the acts, prescribe in accordance with the following
allowable period of four years within which to file the criminal cases rules: (a) xxx; (b) after four years for those punished
by imprisonment for more than one month, but less
for violation of BP Blg. 22 in accordance with Act No. 3326, as than two years; (c) xxx.
amended.
SECTION 2. Prescription shall begin to run
from the day of the commission of the violation of
In her comment-opposition dated 26 July 2002, respondent avers that the law, and if the same be not known at the time,
from the discovery thereof and the institution of
the petition of the OSG should be dismissed outright for its failure to
judicial proceedings for its investigation and
comply with the mandatory requirements on the submission of a punishment.
certified true copy of the decision of the CA and the required proof of
The prescription shall be interrupted when
service. Such procedural lapses are allegedly fatal to the cause of the proceedings are instituted against the guilty person,
petitioner. and shall begin to run again if the proceedings are
dismissed for reasons not constituting jeopardy.
Since BP Blg. 22 is a special law that imposes a penalty of
Respondent reiterates the ruling of the CA that the filing of the
imprisonment of not less than thirty (30) days but not more than one
complaint before the City Prosecutors Office did not interrupt the
year or by a fine for its violation, it therefor prescribes in four (4)
running of the prescriptive period considering that the offense
years in accordance with the aforecited law. The running of the
charged is a violation of a special law.
prescriptive period, however, should be tolled upon the institution of
proceedings against the guilty person.
Respondent contends that the arguments advanced by petitioner are
anchored on erroneous premises. She claims that the cases relied
In the old but oft-cited case of People v. Olarte,[16] this Court
upon by petitioner involved felonies punishable under the Revised
ruled that the filing of the complaint in the Municipal Court even if it
Penal Code and are therefore covered by Article 91 of the Revised
be merely for purposes of preliminary examination or investigation,
Penal Code (RPC)[14] and Section 1, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules on
should, and thus, interrupt the period of prescription of the criminal
Criminal Procedure.[15] Respondent pointed out that the crime
responsibility, even if the court where the complaint or information is
imputed against her is for violation of BP Blg. 22, which is
filed cannot try the case on the merits. This ruling was broadened by
indisputably a special law and as such, is governed by Act No. 3326,
the Court in the case of Francisco, et.al. v. Court of Appeals, et. al.
as amended. She submits that a distinction should thus be made [17]
when it held that the filing of the complaint with the Fiscals Office
between offenses covered by municipal ordinances or special laws, as
also suspends the running of the prescriptive period of a criminal
in this case, and offenses covered by the RPC.
offense.
The key issue raised in this petition is whether the filing of the
affidavit-complaint for estafa and violation of BP Blg. 22 against
Respondents contention that a different rule should be applied
respondent with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City on
to cases involving special laws is bereft of merit. There is no more
16 September 1997 interrupted the period of prescription of such
distinction between cases under the RPC and those covered by
offense.
special laws with respect to the interruption of the period of
prescription. The ruling in Zaldivia v. Reyes, Jr.[18] is not controlling
We find merit in this petition.
in special laws. In Llenes v. Dicdican,[19] Ingco, et al. v.
[20] [21]
Sandiganbayan, Brillante v. CA, and Sanrio Company Limited v.
Initially, we see that the respondents claim that the OSG failed to [22]
Lim, cases involving special laws, this Court held that the
attach to the petition a duplicate original or certified true copy of the
institution of proceedings for preliminary investigation against the
12 March 2002 decision of the CA and the required proof of service
accused interrupts the period of prescription. In Securities and
is refuted by the record. A perusal of the record reveals that attached
Exchange Commission v. Interport Resources Corporation, et. al.,
to the original copy of the petition is a certified true copy of the CA [23]
the Court even ruled that investigations conducted by the
decision. It was also observed that annexed to the petition was the
Securities and Exchange Commission for violations of the Revised
proof of service undertaken by the Docket Division of the OSG.
Securities Act and the Securities Regulations Code effectively
With regard to the main issue of the petition, we find that the
interrupts the prescription period because it is equivalent to the
CA reversively erred in ruling that the offense committed by
preliminary investigation conducted by the DOJ in criminal cases.
In fact, in the case of Panaguiton, Jr. v. Department of
Justice,[24] which is in all fours with the instant case, this Court
G.R. Nos. 135554-56 June 21, 2002
categorically ruled that commencement of the proceedings for the
prosecution of the accused before the Office of the City Prosecutor
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
effectively interrupted the prescriptive period for the offenses they vs.
had been charged under BP Blg. 22. Aggrieved parties, especially DANILO DELA CRUZ y CARIZZA, accused-appellant.
those who do not sleep on their rights and actively pursue their
causes, should not be allowed to suffer unnecessarily further simply KAPUNAN, J.:

because of circumstances beyond their control, like the accuseds


Before the Court on automatic review is the Decision dated
delaying tactics or the delay and inefficiency of the investigating August 13, 1998 of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City,
agencies. Branch 6, in Criminal Cases Nos. 15163-R, 15164-R and
15368-R finding accused-appellant Danilo dela Cruz y Carizza
guilty of two (2) counts of rape and one (1) count of acts of
We follow the factual finding of the CA that sometime in the
lasciviousness.
latter part of 1995 is the reckoning date of the commencement of
presumption for violations of BP Blg. 22, such being the period On August 29, 1997, two informations for rape were filed
within which herein respondent was notified by private complainant against accused-appellant in the RTC of Baguio City. The
of the fact of dishonor of the checks and the five-day grace period informations alleged:

granted by law elapsed.


Criminal Case No. 15163-R -

The affidavit-complaints for the violations were filed against That sometime in the month of September, 1990, in
respondent on 16 September 1997. The cases reached the MeTC of the City of Baguio, Philippines, and within the
Quezon City only on 13 February 2000 because in the meanwhile, jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
respondent filed a civil case for accounting followed by a petition
feloniously have carnal knowledge of his daughter,
before the City Prosecutor for suspension of proceedings on the JEANNIE ANN DELA CRUZ, a minor, then 11 years of
ground of prejudicial question. The matter was raised before the age, against her will and consent.
Secretary of Justice after the City Prosecutor approved the petition to
CONTRARY TO LAW.1
suspend proceedings. It was only after the Secretary of Justice so
ordered that the informations for the violation of BP Blg. 22 were
Criminal Case No. 15164-R -
filed with the MeTC of Quezon City.
That sometime in the month of July, 1995, in the City
Clearly, it was respondents own motion for the suspension of of Baguio, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of
the criminal proceedings, which motion she predicated on her civil this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did
then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously and
case for accounting, that caused the filing in court of the 1997
by means of force and intimidation, have carnal
initiated proceedings only in 2000. knowledge of his daughter, JEANNIE ANN DELA
CRUZ, a minor, then 16 years of age, against her will
and consent.
As laid down in Olarte,[25] it is unjust to deprive the injured
party of the right to obtain vindication on account of delays that are
CONTRARY TO LAW.2
not under his control. The only thing the offended must do to initiate
the prosecution of the offender is to file the requisite complaint. On December 11, 1997, another information was filed against
accused-appellant charging him with violation of Republic Act
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the instant No. 7610 (The Special Protection of Children Against Child
Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act). The information
petition is GRANTED. The 12 March 2002 Decision of the Court of
stated:
Appeals is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Department
of Justice is ORDERED to re-file the informations for violation of That on or about the 2nd day of August, 1997, in the
BP Blg. 22 against the respondent. City of Baguio, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused,
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
SO ORDERED. commit sexual abuse on his daughter either by raping
her or committing acts of lasciviousness on her, which
has debased, degraded and demeaned the intrinsic
worth and dignity of his daughter, JEANNIE ANN
DELA CRUZ as a human being.
CONTRARY TO LAW.3 were proper.9 She recounted before the trial court three
particular occasions when accused-appellant molested her.
This case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 15368-R.
Jeannie Ann said that sometime in September 1990, she was
Upon motion of the prosecution, the trial court ordered the sexually abused by accused-appellant in their house in No. 37
consolidation of the three cases. When arraigned, accused- Leonard Wood Road, Baguio City. She was only 11 years old
appellant entered a plea of not guilty to each of the charges. then. According to Jeannie Ann, their family had moved to said
Thereafter, a joint trial of the cases ensued. house when her grandmothers house in Sumulong St. was
destroyed in the July 16, 1990 earthquake that hit Baguio
The prosecution presented as its witnesses complainant City.10 They occupied the basement of the house in Leonard
Jeannie Ann dela Cruz; Dr. Ronald R. Bandonill, the medico- Wood Road. The basement had two bedrooms, a comfort room
legal officer of the National Bureau of Investigation-Cordillera and a living room. Nobody stayed in the second floor thereof
Administrative Region (NBI-CAR); Mrs. Jean dela Cruz, mother but during the day they stayed in the main house. 11 Sometime
of complainant and spouse of accused-appellant; and SPO2 that month, Jeannie Ann, her three year-old brother Nio and
Melchor Ong of the Baguio City Police. accused-appellant were left in the house while her mother and
her sister Divine went to market. She was in the living room
with Nio when her father undressed her. Her father removed
The prosecution established that accused-appellant married
his pants and she was made to lie down on a cushion. Her
Jean dela Cruz in civil rites on 14 April 1977 and again in
father played with her genitalia and rubbed his penis against
Catholic rites on 27 December 1978. They begot four children,
her private part until a white liquid came out of his penis.
namely: Jeanie Ann (the private complainant), Divine Grace,
Jeannie Ann said that after said incident, she felt pain in her
Daniel Jay and Gerard Nio.4
vagina whenever she would urinate (mahapdi). She did not
resist because she thought that what her father was doing to
Accused-appellant, a teacher, worked at the Don Bosco her was a normal act.12
Technical Institute in Tarlac from 1978 to 1986. He transferred
to the Don Bosco Elementary School in Baguio City sometime
Jeannie Ann narrated that accused-appellant again abused her
in 1986 and taught there until the following year. In 1987, he
one night in July 1995 when she was 16 years old. She was
worked at the Saint Louis Center in Baguio City until his
watching television with her siblings in the living room. At that
dismissal therefrom in 1993. Accused-appellant again taught at
time, their mother was attending a meeting in church. Accused-
the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Tarlac from 1993 until his
appellant called her three times but she refused to respond to
arrest in August 1997.5 While working there, he and his son
his call as she was watching television. Exasperated, accused-
Daniel stayed in Sto. Cristo, Tarlac on weekdays and went
appellant pulled her inside one of the bedrooms and asked her
home every 15 days or every payday. They would go home to
to lie down on the bed saying, "This is only for a while."
Baguio City, where the rest of their family stayed, on Friday
Accused-appellant then undressed her, removed his pants and
evening and return to Tarlac on Sunday afternoon.6
underwear, inserted his finger inside her vagina, mashed her
breasts and licked her vagina. Accused-appellant proceeded to
Jeannie Ann dela Cruz ("Jeannie Ann") testified that she was rub his penis against her vagina and thereafter inserted his
born to accused-appellant and Jean Aqui-dela Cruz on April penis therein and kept it there until his semen started to come
18, 1979 in Tarlac, Tarlac. Not long after her birth, her family out. Accused-appellant placed his penis on Jeannie Anns
transferred to the house of her maternal grandmother in No. 2 stomach where he made his semen flow. While all this was
Sumulong Street, Baguio City. Her family lived in an extension happening, Jeannie Ann could only cry, as she was afraid of
of her grandmothers house which had a basement, a second accused-appellant, because he threatened her that he would
floor and an attic. The second floor had four rooms and a stairs kill her or her mother and siblings.13
leading to the attic, which served as a stockroom. Jeannie
Anns parents and her two brothers, Daniel and Nio, stayed in
The third incident recounted by Jeannie Ann occurred in their
the basement while she and her sister, Divine stayed in the
house in No. 2 Sumulong Street, Baguio City on August 2,
second floor.7
1997. She was then 18 years old. When she came home at
around 10:30 in the morning after her classes at Saint Louis
Jeannie Ann revealed that accused-appellant started molesting University, she saw accused-appellant at the door. He told her
her when she was seven years old. While he helped do her to proceed to the attic shortly. She ignored him and went
homework at night, accused-appellant would on occasion directly to her room and started cleaning the same. While she
make her hold his penis and masturbate him. There were also was cleaning the outer portion of her room, she saw accused-
instances when he would put his penis inside her mouth and appellant go up the attic. While he was there, he repeatedly
withdraw the same when a white liquid came out. 8 Accused- called her and asked her to go there. When Jeannie Ann
appellant warned Jeannie Ann not to tell her mother what he remembered that her mother had earlier instructed her to clean
was doing to her and told her that it was a normal thing the attic, she went up when she was done cleaning her room.14
between father and daughter. He further warned Jeannie Ann
that her mother might kill them should she learn about the
Accused-appellant lay on the bed in the attic as Jeannie Ann
things that they did. Jeannie Ann believed accused-appellant
swept the floor. When she was done, accused-appellant asked
and did not tell anyone about the sexual acts he performed on
her to join him on the bed. He went near her and again asked
her. As she was growing up, accused-appellant continued to
her to sit on the bed when she refused to heed his call.
engage in the aforementioned sexual activities with her, and
Accused-appellant whispered to her that he was running out of
continuously threatened to hurt her, her siblings or her mother
time. He talked in whispers so that the other people in the
if she did not give in to his desires. Jeannie Ann still refrained
house at that time would not be able to hear what he said.
from complaining because she was convinced by the accused-
Sensing that accused-appellant would again molest her,
appellant that the sexual activities which he performed on her
Jeannie Ann became nervous and started to cry. He told her to lacerations did not rule out the possibility that the victim had
stop crying and to relax, as what he was about to do would sexual intercourse less than three months prior to his
only take a while. Accused-appellant then lifted Jeannie Anns examination of her, since intercourse would not create further
t-shirt and brassier, mashed her breasts with his left hand and lacerations when done in the same position. He likewise noted
inserted his right hand inside her pants. Jeannie Ann resisted, that the vaginal walls were lax and the vaginal rugosities were
but accused-appellant proceeded to insert a finger of his right slightly flattened and smoothed. The victim's hymenal orifice
hand inside her vagina. While he performed the admitted a tube 2.4 cm. in diameter with ease. Dr. Bandonill
aforementioned acts on his daughter, accused-appellant told said it was possible that penetration happened several times.
her, "I love you very much. Promise me that I will be the only He further testified that the frequent insertion of a finger or
one who will do this to you."15 other rigid object, with a diameter of more than an inch, could
cause the lacerations as well as the lax condition of vaginal
Accused-appellant only stopped what he was doing when he walls.21
heard Aileen, a boarder in their house, calling Jeannie Ann. He
immediately fixed her clothes and hair, then moved away from Jean dela Cruz ("Mrs. dela Cruz"), Jeannie Anns mother and
her. Accused-appellant instructed Jeannie Ann not to go down wife of accused-appellant, testified that she learned that
and to keep quiet about the incident. When accused-appellant accused-appellant had sexually abused their daughter Jeannie
noticed that Aileen had left because Jeannie Ann did not Ann on August 2, 1997 when she arrived at home after her
respond to her, accused-appellant embraced Jeannie Ann and marketing chores. She was told by her daughter Divine that
said: "Please cooperate with me and trust me. I have given you accused-appellant was picked up by the police. Mrs. dela Cruz
my life. Promise that I will be the only one who will touch you." followed accused-appellant to the police station and found
Accused-appellant began touching her again. He inserted his Jeanie Ann crying while the latter was reporting what had
fingers inside her vagina. As he touched her, he said, "Please happened to her at the Women's Desk. Upon seeing her
cooperate with me and trust me. This is for your own good and daughter, Mrs. dela Cruz hugged her and they cried together.22
for the good of our family. If you will not follow me, you might
regret it. I want you to have a bright future. And after you finish, Mrs. dela Cruz further stated that she was shocked upon
I can already die and you will no longer have any hearing Jeannie Anns statement before the police that
problem."16 Although Aileen, Divine, Nio and Rogel, another accused-appellant had been performing oral sex on their
boarder in their house were also there at the time of the daughter Jeannie Ann since the latter was seven years old, as
incident, Jeannie Ann did not have the courage to call for help it was the first time that she learned about it. In her anger, she
because she was very much afraid of accused-appellant, and rushed to the other room where the accused-appellant was
she saw anger in his eyes.17 being questioned and slapped him, kicked him and scratched
his face. She said accused-appellant denied all the
When accused-appellant was done with her, Jeannie Ann accusations against him. When accused-appellant was already
insisted on going down. She cried as she returned to her room incarcerated, Mrs. dela Cruz received several letters23 from him
to fix herself. Thereafter, she went out of the house to deal with asking for forgiveness from her and from Jeannie Ann. 24 She
what had just happened to her. While walking outside toward also informed the trial court that after accused-appellants
the bridge, she saw a white L-300 van belonging to the police. incarceration, she went to Tarlac to get her husband's things
She flagged down the vehicle and narrated to the two police since he usually stayed there on weekdays while he taught at
officers riding therein, SPO2 Bravo and SPO2 Ong, what Don Bosco.25 She discovered several love letters by a certain
accused-appellant had just done to her. The policemen Emily addressed to accused-appellant,26 Emilys
27
accompanied her back to their house where they met accused- photograph and accused-appellants draft love letters to
appellant whom Jeannie Ann identified as the person who had Emily, dated March 21, 1995, 28 September 4, 1995,29 and
raped her. Accused-appellant voluntarily went with the March 7, 1996.30 Mrs. dela Cruz also found a letter from a
policemen to the Baguio City Police Station.18 certain Maureen telling accused-appellant that he had a
chance of winning her heart,31 and a photograph of
When they arrived at the Baguio City Police Station, Jeannie Maureen.32She said that the tenor of the letters indicated that
Ann narrated her experience to the police officer stationed at accused-appellant was having relations with other
the Womens Desk. In her statement, Jeannie Ann described women.33 Mrs. dela Cruz also denied accused-appellants
what accused-appellant did to her on August 2, 1997.19 claims that she had a paramour and that she helped Jeannie
Ann file the complaints against him because she (Mrs. dela
Jeannie Ann also denied accused-appellants claim that she Cruz) wanted to get back at him for being unfaithful to her.34
had sexual relations with her boyfriend Charles, and that she
accused her father of rape to get back at him for causing her SPO2 Melchor Ong, the police officer assigned to the Baguio
breakup with Charles.20 City Mobile Group, also testified that on August 2, 1997,
between 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 noon, while he and his
Dr. Ronald R. Bandonill, the NBI-CAR medico-legal officer who companion inside an L-300 van of the Baguio City police were
conducted a physical examination of Jeannie Ann on August 8, passing along Sumulong St., Baguio City, they saw Jeannie
1997, testified that he found two old healed lacerations at 5 Ann walking towards them. The latter stopped them and
o'clock and 7 o'clock positions on Jeannie Anns hymen. He tearfully reported to them that her father had just sexually
said that the lacerations could have been inflicted more than molested her. They accompanied Jeannie Ann to her house
three months prior to the date of the examination and and there the latter pointed to accused-appellant as the person
considering the proximity of their location, could have been who mashed her breasts and inserted his finger inside her
inflicted at the same time. A hard rigid instrument like an erect vagina. SPO2 Ong and his companion approached accused-
male organ, a rigid wood or a finger could have caused these appellant, introduced themselves as policemen and invited him
lacerations. Dr. Bandonill also opined that the positions of the to the police station. He said that accused-appellant readily
agreed to go with them to the police station.35
The defense presented as witnesses the accused-appellant, accused-appellant refused to sign the document without the
Camilo Estepa, Barangay Chairman of Barangay Holy Ghost, presence of his counsel. SPO2 Leonardo Cruz Bravo,
Baguio City, Fr. Exequiel Veloso, Principal of the Don Bosco however, told him that his refusal to sign the document may be
Technical Institute, and Fr. Jean Marie Tchang, Director of the interpreted as a sign of resistance on his part. Accused-
Don Bosco in Trancoville, Baguio City. appellant thereafter decided to sign the document.42

Accused-appellant testified that he was a teacher at the Don Accused-appellant admitted that he transferred to the Don
Bosco Technical Institute in Tarlac, Tarlac from 1978 to 1986. In Bosco Technical Institute in Tarlac, Tarlac because he was
1987, he transferred to Don Bosco in Trancoville, Baguio City dismissed from the Saint Louis Center in Baguio City. He
and worked there for a year. From 1988 to 1993, he taught acknowledged that while teaching in Saint Louis Center, a
also in Saint Louis School Center. In 1994, he went back to the student named Freda Miguel filed a case43 against him
Don Bosco Technical Institute in Tarlac, Tarlac and had taught because accused-appellant allegedly embraced her (Miguel) in
there until his incarceration in August 1997.36 On weekdays, he the Science Laboratory Room of the school, and that he signed
and his son Daniel stayed in Sto. Cristo, Tarlac, Tarlac and they an amicable settlement of the complaint. However, he denied
would go home to their family in Baguio City every 15th and the truth of that complaint against him and said that the filing
30th of each month to give his salary to his wife. When these thereof was not the cause of his dismissal from Saint Louis
dates fell on a weekday, they would go home to Baguio City Center.44
the following Friday and return to Tarlac on Sunday afternoon.37
He also admitted that the letters from Emily and Maureen
He denied all the accusations hurled against him by his addressed to him were his but insisted that they were only his
daughter Jeannie Ann.38 According to him, he tried to provide friends, and that Emilys reference to him as her boyfriend in
for the needs of his family, especially his wife whom he loved one of her letters45 was only a joke.
very much. He maintained that even when he was already in
jail, he asked his mother and his sister to support his Accused-appellant claimed that his wife and Jeannie Ann
daughter's education. conspired to file the cases against him because they had
resentments against him. He said Jeannie Ann blamed him for
He admitted to having gone home to Baguio City in the having caused her breakup with her boyfriend Charles. His
evening of August 1, 1997, which he recalled was a Friday. wife, on the other hand, wanted him out of her life because she
That night, his wife asked him to clean the attic the following had a paramour. According to him, his wife admitted to him that
day as there was a dead rat therein.39 she had an illicit relationship with a man named Alfredo dela
Cruz, a namesake of his brother. His wife had a second
The following day, August 2, 1997, accused-appellant removed relationship with a person named Alfredo Aquino against whom
the decomposing body of the rat from the attic as requested by he filed a case before the barangay.46
his wife. He called his daughter Jeannie Ann who was cleaning
her room on the second floor of the house to come to the attic Camilo Estepa, Barangay Captain of Barangay Holy Ghost,
and help him. It took a while before Jeannie Ann heeded his Baguio City, told the trial court that sometime in 1993,
call. When she finally went up, she merely swept one third of accused-appellant filed a case for malicious mischief against a
the floor area of the attic, away from where the dead rat was. certain Alfredo or Federico Aquino, a boarder in the house of
When she was done sweeping the floor, accused-appellant Mrs. Aqui, the mother of Mrs. dela Cruz. Accused-appellant
asked her to come near him, as he wanted to apologize for alleged that Aquino was courting his wife. However, the case
having scolded her earlier and to remind her that she should was settled amicably when Aquino agreed to leave the
not have ignored him when he commanded her to go up the boarding house of Mrs. Aqui.47
attic, or to at least tell him that she could not obey his
command immediately. While he was talking to her, they heard Fr. Exequiel Veloso, Principal of the Don Bosco Technical
someone calling her name. Jeannie Ann told accused- Institute in Tarlac from 1994 to 1998, testified that he had
appellant that that person was her classmate. She then went known accused-appellant since 1994 and was not aware of
down while accused-appellant stayed on to fix the things in the any untoward incident involving the latter. He said that
attic. Not long afterwards, his daughter Divine informed him accused-appellant and his son Daniel would go home to his
that they had some visitors downstairs. On his way down from family in Baguio City every weekend and returned to Tarlac
the attic, he looked out of the window and saw Jeannie Ann either on Sunday evening or Monday morning. He would come
walking beyond the bridge.40 to school on time and attended the flag ceremony regularly. Fr.
Veloso said that none of the lady teachers ever complained
Accused-appellant went down to meet the visitors who were about accused-appellant.48
looking for Rogel, one of their boarders. After leading these
visitors to Rogel, two policemen arrived in their house with Fr. Jean Marie Tchang, Director of the Don Bosco Elementary
Jeannie Ann. Accused-appellant identified the policemen as School in Trancoville, Baguio City, testified that accused-
SPO2 Leonardo Cruz Bravo and SPO2 Melchor Ong. The appellant was a very competent teacher in Science and had a
former asked for accused-appellants name and thereafter very good relationship with the other teachers. He said he
invited him to the police station. He freely went with them, regretted that accused-appellant left his teaching job at the
without asking the purpose of the invitation.41 Don Bosco Elementary School after only one year.49

At the station, SPO2 Leonardo Cruz Bravo interviewed On August 13, 1998, the trial court promulgated its decision,
accused-appellant. The interview was reduced to writing and the dispositive portion of which reads:
he was asked to sign the same. He did not read the document,
as he did not have his eyeglasses with him at that time. At first,
WHEREFORE, Judgment is hereby rendered as Accused-appellant points out that Jeannie Ann failed to
follows: immediately notify the authorities, or at least her mother, of her
harrowing experience. Notwithstanding the fact that he was
1. In Criminal Case No. 15163-R, the Court finds the often away from their home because he stayed in Tarlac where
accused Danilo dela Cruz y Carizza guilty beyond he worked on weekdays, and Jeannie Ann was with her mother
reasonable doubt of the offense of Rape (committed in Baguio City, it took her eleven years to disclose the sexual
in September 1990) as charged in the Information abuses which accused-appellant allegedly committed against
defined and penalized under paragraph No. 3 of her.52 Moreover, he claims that considering Jeannie Anns
Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code (Statutory tender age at the time he allegedly raped her, she must have
Rape) and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty suffered great pain and should have complained about it to her
of reclusion perpetua; to indemnify the offended party, mother or told the latter what accused-appellant had been
Jeannie Ann dela Cruz the sum of P50,000.00 as doing to her. Accused-appellant argues that the delay in the
Moral Damages without subsidiary imprisonment in reporting of the sexual acts he performed on his daughter is
case of insolvency and to pay the costs. not normal and is indicative of the untruthfulness of
complainants charges.53
The accused Danilo dela Cruz being a detention
prisoner is entitled to be credited 4/5 of his preventive The Court finds that the trial court did not err in finding
imprisonment in the service of his sentence in accused-appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of raping
accordance with Article 29 of the Revised Penal his daughter Jeannie Ann in September 1990 and July 1995.
Code.
Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, which defined the crime
2. In Criminal Case No. 15164-R, the Court finds the of Rape prior to the enactment of Republic Act No. 8353 (the
accused Danilo dela Cruz y Carizza guilty beyond Anti-Rape Law of 1997), and which is the applicable law for the
reasonable doubt of the offense of incest rape rape incidents of September 1990 and July 1995, states:
(committed in July 1995) as charged in the
Information defined and penalized under Section 11 of When and how rape is committed. Rape is
Republic Act 7659 (Heinous Crime Law) which committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman
amended Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code and under any of the following circumstances:
hereby sentences him to suffer the supreme penalty
of Death to be implemented in accordance with law; 1. By using force or intimidation;
to indemnify the offended party Jeannie Ann dela
Cruz the sum of P50,000.00 as Moral Damages 2. When the woman is deprived of reason or
without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency otherwise unconscious; and
and to pay the costs.

3. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is


3. In Criminal Case No. 15368-R, the Court finds the demented.
accused Danilo dela Cruz y Carizza guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the offense of Acts of
The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion
Lasciviousness defined and penalized under Article
perpetua.
336 of the Revised Penal Code instead of violation of
RA 7610 (Child Abuse Law) as charged in the
Information and hereby sentences him, applying the xxx
indeterminate sentence law, to suffer the penalty of
imprisonment ranging from two (2) months and one In reviewing the cases at bar, the Court observed the following
(1) day of Arresto Mayor as Minimum to two (2) years guidelines it had previously formulated for the review of rape
four (4) months and one (1) day of prision cases: (1) an accusation of rape can be made with facility, but
correccional as Maximum; to indemnify the offended it is difficult to prove, and even more difficult for the accused to
party Jeannie Ann dela Cruz the sum of P5,000 as disprove; (2) in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime of rape
Moral Damages without subsidiary imprisonment in where only two persons are usually involved, the testimony of
case of insolvency and to pay the costs. the complainant must be scrutinized with extreme caution; and
(3) the evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its
The accused Danilo dela Cruz being a detention own merits and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the
prisoner is entitled to be credited 4/5 of his preventive weakness of the evidence of the defense.54
imprisonment in the service of his sentence in
accordance with Article 29 of the Revised Penal Law. In rape cases, the issue invariably boils down to the credibility
of the victims testimony. The trial courts evaluation of the
SO ORDERED.50 credibility of the victims statements is accorded great weight
because it has the unique opportunity of hearing the witnesses
testify and observing their deportment and manner of testifying.
In his brief, accused-appellant contends that the trial court
The trial court judge is indisputably in the best position to
erred in giving credence to the testimony of Jeannie Ann and in
determine the truthfulness of the complainants testimony.
finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes of
Thus, unless it is shown that the trial court overlooked,
rape and acts of lasciviousness. He alleges that Jeannie Anns
misunderstood or misapplied some facts or circumstances of
testimony was fabricated and inconsistent.51
weight or substance that would otherwise affect the result of
the case, its findings will not be disturbed on appeal.55
The Court has adhered to the rule that when the testimony of a a He fingered my vagina and also mashed
woman who states under oath that she has been raped meets mybreasts (sic). And with his tongue he licked my
the test of credibility, the accused may be convicted on the vagina. After that he used his penis and rubbed it into
basis of such testimony. A rape victim who testifies in a my vagina. And he played with my vagina.
categorical, straightforward, spontaneous and frank manner,
and who remains consistent, is a credible witness.56 q What did you do when your father was doing
that to you?
In the cases at bar, the trial court found Jeannie Anns
testimony to be "natural, coherent and touching as she a I was just crying, sir.
recounted her harrowing experience in the hands of her
father,"57 as follows: q Did you not fight back?

xxx a No sir, because I was afraid of my father.

q Now, sometime in the month of July, 1995, q Why are you afraid of your father?
Madame Witness, do you remember if there was
anything unusual which took place again in your
a Because when I was still young, one time he
house at Sumulong St., Baguio City?
told me that either I will be killed or our family will be
killed.
a There was, sir.

q On what occasion was that when your father


q What was that incident? old (sic) you that it is either you or the family that will
be killed?
[a] On that night I was watching TV with my
brothers and sisters. While I was watching TV my a I cannot remember, sir. But that was when I
father was calling me but I did not heed his call was still young.
because I said I was watching TV. So, three times he
called me and I know that he was already angry. Then
q Now, aside from rubbing his penis to your
he went near me and pulled me into the other room.
vagina, what else did your father do?
And in that other room, he did bad things that I cannot
imagine.
a When he was rubbing his penis against my
vagina there was a white liquid that came out. And
q Now, you said that you and your brothers and
when that white liquid came out he placed his penis
sisters were watching TV on that night of July, 1995.
on my stomach where the white liquid was placed.
Where was your mother at that time?

COURT: (to witness)


a She was not in the house at that time because
she attended a meeting in our church.
q Will you tell us what you mean by his rubbing
his penis to your vagina? What was being done
COURT: (to witness)
actually?

q That is why we already excluded the public.


a I felt that half of the head of his penis was
Dont let the Court speculate. Will you tell us straight.
inside my vagina. That is what I felt. (At this point the
What did your father actually do which you said (sic)
witness again broke into tears)
he did things which you cannot imagine?

COURT:
a When we were in the room he let me sit on the
bed. And he asked me to lie down. And he said, "This
is only for a while". And after that he put down my Continue.
pants and my underwear. Then he undressed,
lowered his pants and removed his brief. Then he PROS. CENTENO:
started touching my vabina (sic).
q Now, when you felt that as you said half of the
COURT: penis of your father was inside your vagina, what did
you do?
Continue from there. Make it of record that at
this point the witness is crying. a None, sir.

PROS. CENTENO: q Why did you not do anything?

q Now after your father had removed your pants a Because I didnt know what to do, sir.
and your underwear as you said, and he also
removed his pants and his brief and started holding q Did you not try to fight your father?
your vagina, what else happened?
a No, sir, because I am really afraid of my father. PROS. CENTENO:
Because when he gets mad at my mother, my
brothers and sisters would be involved. May we put the word "mahapdi" which was
the term used by the witness, in the record.
q Now, before July 1995, Madame Witness,
particularly in September of 1990, several months (to witness)
after the earthquake of July 16, 1990, will you tell us
where you were residing? q How long did your father rub his penis into your
vagina?
a We were residing then at No. 37 Leonard
Wood Road, sir. a It was for quite a long time until a white liquid
came out.
q How old were you?
q Did you not fight back when your father did that
a I was 11 years old. to you?

xxx a No, sir.

q When you were staying at Leonard Wood q Why did you not fight back?
Road, Baguio City, together with your father, your
mother, your sister and your brothers in September of a Because I thought that what he was doing to
1990, do you remember if there was any unusual me was a normal act.
incident which happened to you?

xxx58
a Yes, sir.

The trial court judge saw "from the face of the victim the
q What was that incident? anguish and the pain and the shame and the embarrassment
as she broke down and cried several times in the course of her
a I was with my father and brother Nio at the testimony every time she was asked [about] the despicable
sala. And at the sala he undressed me and did the acts of her father."59
same. He removed his pants. Then he took a cushion
from the sala and asked me to lie down. And there he Moreover, no woman would fabricate charges of sexual abuse,
played with my vagina. Then he rubbed his penis allow an examination of her private parts and endure the
against my vagina. Nio was still a baby at that time. humiliation of a public trial where she would be forced to
recount the details of her unfortunate experience had she not
q Where was your mother at that time? really been raped. This is especially true in cases of incestuous
rape, as in these cases where Jeannie Ann accused her own
a My mother was not in the house at that time. father of abusing her, since reverence and respect for ones
What I know is that she went to the market. parents and other elders is deeply ingrained in Filipino
children.60
q How about you sister Divine?
The delay in reporting a rape incident does not necessarily
a She was with my mother, sir. impair the credibility of the victim where the delay can be
attributed to the pattern of fear instilled by the threats of bodily
COURT: (to witness) harm, especially when made by a person who exercised moral
ascendancy over the victim. It is not uncommon for a young girl
to conceal for sometime the assault on her virtue because of
q Again, in this incident will you describe actually
the rapists threat on her life, or on the life of the other
to us the motions that took place with the rubbing of
members of her family.61
his penis into your vagina?

In the cases at bar, Jeannie Ann repeatedly explained that


a It is like this, sir. For example this is my vagina
accused-appellant threatened to hurt her, her mother or her
(witness showing her left hand, palms up) and this is
siblings if she did not give in to his desires. 62 Her fear of what
his penis (witness demonstrating with her right
accused-appellant would do to her, her mother and siblings if
forefinger), he made a push and pull movement on
she revealed his evil deeds was what compelled her to suffer
my vagina.
in silence for a long time. In People v. Nicolas, 63 the Court
stated:
PROS. CENTENO:
The pattern of instilling fear, utilized by the perpetrator
q What did you feel while your father was doing in incestuous rape to intimidate his victim into
that to you which you term as "rubbing his penis into submission, is evident in virtually all cases that have
your vagina"? reached this Court. It is through this fear that the
perpetrator hopes to create a climax of extreme
a I felt pain, sir. psychological terror which would, he hopes, numb his
victim into silence and force her to submit to repeated These circumstances must be alleged in the information and
acts of rape over a period of time. The relationship of established during trial for the court to be able to impose the
the victim and the perpetrator magnifies this terror, death penalty.70 It was, therefore, incumbent upon the
because the perpetrator is a person normally prosecution to satisfactorily prove both circumstances of
expected to give solace and protection to the victim.64 minority and relationship.

On the other hand, the trial court found accused-appellant to In Criminal Case No. 15164-R, the father-daughter relationship
be evasive in his narration of his story. All that he offered in his was alleged in the information and proven in the course of the
defense were his bare denials. Denial, like alibi, is an trial. However, Jeannie Anns minority, although likewise
inherently weak defense and cannot prevail over the positive alleged in the information, was not sufficiently proved. All that
and credible testimony of the prosecution witness that the was offered to establish her age was her bare testimony that
accused committed the crime. A mere denial constitutes she was born on April 18, 1979. The prosecution failed to
negative evidence which cannot be accorded greater present her birth certificate, or in lieu thereof, other
evidentiary weight than the declaration of a credible witness documentary evidence such as her baptismal certificate,
who testifies on affirmative matters.65 school records which would have aided the court in verifying
her claim that she was a minor when she was raped by
Accused-appellant's assertion that his daughter made up the accused-appellant in July 1995.
charges against him to get back at him for causing her breakup
with her boyfriend Charles is likewise unbelievable. It is not In the absence of adequate proof of Jeannie Anns minority, the
likely that a complainant in a rape case would fabricate a story penalty imposable for the offense in Criminal Case No. 15164-
of defloration against her own father and put to shame not only R is reclusion perpetua.71
herself but her whole family as well, unless it was the plain
truth and her motive was purely to obtain justice. 66 Neither The Court also finds that accused-appellant cannot be
does the Court believe accused-appellant's claim that his wife convicted of rape or acts of lasciviousness under the
urged their daughter to file rape charges against him because information in Criminal Case No. 15368-R, which charges
she (his wife) wanted to get him out of the way of her extra- accused-appellant of a violation of R.A. No. 7610 (The Special
marital relationship. It is unnatural for a parent to use her Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and
offspring as an engine of malice, especially if it will subject Discrimination Act), "either by raping her or committing acts of
them to embarrassment and even stigma.67 No mother would lasciviousness."72
have the courage to expose an ignominious act of her husband
that could lead to a breakup of the family unless she was It is readily apparent that the facts charged in said information
prompted by a desire to obtain justice for her daughter.68 do not constitute an offense. The information does not cite
which among the numerous sections or subsections of R.A.
The trial court committed no error in imposing upon accused- No. 7610 has been violated by accused-appellant.73 Moreover,
appellant the penalty of reclusion perpetua for the rape he it does not state the acts and omissions constituting the
committed in September 1990, since the offense was offense, or any special or aggravating circumstances attending
committed prior to the effectivity of Republic Act No. 7659 (the the same, as required under the rules of criminal procedure.
Death Penalty Law).69 Section 8, Rule 110 thereof provides:

However, the Court finds that the lower court erred in imposing Designation of the offense. The complaint or
the supreme penalty of death upon him for the rape committed information shall state the designation of the offense
in July 1995. R.A. No. 7659, which was already in force at that given by the statute, aver the acts or omissions
time, requires that the circumstances of the minority of the constituting the offense, and specify its qualifying and
victim and her relationship with the offender must concur for aggravating circumstances. If there is no designation
the death penalty to be imposable. Article 335 of the Revised of the offense, reference shall be made to the section
Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 7659 provides: or subsection of the statute punishing it.

xxx The allegation in the information that accused-appellant


"willfully, unlawfully and feloniously commit sexual abuse on his
The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime daughter [Jeannie Ann] either by raping her or committing acts
of rape is committed with any of the following of lasciviousness on her" is not a sufficient averment of the
attendant circumstances. acts constituting the offense as required under Section 8, for
these are conclusions of law, not facts. 74 The information in
1. When the victim is under eighteen (18) years of Criminal Case No. 15368-R is therefore void for being violative
age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, step- of the accused-appellants constitutionally-guaranteed right to
parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against
within the third civil degree, or the common degree, or him.75
the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim.
Although accused-appellant failed to call the attention of both
xxx the trial court and this Court regarding the defects of the
information in Criminal Case No. 15368-R, the Court may motu
The Court has previously explained that the circumstances of proprio dismiss said information at this stage, pursuant to its
minority and relationship are considered as special qualifying ruling in Suy Sui vs. People,76 because the information is a
circumstances because they alter the nature of the crime of patent violation of the right of the accused to be informed of the
rape and thus warrant the imposition of the death penalty. nature and cause of the accusation against him and of the
basic principles of due process. Moreover, an appeal in a DECISION
criminal proceeding throws the whole case open for review,
and it is the duty of the appellate court to correct such errors as CALLEJO, SR., J.:
might be found in the appealed decision, whether these errors
are assigned or not. This is an appeal from the Decision[1] of the Regional Trial
Court of Tagbilaran City, Branch 3, in Criminal Case No. 7729,
It is likewise necessary to increase the award of damages by convicting the appellants Casiano Buntag alias Ciano and
the trial court. The lower court in its decision ordered accused- Diego Bongo of murder, sentencing each of them to reclusion
appellant to indemnify the complainant in the amount of Fifty perpetua, and directing them to jointly indemnify the heirs of
Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) only in each of the cases, the victim Berno Georg Otte the sum of P50,000 as moral
representing moral damages. It failed to award the prescribed damages.
amounts for civil indemnity, the award of which is mandatory
upon the finding of the fact of rape. 77 This civil liability ex The Indictment
delicto is equivalent to actual or compensatory damages in civil
law.78 It is not to be confused with moral damages, which is
The appellants were charged with murder in an
awarded upon a showing that the victim endured physical
Information, the accusatory portion of which reads:
suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched
reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation
and similar injury.79Under prevailing jurisprudence, when the That on or about the 9th day of February, 1992, in the municipality of
penalty imposed on the accused is reclusion perpetua, the Panglao, province of Bohol, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction
amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) should be of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with intent to kill
awarded as civil indemnity to the rape victim. 80 Thus, in and without any justifiable cause, conspiring, confederating and
Criminal Case Nos. 15163-R and 15164-R, an award of Fifty mutually helping each other, with treachery by the suddenness and
Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) as civil indemnity for each unexpectedness of the acts, the victim who was unarmed being then
count of rape is proper. unaware thereof, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously attack, assault and stab with the use of a bladed
instrument one Berno Georg Otte (a German national), hitting and
In addition to civil indemnity, moral damages are automatically
injuring the latter on his chest, thereby causing his immediate death;
granted to the victim in rape cases without need of proof for it
to the damage and prejudice of the heirs of the victim in the amount
is assumed that the private complainant has sustained mental,
to be proved during the trial.
physical and psychological suffering.81The Court affirms the
award by the trial court of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00)
as moral damages in Criminal Cases Nos. 15163-R and Acts committed contrary to the provisions of Art. 248 in relation to
15164-R, since said amounts are in accord with its current Art. 14 all of the Revised Penal Code as amended. [2]
rulings.82
The Case for the Prosecution
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of
Baguio City, Branch 6 in Criminal Cases Nos. 15163-R and Before February 8, 1992, Berno Georg Otte,[3] a German
15164-R is hereby MODIFIED, as follows: national and a tourist, checked in at the Alona Ville Beach
Resort located in Panglao, Bohol. The resort manager, Herma
1. In Criminal Case No. 15163-R, the accused-appellant is Clarabal Bonga,[4] assigned Otte to Room No. 9[5] and gave the
sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and latter his room key.
ordered to pay the victim the amounts of Fifty Thousand Pesos
(P50,000.00) as civil indemnity and Fifty Thousand Pesos On February 8, 1992, Otte took his dinner at the resorts
(P50,000.00) as moral damages; restaurant. Bonga talked to him regarding the disco which was
about to unfold that night in lower Tawala near the Catibo
2. In Criminal Case No. 15164-R, the appellant is sentenced to Chapel.[6]
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and ordered to pay the
amounts of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) as civil At about 10:00 p.m., Bonga went to the disco party where
indemnity and Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) as moral she saw Otte seated at one of the tables. [7] She noticed that he
damages. had some companions whom she failed to recognize.[8]

3. The Information in Criminal Case No. 15368-R is declared Isidro A. Mihangos, a 19-year-old student, and Benigno
null and void for being violative of the accused-appellant's Ninoy Guigue were also at the disco. At around 2:00 a.m. of
constitutionally-guaranteed right to be informed of the nature February 9, 1992, Mihangos and Guigue decided to call it a
and cause of the accusation against him. Hence, the case night and walked home, with their respective bicycles at their
against him is DISMISSED. sides.[9] At the crossing to the Alona Beach, they saw a man
lying on the road but did not recognize him. They walked past
SO ORDERED. the prostrate man. When they were about twenty-five
meters[10] away from the body by the road, they met Casiano
Buntag and Diego Bongo, their barriomates. [11] Suddenly,
Buntag and Bongo jointly and simultaneously lunged at
them. Afraid for their lives, Mihangos and Guigue fled and
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. CASIANO
sought refuge in the house of Guigues uncle, Aquilino Bongo.
BUNTAG alias CIANO and DIEGO [12]
In the process, they left their bicycles behind. Aquilino
BONGO, appellants.
Bongo then accompanied Mihangos and Guigue to where they
left their bicycles. Mihangos and Guigue retrieved their upwards and medially, with a complete fracture of the 4th rib, right,
bicycles, but Buntag and Bongo were no longer there. involving a portion of the right lung and base of the heart.

At around 5:30 a.m. of February 9, 1992, the police Cause of death:


station of Panglao, Bohol, received a report by radio call about
a man, believed to be dead, lying at the side of the crossroad CARDIORESPIRATORY ARREST DUE TO HEMORRHAGE,
near the Alona Beach.[13] PO1 Yolando E. Hormachuelos, SECONDARY TO STAB WOUND, ANTERIOR CHEST, RIGHT.[21]
together with PO1 Mauro Sumaylo and PO1 Dominie Ragusta,
[14]
proceeded to the crime scene. They were accompanied by On March 7, 1992, a criminal complaint for murder was
the Municipal Health Officer, Dr. Julita L. Cogo, who confirmed filed against appellants Bongo and Buntag with the Municipal
that the man died due to a stab wound.[15] The policemen found Circuit Trial Court. Attached to the records was Buntags sworn
a hunting knife about one meter away from the body. statement dated February 21, 1992. Only appellant Bongo
[16]
Constancio Geoivencal took pictures of the submitted his counter-affidavit on February 27, 1992,
cadaver. Hormachuelos took custody of the knife.[17] subscribed and sworn to before Judge Antonio Sarce, [22] where
he confirmed (a) Buntags account in his sworn statement
In the course of their investigation, the policemen learned before Judge Sarce that they were with Otte at 1:00 a.m. on
that Mihangos and Guigue had seen the dead body by the February 9, 1992 at the crossing towards Alona Beach Resort,
road. Hormachuelos fetched Mihangos and Guigue from their and (b) that he was armed with a hunting knife. He further
houses and brought them to the road where the body of Otte stated therein that while at the crossing, Buntag and Otte, who
was found. Mihangos and Guigue narrated how they found the were both drunk, had an altercation and that he tried to pacify
body at around 2:00 a.m. that day, as well as their encounter them but in the process, Buntag pulled out his (Bongos)
with Bongo and Buntag. hunting knife from his waist and stabbed Otte with it.[23]

At about 1:00 p.m. that day, Hormachuelos took appellant After the requisite preliminary investigation, the MCTC
Bongo to the police station and investigated him without the issued a resolution finding probable cause against the
assistance of counsel. Bongo admitted that he took Ottes key appellants for murder and issued warrants for their arrest. The
to Room No. 9 and hid it near their house. He then drew a court found Buntags sworn statement and Bongos counter-
sketch showing the place where he hid the key, at the back of affidavit self-serving.
their house. Bongo also admitted that he was with appellant
Casiano Buntag. The policemen went to Bongos house and On June 4, 1992, the day of the appellants arraignment in
recovered the key to Ottes room as indicated by Bongo in his the Regional Trial Court, appellant Buntag, through counsel,
sketch. Atty. Nerio G. Zamora, filed a Motion to Discharge (him) to be a
Witness for the Prosecution, alleging inter alia:
At 2:00 p.m., Guigue arrived at the police station and
gave his statement to Hormachuelos.[18] At 3:00 p.m., 1) That there is absolute necessity for the testimony of said accused
Mihangos gave his statement to SPO1 Proculo Bonao.
[19]
whose discharge is requested;
Hormachuelos then took custody of Casiano Buntag and
brought him to the police station where he was asked about his
2) That there is no other direct evidence available for the proper
involvement in the killing of Otte without the assistance of
prosecution of the offense committed, except the testimony of said
counsel. However, Buntag opted to keep silent. When apprised
accused, as can be shown by the affidavit of said accused in relation
that Diego Bongo had implicated him, Buntag, this time with
to theaffidavits or sworn statements of Ponciano Horcerada, Isidro
the assistance of his counsel, Atty. Nerio G. Zamora, gave a
Mihangos, Benigno Guigue, Alfredo Guioguio, and PO1 Yolando [E.]
statement on February 13, 1992 to a police investigator. He
Hormachuelos;
stated that at 1:00 a.m. on February 9, 1992, he was walking
back home from the disco place where he caught up with
Diego Bongo and Otte at the crossing of Alona Beach. He saw 3) That the testimony of herein accused can be substantially
Bongo poke a knife at Otte. Bongo then ordered him to box corroborated in its material points;
Otte but he refused, and moved back about three
meters. Bongo himself then boxed Otte three times on the 4) That the said accused does not appear to be the most guilty; and
face. When Otte fell to the ground, Bongo stabbed him on the
chest. Buntag also stated that he then ran back home, but 5) That the said accused has not at any time been convicted of any
Bongo followed him and cautioned him not to reveal the offense involving moral turpitude;
incident to anybody or else he would be implicated. [20] Buntag
subscribed and swore to the truth of his statement on February 6) That herein accused-movant hereby expresses his consent to be a
21, 1992 before Judge Antonio Sarce of the Municipal Circuit witness for the government.[24]
Trial Court.
However, the prosecution opposed the motion on the
In the meantime, Municipal Health Officer Dr. Julita Lood- ground that both accused were equally guilty. On June 8, 1992,
Cogo performed an autopsy on the cadaver of Otte and the court issued an Order denying the motion, and the
submitted her Post-Mortem Report which contained the appellants, assisted by their respective counsels, entered
following findings: pleas of not guilty.[25]

Stab wound, anterior chest, right, at the level of the 4th rib, approx. 2 During the trial, the prosecution presented Judge Antonio
cms. x 1 cm. in size, with a depth of approx. 12 cms., directed G. Sarce who testified that he conducted the preliminary
examination of the case and identified both Buntags sworn
statement and Bongos counter-affidavit as subscribed and Bongo[34] in convicting them of the crime charged. Both the
sworn to before him (Judge Sarce) in his chambers. appellants appealed the decision.

After presenting all its witnesses, the prosecution offered Although the appellants enumerated separate issues in
in evidence the hunting knife,[26] the key to room no. 9 of the their briefs, the same may be synthesized into three issues,
beach resort,[27] the sworn statement of Buntag,[28] and Bongos namely: (a) whether or not the prosecution proved beyond
counter-affidavit[29] to prove that both appellants conspired to reasonable doubt that they conspired to kill the victim Otte and
kill the victim and that they in fact killed the victim, and as part that they, in fact, killed him; (b) whether or not the appellants
of the testimony of Judge Sarce. Both appellants objected to are guilty of murder; and, (c) whether or not the appellants are
the admission of the said sworn statements and counter- liable for moral damages to the heirs of the victim. Appellant
affidavit solely on the ground that the statements executed by Bongos contention that he was deprived of his right to due
one accused was hearsay as to the other accused. [30] By way process on his claim that the transcripts of the respective
of rejoinder, the prosecution alleged as follows: testimonies of Dr. Julita Cogo, SPO1 Bonao and resort
manager Bonga were not transmitted to this Court is belied by
1. That exhibits A, B, C, D, E and all its submarkings are all relevant, the records. In a Resolution dated September 11, 2000, the
pertinent and material evidence against the accused in the above- Court declared that, based on the records, the transcripts of
entitled case, therefore, admissible in evidence; stenographic notes in this case were already complete.[35]

2. That exhibits F and all its submarkings are not hearsay and do not The appellants contend that the prosecution failed to
violate the res inter alios acta rule because they are principally adduce direct or circumstantial evidence to prove that they
offered against accused Casiano Buntag, the affiant. The sworn conspired to kill the victim, and that they, in fact, killed
statement of Casiano Buntag is offered mainly as admission of said him. They argue that although the prosecution adduced
accused Casiano Buntag; circumstantial evidence consisting of the extrajudicial sworn
statement of appellant Buntag and the counter-affidavit of
appellant Bongo, such evidence is utterly insufficient to prove
3. That exhibits G and all its submarkings are not hearsay and do not
their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
violate the res inter alios acta rule because they are principally
offered against accused Diego Bongo, the affiant. The counter-
affidavit of Diego Bongo is offered mainly as admission of said Furthermore, according to the appellants, the admissions
accused Diego Bongo. made by appellant Buntag in his sworn statement are binding
on him only. Being prejudicial to appellant Bongo, such
admissions are not inadmissible against the latter unless
WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court
repeated in open court by appellant Buntag, thus, affording
to admit in evidence all the prosecutions exhibits formally offered,
appellant Bongo the right to cross-examination. Likewise, the
for the purpose for which they are being offered. [31]
admissions of appellant Bongo in his sworn statement are
inadmissible against appellant Buntag, unless the former
The court admitted the documentary and object evidence
repeated his admissions during the trial, affording the latter an
of the prosecution. The appellants opted not to adduce any
opportunity to cross-examine the said appellant. The
evidence on their behalf. Instead, they filed, without leave of
appellants further aver that since they opted not to testify on
court, a Motion to Acquit. On June 7, 1993, the court issued an
their respective statements, there was no opportunity for cross-
Order denying the motion.
examination. Consequently, the admissions made by one
appellant in his sworn statement are hearsay evidence against
On August 14, 1995, the trial court rendered judgment the other appellant, and vice versa. In fine, the appellants
finding both the appellants guilty of the crime charged. The contend that the trial court should have acquitted them of the
decretal portion of the decision of the trial court reads: crime charged.

FROM THE FOREGOING PREMISES, this Court renders judgment We agree with the appellants that the prosecution failed
finding the two (2) accused Casiano Buntag, alias Ciano, and Diego to adduce direct evidence that they conspired to kill Otte and
Bongo guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of MURDER, an that they, in fact, stabbed and killed the victim. However, we
act committed contrary to the provisions of Article 248, in relation to find and so hold, after an incisive review of the records, that
Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and does hereby the prosecution adduced sufficient circumstantial evidence to
sentences each one of them to the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua, prove the guilt of the appellants beyond reasonable doubt.
with all the accusatory penalties imposed by law.
Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code provides that there is
There being no evidence disclosed as to the civil liability, this Court, conspiracy when two or more persons agree to commit a crime
therefore, limits in providing that the accused shall pay jointly the and decide to commit it. Direct proof is not essential to
heirs of the deceased Berno Georg Otte the amount of Fifty Thousand establish conspiracy, and may be inferred from the collective
Pesos (P50,000.00), by way of moral damages, but without acts of the accused before, during and after the commission of
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. the crime.[36] Conspiracy can be presumed from and proven by
acts of the accused themselves when the said acts point to a
Without pronouncement as to costs. joint purpose and design, concerted action and community of
interests.[37] It is not necessary to show that all the conspirators
SO ORDERED.[32] actually hit and killed the victim. Conspiracy renders all the
conspirators as co-principals regardless of the extent and
The trial court relied, inter alia, on the sworn statement of character of their participation because in contemplation of law,
Buntag dated February 21, 1992[33] and the counter-affidavit of the act of one conspirator is the act of all.[38]
The crime charged may also be proved by circumstantial of the extrajudicial inculpatory admissions of one appellant are
evidence, sometimes referred to as indirect or presumptive identical with some of the extrajudicial inculpatory admissions
evidence. Circumstantial evidence is sufficient on which to of the other, and vice versa. This corroborates and confirms
anchor a judgment of conviction if the following requisites are their veracity. Such admissions, made without collusion, are
established: (a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the akin to interlocking extrajudicial confessions. They are
facts from which the inferences are derived have been admissible as circumstantial evidence against the other
established; and, (c) the combination of all the circumstances appellant implicated therein to show the probability of his
is such as to warrant a finding of guilt beyond reasonable participation in the commission of the crime and as
doubt.[39] corroborative evidence against him.[53] The Court rejects the
appellants contention that they were deprived of their right to
In People v. Delim,[40] we held, thus: cross-examine the other on the latters admissions against the
other. Through their common counsel, they opted not to testify
The prosecution is burdened to prove the essential events which and be cross-examined on their respective statements by the
constitute a compact mass of circumstantial evidence, and the proof prosecution. They opted to file a motion to acquit. Besides,
of each being confirmed by the proof of the other, and all without they had opportunity to cross-examine Judge Sarce before
exception leading by mutual support to but one conclusion: the guilt whom they swore to the truthfulness of their statements.[54]
of the accused for the offense charged. For circumstantial evidence to
be sufficient to support a conviction, all the circumstances must be In this case, the prosecution adduced the following
consistent with each other, consistent with the hypothesis that circumstantial evidence which constitutes proof beyond
accused is guilty and at the same time inconsistent with the reasonable doubt that the appellants, indeed, conspired to kill
hypothesis that he is innocent, and with every other rational and did kill the victim:
hypothesis except that of guilt. If the prosecution adduced the
requisite circumstantial evidence to prove the guilt of the accused 1. Appellant Buntag admitted, in his sworn statement,
[55]
beyond reasonable doubt, the burden of evidence shifts to the accused that, at about 1:00 a.m. on February 9, 1992, he was in the
to controvert the evidence of the prosecution. [41] company of appellant Bongo and the victim Otte at the
crossing of Alona Beach, and that appellant Bongo was armed
In convicting the appellants of the crime charged, the trial with a hunting knife. Appellant Buntag identified the victim
court relied not only on the counter-affidavit of appellant through the latters picture, as well as the hunting knife used in
Bongo[42] and appellant Buntags sworn statement,[43] but also the killing.[56]Appellant Bongo, in his counter-affidavit, confirmed
on the other evidence on record, namely, the knife used in the truth of appellant Buntags admissions and also admitted
killing the victim,[44] the key to Ottes room,[45] and the collective that on the said date, time and place, he was with appellant
testimonies of the other witnesses of the prosecution. Buntag and the victim, and that he was armed with a hunting
knife which was tucked on his waist.
The general rule is that the extrajudicial confession or
admission of one accused is admissible only against the said 2. The appellants admitted in their respective statements
accused but is inadmissible against the other accused.[46] The that on the said occasion, Otte died from a stab wound caused
same rule applies if the extrajudicial confession is made by one by a hunting knife.
accused after the conspiracy has ceased. However, if the
declarant/admitter repeats in court his extrajudicial confession 3. Appellant Bongo admitted in his counter-affidavit that
during trial and the other accused is accorded the opportunity he took the key to the victims room and hid it near their house
to cross-examine the admitter, such confession or admission is where the policemen found it.
admissible against both accused.[47] The erstwhile extrajudicial
confession or admission when repeated during the trial is 4. While both appellants were within the periphery of
transposed into judicial admissions. the situs criminis, Mihangos and Guigue sauntered by with
their bicycles at their sides. Suddenly, the appellants jointly
In criminal cases, an admission is something less than a and simultaneously lunged at them, causing Mihangos and
confession. It is but a statement of facts by the accused, direct Guigue to believe that their lives were in peril, impelling them
or implied, which do not directly involve an acknowledgment of to run for their lives and seek sanctuary in the house of
his guilt or of his criminal intent to commit the offense with Guigues uncle, Aquilino Bongo. By the time Mihangos and
which he is bound, against his interests, of the evidence or Guigue returned to the situs criminis to retrieve their bicycles,
truths charged.[48] It is an acknowledgment of some facts or the appellants had already left.
circumstances which, in itself, is insufficient to authorize a
conviction and which tends only to establish the ultimate facts 5. In his sworn statement, appellant Buntag admitted that
of guilt.[49] A confession, on the other hand, is an after the victim was stabbed, he and appellant Bongo fled from
acknowledgment, in express terms, of his guilt of the crime the situs criminis. This was corroborated by the testimony of
charged.[50] Mihangos. The presence of both appellants at the situs
criminis and their flight from the scene are strong indicia of
In this case, appellant Buntag made extrajudicial their participation in the commission of the crime and their
admissions against his interest in his sworn statement, and not complicity therein.[57] Appellant Bongo opted not to testify or
a confession. So did appellant Bongo in his counter- adduce evidence to controvert the testimony of Mihangos and
affidavit. Such admissions in the form of affidavits, made in the the admissions of the appellant prejudicial to him.
Municipal Trial Court in the course of its preliminary
investigation, are high quality evidence.[51] MCTC Judge 6. The hunting knife of appellant Bongo which was used
Antonio Sarce testified on the said sworn statement and to kill the victim was left at the scene of the crime where the
counter-affidavit and was cross-examined.[52] Moreover, some policemen recovered it shortly thereafter.
7. The appellants admitted in their respective sworn known that sooner or later, the policemen would trace the knife
statements that the victim was stabbed once with a hunting to him; and yet, appellant Bongo failed to report the incident to
knife. These admissions were corroborated by Dr. Julita Cogos the police authorities and surrender the knife to them.
finding that the victim was stabbed once on the anterior chest
area.[58] The doctor testified that the stab wound could have Fourth. Appellant Bongo denied involvement in the killing
been caused by a sharp-edged weapon.[59] and pointed to appellant Buntag as the assailant only after the
latter had executed his own sworn statement pointing to
8. Neither of the appellants brought the victim to the appellant Bongo as the victims assailant. We are convinced
hospital for immediate medical attendance and operation. that appellant Bongos denial of any involvement in the killing is
but a belated afterthought to escape criminal liability for the
9. Although the appellants pointed to the other as the victims death.
assailant in their respective statements, neither of them
reported the stabbing to the police authorities and claimed that The trial court convicted the appellants of murder under
the other killed the victim. Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and
sentenced each of them to reclusion perpetua. We note,
10. Neither of the appellants took the witness stand to however, that the trial court, in its amended decision, made no
deny any involvement in the killing of the victim. The evidence finding on any attendant circumstance which would qualify the
of the prosecution, thus, stands unrebutted. killing to murder. It bears stressing that under the Rules of
Criminal Procedure, any qualifying circumstance attendant to
The appellants cannot rely on the exculpatory portions of the commission of a crime must be alleged in the Information
their respective statements as basis for their acquittal of the and proved by the prosecution, conformably to the
crime charged. In the case of appellant Buntag, he avers in his constitutional right of an accused to be informed of the nature
sworn statement that he was ordered by appellant Bongo to of the charges against him.
box the victim and when he refused, appellant Bongo himself
boxed and stabbed the victim with the hunting knife. When In this case, the Information alleged that treachery was
appellant Buntag fled from the scene and went back home, attendant in the commission of the crime. The prosecution was
appellant Bongo followed and warned him not to divulge the burdened to prove beyond reasonable doubt, not only the
incident so that he would not be implicated. For his part, crime itself, but also the qualifying circumstance of alevosia.
[60]
appellant Bongo turned the tables on appellant Buntag and Treachery cannot be based on speculations and
claimed in his counter-affidavit that the latter snatched the surmises. In order that treachery may be appreciated as a
hunting knife from his waist and stabbed the victim in the heat qualifying circumstance under Article 14 of the Revised Penal
of their altercation. The stabbing was so sudden, he insists, Code, the prosecution is burdened to prove that (a) the
that he was unable to stop appellant Buntag from stabbing the malefactor employed means, method or manner of execution
victim. affording the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself
or to retaliate and, (b) the means, method or manner of
We are not persuaded by the claims of the appellants for execution was deliberately or consciously adopted by the
the following reasons: offender. In this case, there was no eyewitness to the crime.

First. Contrary to the claim of appellant Buntag that On the other hand, appellant Buntag, in his sworn
appellant Bongo boxed the victim, the necropsy report of Dr. statement, claimed that before the victim was stabbed,
Cogo failed to show that the victims body sustained appellant Bongo and the victim had an altercation; appellant
hematoma, bruises or contusions. The findings of the doctor Bongo, in his counter-affidavit, stated that it was appellant
must prevail as against the bare statements of the appellants. Buntag and the victim who had an altercation before the victim
was killed. There is no evidence that the appellants
deliberately or consciously adopted a method or means of
Second. Appellant Buntag admitted in his sworn
execution to insure the death of the victim.
statement that before he and appellant Bongo could leave
the situs criminis after the victim was stabbed, Mihangos and
Guigue arrived.The appellants lunged jointly and In fine then, the appellants are guilty only of homicide,
simultaneously at the two teenagers which so terrified the latter punishable under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code
that they fled for their lives. If, as appellant Buntag claims, he with reclusion temporal in its full range, which is twelve (12)
had nothing to do with the stabbing of the victim, he should years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years. There being no
have sought the help of the teenagers, brought the victim to modifying circumstance attendant to the crime, the maximum
the hospital and reported to the police authorities that it was of the indeterminate penalty should be in its medium period.
appellant Bongo who stabbed the victim. Appellant Buntag
failed to do so. Neither did appellant Bongo seek the help of The trial court awarded moral damages to the heirs of the
the two teenagers and report the stabbing to the police victim, although the prosecution failed to present any heir of
authorities. Both appellants unexplained omission is another the victim as witness. The trial court, likewise, failed to award
indication of their conspiracy and complicity in the crime civil indemnity ex delicto to the heirs of the victim. The decision
charged. of the trial court shall, thus, be modified accordingly.

Third. Appellant Bongo took the key from the body of the IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Decision of
victim and hid it near their house where the policemen found the Regional Trial Court of Tagbilaran City, Branch 3, in
it. The appellant has not explained why he had the key to the Criminal Case No. 7729 is AFFIRMED WITH
victims room and hid it near their house. He owned the hunting MODIFICATIONS.Appellants Casiano Buntag alias Ciano and
knife used in stabbing the victim. He knew or should have Diego Bongo are found guilty, as principals, of homicide under
Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code. There being no was already circulating around their neighborhood. She
modifying circumstances attendant to the crime, each of the admitted that her father had been sexually abusing her for
appellants are sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty close to a year already. Emboldened by the encouragement
from ten (10) years of prision mayor, in its medium period, as she received from sympathetic neighbors, she next confided to
minimum, to sixteen (16) years and one (1) day of reclusion Luisa Galit, Maricel's maternal aunt, who could only
temporal in its medium period, as maximum. The award of commiserate with her.1wphi1.nt
moral damages is deleted. The said appellants are ordered to
pay, jointly and severally, to the heirs of the victim Berno Georg Forthwith, Luisa Galit accompanied Maricel to a doctor who
Otte, P50,000 as civil indemnity, conformably to current upon examination found Maricel to have several old hymenal
jurisprudence.[61] Costs de oficio. lacerations in her vaginal area. Thereafter, they repaired to the
municipal hall where Maricel instituted a complaint against her
SO ORDERED. father, accused Antonio Desuyo, for having repeatedly raped
her.

In the course of the preliminary examination conducted by the


municipal trial court judge, accused Antonio Desuyo asked
forgiveness from his daughter and promised to leave her alone
G.R. No. 140406 April 17, 2002 should she withdraw the charge she filed against him. Maricel
vehemently refused as her father grovelled for forgiveness.1 As
a consequence, an Information was filed against the accused
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
Antonio Desuyo alias "Tony" for raping his fifteen (15)-year old
vs.
daughter Maricel.
ANTONIO DESUYO alias "TONY," accused-appellant.

Maricel attested in court to the truth of her accusations.


BELLOSILLO, J.:
According to her, ever since her mother worked in a faraway
town, her father was dauntless and unrelenting in sexually
MARICEL PERU DESUYO was sleeping beside her younger abusing her night after night within the confines of their home.
sister Aisalyn one late night in September 1996 when she was She felt pain and cried everytime her father would forcibly
awakened by someone caressing her breasts. She opened her insert his penis into her vagina; however she kept her ordeal to
eyes and saw her father, accused Antonio Desuyo, crouching herself as she was afraid of him.
before her. He was naked except for his underpants to cover
his private parts. Instinctively, she begged her father not to
After having her first menstruation she became apprehensive
touch her, reminding him that she was his daughter. But he
that she might get pregnant. Her father however was
paid no heed; instead, he removed her underwear while
unperturbed and simply dismissed her fears by telling her not
threatening to kill her should she make any noise. He mounted
to worry. A year after the first forced coition, Maricel decided to
her, forced his penis into her vagina and gyrated his hips
end her tribulation by unburdening her grief to neighbors who
against hers. She wept as she continued to beg him to desist
readily sympathized with her. She felt relieved after seeing her
from his fiendish assault on her virtue. Meanwhile, Maricel did
father locked up behind bars.2
not tell her mother about the incident; instead, she kept the
ignominy and pain to herself.
The accused denied having raped Maricel. He affirmed
however that he raised singlehandedly his two (2) daughters
Maricel's mother worked as a housekeeper in a faraway town
Maricel and Aisalyn as his wife was serving another household
and she did not want to give her any trouble. Neither did she
in a distant town. According to him, despite his guidance,
inform her relatives who lived nearby. She feared for her life as
Maricel turned out to be a wayward daughter who entertained
her father had threatened to kill her should she speak to
suitors at an early age. Once, his daughter Aisalyn confided to
anyone about what he had done to her.
him that Maricel was corresponding with a boy from
another barrio. He immediately searched through her bag and
The accused would repeat his sexual molestation of Maricel found a letter intended for a certain Jerry. Incensed by his
almost everyday from September 1996 to August 1997. His daughter's behavior he mauled her expecting that she would
assaults on her virtue were always followed by threats on her atone for her mistakes. However, instead of mending her ways,
that she would be killed should she report these to her mother. Maricel ran away from home and instituted this unfounded
The sexual abuses of her father were so often that Maricel lost charge for rape against him. He presented in evidence
count. Maricel's supposed letter to Jerry as well as a letter from his
wife pledging her love and support. He averred that Maricel
On 14 August 1997, early dawn, as Maricel had been already was being inveigled by his sister-in-law Luisa and the latter's
accustomed to, she would be roused from her sleep by her boyfriend Boy into tormenting him for reasons which he could
father fondling her private parts. Again, he undressed her and not fathom.3
unleashed his lechery on her. It was meant to be the last. In
her young and impressionable mind, Maricel vowed that it The trial court did not give credence to the bare denials of the
would not happen to her again. accused. Solely on account of Maricel's testimony, the court a
quo found the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
On 18 August 1997 Maricel summoned enough courage to crime of "multiple incestuous rape" and sentenced him to suffer
relate her ordeal to a police officer who lived nearby. She the supreme penalty of death, and to indemnify the offended
bravely narrated to Police Officer Tito Ganggalang and his wife party P75,000.00 as civil indemnity.4
Riza her sordid tale which was actually a confirmation of what
Accused Antonio Desuyo assails in his brief his conviction for Maricel's failure to immediately inform her mother as well as
"multiple rape" essentially on two (2) grounds, namely, that the her relatives about her ordeal is consistent with reason. It must
Information is defective and that the court a quo erred in be remembered that Maricel depended on the accused for
imposing upon him the penalty of death despite the failure of existence and protection as her mother lived far. As to her total
the prosecution to establish the age of Maricel with certainty.5 obedience to her father and the stoic silence she kept about
her sufferings, these were all brought about by her genuine
Accused avers that the Information for "multiple rape" filed fear of a man who on account of his moral ascendancy needed
against him is deficient since by merely stating that the sexual no weapon to instill such terror in her.18 Maricel was convinced
assaults were repeated "within the month of September 1996 of a potential yet real danger posed by a beast masquerading
up to August 18, 1997,"6 it failed to state the exact dates when as the family's paladin.
the alleged rapes were committed. Quoting heavily from the
early case of US v. Diacho,7 accused asserts that unless he is Finally, we take into consideration Antonio's admission before
informed of the precise "day, or about the day, he may be, to the trial court that he wrote his parents-in-law sometime in
an extent deprived of the opportunity to defend himself."8 March 1998 to ask for their forgiveness. Antonio likewise
acknowledged when cross-examined that he begged for
At the outset, it must be emphasized that the remedy against Maricel's mercy before the municipal trial judge in the course of
an indictment that fails to allege the time of commission of the the preliminary examination. No compelling reason was offered
offense with sufficient definiteness is a motion for bill of by the defense to explain Antonio's incriminating declarations.
particulars. The records show that the accused never asked for Verily, these are judicial admissions which no man in his right
a bill of particulars in accordance with the Revised Rules of mind would make unless they were true.
Criminal Procedure.9
The court a quo convicted the accused of "multiple rape"
The failure of the accused to move for the specification of the without stating the counts of rape involved. The records
date when the alleged crime was committed or for the quashal however show that the prosecution established beyond doubt
of the Information on the ground that it does not conform that accused was guilty of two (2) counts of rape. Although
substantially to the prescribed form10 deprives him of the right Maricel insists that she had been raped almost everyday from
to object to evidence which could lawfully be introduced and September 1996 to August 1997 she was only able to relate
admitted under an information of more or less general terms with clarity two (2) of the rapes, the first forced coition
but which sufficiently charges the accused with a definite sometime in September 1996, and the last on 14 August 1997.
crime.11 It is indeed too late in the day for the accused to raise She positively narrated in detail the surrounding circumstances
this issue because objections to matters of form or substance of the sexual assaults committed against her on those two (2)
in the information cannot be made for the first time on appeal. occasions. Indeed, her recollection of these two (2) rapes was
At any rate, it is settled that the exact date of the commission very vivid, leaving no doubt about its credibility and
of rape is not an essential element thereof and need not be truthfulness.
stated in the information.12 The Court has sustained the
following dates alleged in an information for rape as sufficient Prescinding from the foregoing, the guilt of the accused for two
for purposes of complying with the provisions of the Rules of (2) counts of rape has been conclusively established; however,
Court, to wit: "from November 1990 up to July 21, the death penalty was erroneously imposed. Under Sec. 11 of
1994,"13 "sometime in November 1995, and some occasions RA 7659, death shall be imposed if "the victim is under
prior and/or subsequent thereto,"14 "on or about and sometime eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent x x x of
in the year 1988,"15 "sometime in the year 1987"16 and "before the victim."
and until October 15, 1994."17 In any event, a review of the
evidence presented by the prosecution more than establishes In the instant case, the Information charging the accused with
the guilt of the accused for the rape of his rape alleges that Maricel is the fourteen (14)-year old daughter
daughter.1wphi1.nt of the accused. However, it is significant to note that other than
the testimony of Maricel, no independent proof was presented
For one, it is highly inconceivable, if not completely to show that she was a minor and that she was the daughter of
preposterous, that Maricel, a guileless barrio lass, would the accused. Although Maricel's relationship with the accused
concoct a story of rape against her very own father, taking into was not contested, nor her age refuted, proof of age and
mind the societal humiliation and personal devastation which relationship is critical considering the gravity of the penalty to
such a charge entails. More so, no serious motive, apart from be imposed upon the accused.19
the beatings which she supposedly suffered in the hands of the
accused, was offered to satisfactorily explain why Maricel It bears emphasis that the minority of the victim and her filiation
would come out and undergo legal scrutiny of the unfortunate to the accused when properly alleged in the information and
encounters with her father. Thus, if her testimony meets the proved beyond reasonable doubt during trial elevate the crime
test of credibility, the accused may be convicted on the basis of simple rape to qualified rape and warrant the imposition of
thereof. the extreme penalty of death. As such, nothing but proof
beyond reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to constitute
An analysis of the records reveals that Maricel testified in a the crime with which the accused is charged must be
straightforward, spontaneous and consistent manner. Although established by the prosecution in order for the penalty of death
Maricel expounded only on the first and last instances of rape, to be upheld. In fine, the minority of the victim as well as her
failing thus to give an accurate account of the other sexual relationship with the accused must be proved with equal
violations, her testimony in its entirety was forthright, clear and certainty and clarity as the crime itself; contrarily, the failure of
free from any contradictions. the prosecution to sufficiently establish the victim's age and
relationship with the accused is fatal and consequently bars thereby inflicting upon the latter the following injuries,
conviction for qualified rape.20 to wit:

Perforce, in the present case, the death penalty imposed by "Wound lacerated mid parietal area 4cm with
the trial court should be reduced to reclusion perpetua. linear fracture of underlying skull;
Likewise, the award of P75,000.00 as civil indemnity should be
modified and adjusted to P50,000.00 since the penalty is Wound lacerated 3 cm mid frontal area;
likewise lowered to reclusion perpetua. Consistent with
prevailing jurisprudence, accused Antonio Desuyo should also Wound lacerated T shape right frontal cm;
be ordered to pay Maricel Desuyo P50,000.00 as moral
damages even if there was no proof presented as basis
Abrasion right nasolridge;
therefor since the anguish and pain that complaining witness
endured are plainly evident.21
Contusion with laceration nose;
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Br. 26,
San Jose, Southern Leyte, finding accused Antonio Multiple contusion chest right #3 6cm deep
Desuyo alias "Tony" guilty of "multiple rape" in its qualified form non-penetrating;
and ordering him to pay complaining witness Maricel Peru
Desuyo P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, is MODIFIED. The Wound lacerated left temporal 1 cm;
accused is instead found guilty of two (2) counts of simple rape
and, accordingly, sentences him to reclusion perpetua for each Wound stab left arm medial aspect 1 cm."
count. In addition to paying Maricel Peru Desuyo civil
indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00, instead of P75,000.00, which directly caused his death.
for each count of rape, accused is further ordered to pay moral
damages in the amount of P50,000.00 also for each count.
Contrary to law.1
Costs de oficio.

Petitioner and Wilfredo Garcia are brothers, while their co-


SO ORDERED.
accused in Criminal Case No. 2307-G, Leopoldo, is their first-
degree cousin.2

Earlier, a separate charge sheet docketed as Criminal Case


No. 2165-G had been filed against petitioner Fidelino Garcia,
charging him with direct assault upon an agent of a person in
G.R. No. 124036 October 23, 2001 authority. On March 8, 1984, he was arraigned in said case
and entered a plea of not guilty.
FIDELINO GARCIA, petitioner,
vs. In 1985, the accused in Criminal Case No. 2307-G were
THE COURT OF APPEALS, THE PRESIDING JUDGE OF separately arraigned. All pleaded not guilty to the charge. As
THE RTC, GUMACA, QUEZON, BRANCH 62, and PEOPLE Criminal Cases Nos. 2165-G and 2307-G arose from the same
OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. incident, a joint trial ensued.

QUISUMBING, J.: The facts, as established by the prosecution before the trial
court and affirmed by the appellate court, are as follows:
On appeal by certiorari is the decision of the Court of Appeals
dated February 22, 1996, in CA-G.R. CR No. 13358. The At around 2:30 P.M., July 30, 1983, P/Cpl. Francisco Rollera
decision affirmed the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of was on his way to mail a letter. He was waiting at the crossing
Gumaca, Quezon, Branch 62 in Criminal Case No. 2307-G, near the police outpost in the town proper of Mulanay, Quezon,
finding petitioner Fidelino Garcia with his co-accused Leopoldo when he saw petitioner, Wilfredo and Leopoldo, ganging up on
Garcia and Wilfredo Garcia guilty of homicide. Paulino Rodolfo y Olgena.3 While Leopoldo held the victim,
petitioner hit him with an empty bottle. Wilfredo then stabbed
In an Information dated December 13, 1983, Fidelino Garcia, the victim once with a stainless steel fan knife (balisong). The
Leopoldo Garcia, and Wilfredo Garcia were charged with knife got stuck in Paulinos body. Paulino succeeded in
murder allegedly committed as follows: wrestling free from Leopoldos grasp and pulling out the knife
from his body. He used the knife to stab petitioner in the
That on or about the 30th day of July 1983, at stomach.
Barangay II, in Poblacion, Municipality of Mulanay,
Province of Quezon, Philippines, and within the Rollera tried to stop the fight. He pulled out his service pistol
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, and fired three successive warning shots, calling upon the
armed with a knife, a piece of wood and a broken combatants to stop their fight, but to no avail. Still holding
bottle with intent to kill, and taking advantage of their Wilfredos knife, the wounded Paulino beat a hasty retreat to
superior strength and with treachery, did then and the store of one Manuel Roberto. Wilfredo pursued him. Inside
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, hit the store, Paulino stabbed Wilfredo twice in the neck and
with said piece of wood and stab with the said knife stomach. Unable to stop the affray, Rollera then asked the
and broken bottle one Paulino Rodolfo y Olgena, other people around to summon other policemen.
Paulino went back to the street. Seeing that Wilfredo was of prision mayor as minimum to TWELVE (12) YEARS
about to hit him with a piece of wood, Rollera stepped in and and ONE (1) DAY of reclusion temporal as maximum.
wrestled the stick away from Wilfredo. The latter, however,
managed to get hold of an empty bottle. Before Rollera could Furthermore, all the accused are solidarily liable and
react, petitioner approached him, holding a broken bottle. are ordered to indemnify the heirs of the late Paulino
Rollera moved back and Fidelino chased him around a parked Rodolfo y Olgena, the sum of FIFTY THOUSAND
vehicle. PESOS (P50,000.00) plus the sum of TEN
THOUSAND PESOS (P10,000.00) as actual
At this point, two other policemen arrived and pacified the damages and to pay the costs of this suit.
antagonists. A third responding policeman grabbed and caught
petitioner chasing Rollera around the parked vehicle. SO ORDERED.5

Paulino Rodolfo subsequently died. The medico-legal The accused seasonably filed their respective notices of
certificate issued by Dr. Mario A. Cuento of the Bondoc appeal to the appellate court.6 The Court of Appeals, in a
Peninsula District Hospital at Catanauan, Quezon, revealed resolution dated May 17, 1994 ordered Wilfredo Garcias
that the cause of death was "cerebral hemorrhage."4 appeal deemed "abandoned and ordered dismissed for failure
to furnish the Court (with) his forwarding address."7 On
Predictably, the defense gave a slightly different version of the September 3, 1994, the resolution dismissing Wilfredos appeal
incident. Wilfredo testified that between 2:00 and 3:00 P.M. of became final and executory. The Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R.
July 30, 1983, he was on his way to the tricycle parking space CR No. 13358, thus resolved only the appeals interposed by
in Nanadiego St., Mulanay, Quezon, with his two co-accused Leopoldo and Fidelino Garcia.
following a short distance behind him. He met P/Cpl. Rollera
and Paulino, both of whom appeared to be intoxicated. Paulino On February 22, 1996, the appellate court affirmed the lower
put an arm around Wilfredos shoulder and invited him to have courts decision finding them guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
a drink. The latter removed Paulinos arm and refused, homicide, thus:
explaining that he had to go to the barrio. Wilfredo was about
to leave, when Paulino suddenly collared him and poked WHEREFORE, with the modification that the
a balisong at his throat. Wilfredo stepped back, but Paulino indeterminate sentence should be from six (6) years
nonetheless succeeded in stabbing him in the neck, chest, and and one (1) day of prision mayor as minimum to
stomach. He did not know what transpired next as he lost fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day
consciousness as a result of his wounds, regaining it only next of reclusion temporal as maximum, the decision
morning when he found himself at the Quezon Memorial appealed from is AFFIRMED in all respects.
Hospital where he was confined for four (4) days.

Costs against accused-appellants.


Although petitioner and he were closely following Wilfredo,
Leopoldo claimed that he did not actually see how Paulino
SO ORDERED.8
attacked Wilfredo. What he heard were the voices of persons
heatedly arguing. When he advanced to investigate, he saw
Wilfredo already wounded. Leopoldo ran towards the municipal Although the three accused were represented by one counsel
hall to get police assistance. On his way, he met police officers before the trial court, said counsel filed an appellants brief only
Pobeda and Roadilla and he told them what happened. They for accused Leopoldo Garcia. Before us now is the separate
then proceeded to the scene of the incident where Leopoldo appeal of petitioner Fidelino Garcia filed by a court appointed
allegedly saw Rollera chasing a wounded Fidelino around a counsel de oficio from the Free Legal Assistance Group
parked vehicle. Pobeda and Roadilla then pacified Rollera and (FLAG).9 In his brief, petitioner Fidelino Garcia assigns the
petitioner. Because Leopoldo and petitioner were both following as errors committed by the appellate court:
wounded, the peace officers brought them to the Catanauan
Hospital. Leopoldo claimed that he never saw the victim at the First Assigned Error
scene.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING
On February 14, 1992, the trial court rendered its decision and PETITIONERS CONVICTION FOR CONSPIRACY WHEN IT
disposed of the two cases as follows: WAS NEVER ALLEGED IN THE INFORMATION NOR
PROVEN DURING TRIAL.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, on ground of
reasonable doubt, accused Fidelino Garcia is hereby Second Assigned Error
ACQUITTED of the crime charged under Criminal
Case No. 2165-G for Direct Assault Upon An Agent of THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING
a Person in Authority. PETITIONERS CONVICTION IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY
EVIDENCE REGARDING THE FACT, MANNER AND CAUSE
In Criminal Case No. 2307-G, the judgment of OF THE ALLEGED VICTIMS DEATH.
conviction is hereby entered. Accused FIDELINO,
WILFREDO and LEOPOLDO, all surnamed GARCIA Third Assigned Error
are found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
of HOMICIDE, and this Court hereby sentences them, THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN GIVING GREATER
applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, to suffer an WEIGHT TO THE EVIDENCE OF THE PROSECUTION AND
imprisonment of SIX (6) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY
FINDING NO ILL-MOTIVE ON THE PART OF THE In the present case, the appellate court held that an allegation
PROSECUTION WITNESS. of conspiracy is implied in, or may be inferred from, the
statement that "the said accused, armed with a knife, a piece
Fourth Assigned Error of wood and a broken bottle, with intent to kill, and taking
advantage of their superior strength and with treachery, did
PETITIONER SHOULD BE ACQUITTED BECAUSE THE then and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously attack, hit
EVIDENCE DOES NOT ESTABLISH HIS CULPABILITY AS A with said piece of wood and stab with the said knife and broken
PRINCIPAL, CO-CONSPIRATOR OR ACCOMPLICE.10 bottle one Paulino Rodolfo y Olgena." But we agree with
appellant that here the information does not satisfy the
requirement that the conspiracy must be conveyed in
In sum, the issues for our resolution are: (1) Whether the
"appropriate language."17 The words "conspired,"
appellate court erred in convicting petitioner as a conspirator in
"confederated," or the phrase "acting in concert" or "in
the killing of Paulino Rodolfo y Olgena; and (2) Whether or not
conspiracy," or their synonyms or derivatives do not appear in
there was sufficient evidence to establish petitioners guilt with
the indictment.18 The language used by the prosecution in
moral certainty.
charging the three accused contains no reference to
conspiracy. Conspiracy must be alleged, not merely inferred, in
On the first issue, petitioner contends that an accused cannot the information. Absence of a particular statement in the
be convicted of any offense not alleged in the information, as accusatory portion of the charge sheet concerning any
he has the right to be informed of the nature of the offense with definitive act constituting conspiracy in Criminal Case No.
which he is charged before he is put on trial. He points out that 2307-G renders the indictment insufficient to hold one accused
the Information in Criminal Case No. 2307-G did not allege that liable for the individual acts of his co-accused. An accused
he conspired, confederated, mutually helped, and/or acted in must be furnished with a description of the charge against him
concert and with consent in committing the offense charged. to enable him to make a proper defense and, later, to avail
He submits that an allegation of conspiracy cannot be himself properly of either a conviction or acquittal for his
presumed or implied in an information. In finding him to be a protection against further prosecution for the same cause.19 In
conspirator in the killing of the victim, appellant claims that his our view, petitioner Fidelino Garcia cannot be convicted as a
rights to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation conspirator in the killing of Paulino Rodolfo, for the simple
against him; to a fair trial; to due process of law; and to equal reason that the information against the accused contained no
protection of law were violated by respondent appellate court. clear and definite allegation of conspiracy.

For the State, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) It follows that in Criminal Case No. 2307-G, petitioner can only
contends that it is not essential that the allegation of be held responsible for an act as could be proved to have been
"conspiracy" be expressly stated in the indictment. It is enough committed by him personally. Stated otherwise, his criminal
that the narration in the Information shows that the accused accountability, if any, should be determined on an individual
acted in concert in the commission of the crime. rather than on a collective basis. Responsibility for acts done
by his co-accused could not be heaped on the shoulders of
On this point, we are not in agreement with the OSG. appellant unless it be shown that he participated directly and
personally in the commission of those acts.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall first be informed
of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.11 The Thus, anent the second issue, we find merit in petitioners
right of the accused to be informed of the charges against him argument that the prosecutions evidence is insufficient to
is explicit in Sec. 1(b) Rule 115 of the Rules of Criminal support his conviction for homicide. There appears no proof to
Procedure.12 To ensure that the due process rights of an show the connection between the acts he allegedly committed
accused are observed, every indictment must embody the and the lethal injuries sustained by the victim. Petitioner points
essential elements of the crime charged with reasonable out that the only act he allegedly did was that of hitting the
particularity as to the name of the accused, the time and place victim with an empty bottle while the latter was being held
of commission of the offense, and the circumstances thereof. down by Leopoldo Garcia and stabbed by Wilfredo Garcia. He
One such particular circumstance is conspiracy where two or submits that there is no showing whatsoever that his blow
more persons are charged in an information. Conspiracy caused any injury to the victim, much less caused his death.
denotes an intentional participation in a criminal transaction, He stresses that the medico-legal certificate prepared by one
with a view to the furtherance of a common design and Dr. Mario Cuento, marked as the prosecutions Exhibit "B"
purpose. It imputes criminal liability to an accused for the acts cannot even be found in the record, nor did the doctor take the
of another or others, regardless of the nature and extent of his witness stand to identify it. The medical certificate in effect has
own participation. In a conspiracy, the act of one becomes the no probative value.
act of all and the particular act of an accused becomes of
secondary relevance. Thus, it is essential that an accused The OSG counters that while Exhibit "B" cannot be found in the
must know from the information whether he is criminally records, nonetheless, the fact stands that the number and
accountable not only for his acts but also for the acts of his co- nature of the victims injuries are enumerated in the
accused as well.13 An indictment for conspiracy is sufficient if: Information, which the petitioner failed to rebut or object to
(1) it follows the words of the statute creating the offense and during the trial. Moreover, petitioner did not object when Exhibit
reasonably informs the accused of the character of the offense "B" was offered in evidence by the prosecutor before the trial
he is charged with conspiring to commit;14 or (2) following the court to prove the victims injuries causing his death.
statute, contains a sufficient statement of an overt act to effect
the object of the conspiracy;15 or (3) alleges both the
In general, factual findings of the trial court, when affirmed by
conspiracy and the contemplated crime in the language of the
the Court of Appeals, are binding and conclusive upon this
respective statutes defining them.16
Court.20 The rule, however, does not apply in the present case. A Yes, sir.
For one, the judge who penned the trial courts judgment was
not the same one who heard the prosecution witnesses Q And Rodolfo Olgena was able to pull out that
testify.21 For another, our review of the records indicates that knife and while Fedelino Garcia was approaching he
both the trial court and the appellate court have overlooked stabbed the latter?
some material facts and circumstances of weight which could
materially affect the result of this case. A Yes, sir.

First, the Court of Appeals heavily relied on the testimony of Q Now, are you telling us that although Rodolfo
prosecution eyewitness, P/Cpl. Francisco Rollera. However, Olgena was being held by Leopoldo Garcia he was
we find his testimony riddled with inconsistencies, particularly still able to pull the knife from his thigh and then used
the exact role played by petitioner in the affray leading to it in stabbing Fedelino Garcia?
Paulino Rodolfos death. On direct examination, Cpl. Rollera
averred that petitioner struck the victim with a bottle while his
A Rodolfo Olgena was able to get loose from
co-accused were ganging up on the latter, thus:
the hold of Leopoldo that was why when Fedelino
approached Olgena the latter who had pulled out the
Q Now, you stated a while ago that the knife from his body was able to stab Fedelino, sir.
accused in this case ganged up on the deceased (Stress supplied).23
Rodolfo Olgena. Will you please tell before this
Honorable Court how the accused ganged up on him?
That petitioner Fidelino Garcia was stabbed by Paulino Rodolfo
is perfectly clear to us. What is doubtful is whether he had an
A While Leopoldo Garcia was holding Rodolfo active, direct and personal role in the killing of Paulino Rodolfo.
Olgena, Rodolfo Olgena was hit by a bottle by On cross-examination, it appears petitioner was still
Fidelino Garcia and Wilfredo Garcia stabbed him on approaching the deceased when the latter was stabbed by co-
the lower groin with a stainless [f]an knife, sir. (Stress accused Wilfredo Garcia. Cpl. Rollera stated under direct
supplied)22 examination that Fidelino had hit Rodolfo with a bottle. But Cpl.
Rollera did not say where and when petitioner struck the victim
The cross-examination of Rollera, however, reveals a with a bottle, or if the blow was hard or not. Further, the
contradictory version in that apparently, petitioner Fidelino prosecutions evidence does not establish any direct link
Garcia was not the aggressor but the victim of stabbing by the between the petitioners act with the bottle and any injury
deceased Paulino Rodolfo. Thus, Cpl. Rollera testified on suffered by the deceased, much less the mortal wound which
cross: caused his death. If we are to believe Cpl. Rolleras account,
petitioner was merely approaching the victim, who was then
Q According to you, the three were ganging up trying to get loose from Leopoldos hold and ward off Wilfredos
on Rodolfo Olgena until Wilfredo Garcia stabbed him. attack. It appears unclear to us, however, whether petitioner
As the three were ganging up on Rodolfo Olgena, succeeded to hit the victim, Rodolfo, with a bottle. As it turned
where were Fedelino Garcia and Leopoldo Garcia out, it was petitioner who was stabbed by Rodolfo, using
when Rodolfo Olgena was stabbed by Wilfredo? Wilfredos balisong, with the result that petitioner was
hospitalized.
A Leopoldo was holding Olgena while Fedelino
was approaching Olgena when Wilfredo stabbed Second, the Court of Appeals likewise heavily relied upon
Olgena, sir. When Rodolfo Olgena was stabbed by Exhibit "B" to establish the injuries suffered by Paulino Rodolfo.
Wilfredo, as regards Fedelino, he was then also As stated earlier, Exhibit "B" is nowhere in the records.24 The
approaching Rodolfo Olgena and that was the reason only mention we find of it is in the transcript of stenographic
why he was also stabbed by Olgena. Because when notes of November 19, 1987.
Fedelino approached Rodolfo Olgena, the latter had
pulled the knife, so that when Olgena pulled out the FISCAL ENCOMIENDA:
knife, he was able to stab Fedelino, sir.
We will now be resting our case.
ATTY. CERILLA:
COURT:
Let us straighten this out. Correct me if I am
wrong. This, according to you, took place. Go ahead.

Q Rodolfo Olgena while being held by FISCAL ENCOMIENDA:


Leopoldo Garcia was stabbed by Wilfredo Garcia, is
that correct?
But before we do so, we would like to prove
the existence of the medico legal certificate
A Yes, sir. although it has been admitted by the defense
counsel and likewise the fact of death. We
Q The weapon which was used by Wilfredo would like to request the same to be marked
Garcia got stuck in that portion of the body of Rodolfo as Exhibit "B" in both cases and the findings
Olgena that was hit? therein as stated as Exhibit "B-1" and the
signature of Dr. Mario Cuento as Exhibit "B-
2." We are offering, Your Honor, Exhibit "A"
and "A-1" the affidavit of Francisco Llorera
[should read Rollera] as part of his testimony. [G.R. No. 126899. August 2, 2001]
And we are likewise offering Exhibits "B", "B-
1", and "B-2" to show the fact of death and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
the nature of the wounds sustained by the vs. FELICITO BARBOSA y TURALLO, accused-
victim. appellant.

COURT: DECISION

Is that all? Any objection to the annexes of QUISUMBING, J.:


the exhibits?

On January 30, 1996, the Regional Trial Court of Iriga City,


ATTY. CERILLA: Branch 36, in Criminal Cases Nos. IR-3448, 3449, 3450 and 3451,
found accused-appellant Felicito Barbosa y Turallo guilty of four
No objection, Your Honor, except to the counts of rape, and sentenced him to reclusion perpetua for each
affidavit of the policeman. count.

COURT: The conviction of the appellant stemmed from four separate


informations all dated September 15, 1993, which read as follows:
The Court will admit all these exhibits in
evidence.25 CRIM. CASE NO. IR-3450

Notwithstanding its absence from the records, the Court of That during the year 1988 in Barangay La Purisima, Iriga City, and
Appeals held that said Exhibit "B" "sufficiently indicates the within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the said accused did,
nature, number, location, and extent of the injuries sustained then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal
by the victim. The cause of death stated therein is purportedly knowledge of complainant Analiza C. Barbosa who was then eleven
cerebral hemorrhage."26 The appellate court likewise held that (11) years old, on nine (9) separate occasions, against her will and by
"These were deemed admitted by the accused-appellants for means of violence and intimidation, to the damage and prejudice of
their failure to make a timely objection at the time the offer was said complainant in such amount as maybe proven in court.
made."27 We find nothing in the record, however, to support the
prosecutions sweeping statement that the "existence of the
CONTRARY TO LAW.[1]
medico-legal certificate had been admitted by defense counsel
and likewise the fact of death." In fact, per the transcript quoted
CRIM. CASE NO. IR-3448
above, Atty. Cerillas response has a reservation, "except to the
affidavit of the policeman," when asked about the annexes of
the exhibits. But we shall not belabor this point, for the decision That in or about November 1992 in Barangay La Purisima, Iriga City,
of the trial court is barren of any reference to admissions or and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused,
stipulations. On record now, the medico-legal report is missing. by means of violence and intimidation, did, then and there willfully,
And we find that the prosecutions evidence nowhere shows unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of complainant
that petitioner by his own act killed the victim or contributed Analiza C. Barbosa, a girl of 15 years, against her will, to the damage
directly to his death. and prejudice of said complainant in such amount as may be proven
in court.
To conclude, there is a dearth of evidence as to the specific
role played by petitioner Fidelino Garcia in the commission of CONTRARY TO LAW.[2]
the crime charged. Petitioner enjoys the presumption of
innocence, which can only be overcome by proof beyond CRIM. CASE NO. IR-3449
reasonable doubt. Mere conjectures, no matter how strong,
can never substitute for this required quantum of That on or about February 6, 1993 in Barangay La Purisima, Iriga
proof.28 Failing to meet the needed quantum of proof, City, and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the said
petitioners conviction as principal in the killing of Paulino accused, by means of violence and intimidation, did, then and there,
Rodolfo cannot be sustained. willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of
complainant Analiza C. Barbosa, a girl of 15 years, against her will,
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed to the damage and prejudice of said complainant in such amount as
decision of the Court of Appeals, dated February 22, 1996, in may be proven in court.
CA-G.R. CR No. 13358, which had affirmed that of the
Regional Trial Court of Gumaca, Branch 62, is hereby CONTRARY TO LAW.[3]
REVERSED and SET ASIDE on the ground of insufficiency of
evidence to convict petitioner Fidelino Garcia beyond
CRIM. CASE NO. IR-3451
reasonable doubt. Consequently, he is ACQUITTED and
ordered RELEASED immediately from confinement unless
That on or about May 8, 1993 in Barangay La Purisima, Iriga City,
held for another lawful cause.
and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the said accused,
by means of violence and intimidation, did, then and there willfully,
SO ORDERED.
unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of complainant
Analiza C. Barbosa, a girl of 15 years, against her will, to the damage The accused shall be credited with the period of preventive
and prejudice of said complainant in such amount as may be proven imprisonment that he may have undergone during the pendency of
in court. these cases in accordance with law.

CONTRARY TO LAW.[4] SO ORDERED.[5]

Upon arraignment, appellant entered a plea of not guilty to all The facts in this case as presented by the prosecution are
charges. Thereafter, the four cases were jointly heard. Subsequently, summarized by the trial court as follows:
the trial court rendered judgment, disposing as follows:
[P]rivate offended party, Analiza C. Barbosa, was born on February
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court finds the accused, 6, 1978. Her father is Julio Abad and her mother is Juliana C.
FELICITO BARBOSA y TURALLO Barbosa. Her parents were not married, so that she was registered in
the Local Civil Registrar of Manila as Analiza Cornelio. When she
1. In Criminal Case No. IR-3450, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of was already five (5) years old, her mother, Juliana Cornelio married
the crime of rape defined and penalized under Article 335 of the the accused, Felicito Barbosa. She continued using the surname
Revised Penal Code prior to its amendment by Rep. Act 7659, as Cornelio until she reached Grade 2. Then her mother instructed her
charged in the information and despite the presence of one (1) to use the surname Barbosa, instead of Cornelio. Since then she has
aggravating circumstance, and the absence of any mitigating been using the said surname Barbosa and she calls her stepfather,
circumstance, hereby sentences the said accused to suffer in prison Felicito Barbosa Papa. Sometime in 1988 (she cannot remember the
the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA, and to pay the private month) her mother went to Manila twice. The second time she went
offended party, ANALIZA C. BARBOSA, the sum of P50,000.00 as to Manila, her mother stayed there for a month. It was already March
moral damages; 1988 when she returned. She, together with her half sister Analyn
who was then only one (1) year old, having been born on January 19,
2. In Criminal Case No. IR-3448, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of 1987, was left with her stepfather, the herein accused. They stayed at
the crime of rape defined and penalized under Article 335 of the the house of the parents of her stepfather situated at La Purisima,
Revised Penal Code, prior to its amendment by Rep. Act 7659, as Iriga City, because the latter were also in Manila at that time. The
charged in the information, and despite the presence of one (1) three of them, (Analiza, Analyn and Felicito Barbosa) slept only in
aggravating circumstance and the absence of any mitigating one room and on one bed. On the third night after her mother left for
circumstance, hereby sentences the said accused to suffer in prison Manila and they were already sleeping, she woke up and noticed that
the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA, and to pay the private her short pants was already removed. Her stepfather was standing
offended party, ANALIZA C. BARBOSA, the sum of P50,000.00 as beside the bed where she was sleeping. He was holding a Batangas
moral damages; knife which was closed and which was poked at her side. When she
saw these things she cried but the accused told her not to make any
noise and not to tell her mother or he will kill her and he will not
3. In Criminal Case No. IR-3449, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
send her to school anymore. She then stopped crying as she was
the crime of rape defined and penalized under Article 335 of the
afraid of what the accused has said. The accused then told her to
Revised Penal Code, prior to its amendment by Rep. Act 7659, as
remove her panty which she did. The accused removed his shorts,
charged in the information and despite the presence of one (1)
reached for an oil from the kitchen which was adjacent to the
aggravating circumstance and the absence of any mitigating
bedroom and after applying oil into her vagina, the accused laid on
circumstance, hereby sentences the said accused to suffer in prison
top of her and inserted his organ into her organ. Analiza tried to
the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA, and to pay the private
push the accused because she did not like what the accused was
offended party, ANALIZA C. BARBOSA, the sum of P50,000.00 as
doing as she felt pain. The accused, however, was too heavy for her
moral damages;
and she did not succeed in dislodging him from his position on top of
her. The accused stayed on top of her for about two (2) minutes. He
4. In Criminal Case No. IR-3451, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of then went to the sala, on her part, she put on her panty and short
the crime of rape defined and penalized under Article 335 of the pants and kept on crying until she fell asleep. She further testified
Revised Penal Code, prior to its amendment by Rep. Act 7659, as that during that period of one (1) month, the accused repeatedly
charged in the information and despite the presence of one (1) abused her almost every night.
aggravating circumstance and the absence of any mitigating
circumstance, hereby sentences the said accused to suffer in prison
When her mother returned, Analiza Barbosa did not tell her about
the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA, and to pay the private
the abuses committed by her stepfather because her stepfather
offended party, ANALIZA C. BARBOSA, the sum of P50,000.00 as
repeatedly warned her not to tell her mother, otherwise, he will kill
moral damages.
her. But in the middle of 1990 Analiza ran away and stayed with her
classmate, Quennie Sanglay. After one (1) week her mother and
In all the aforesaid cases, to reimburse Juana Malate of the sum of stepfather went to the house of Sanglay to fetch her. She refused to go
P11,200.00 as attorneys fee and litigation expenses, and to pay the with them. The following day her mother and grandmother went back
cost of suit. to fetch her. Her grandmother asked her why she refused to go with
her mother and stepfather. In answer, she told her grandmother of the
The accused, FELICITO BARBOSA y TURALLO shall serve the abuses she suffered from her stepfather. Her mother and
foregoing four (4) prison terms successively or one after the other, grandmother brought her to San Nicolas, Iriga City, where she
subject to the provisions of the fourth, fifth and sixth paragraphs of stayed with her aunt Evelyn Cornelio. After one week she was
Article 70, of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. brought to Manila to stay with her natural father, Julio Abad. She
stayed there up to October 1992 and then she returned to Iriga City
as her stepmother kept on scolding her. In Iriga City she again stayed
in the house of her aunt Evelyn Cornelio at San Nicolas, Iriga City.
After one week her mother got her again. Her mother told her that On May 12, 1993, accompanied by her aunt Evelyn Cornelio,
her stepfather will no longer abuse her. However, as soon as she was complainant went to the Iriga City Police headquarters where she
again with her mother and stepfather at their residence at La revealed to the police officers the abuses committed by her stepfather
Purisima, Iriga City the evidence show that, in more or less the same against her. She lodged complaints of four counts of rape against
pattern and circumstances and while her mother was out of town or appellant. Then she was taken by the police to the City Health Office.
just outside their house, her stepfather continued abusing her.
Dr. Tita Lalaine Rito, a city government physician, examined
In November 1992, Analizas mother again went to Manila. She complainant. Dr. Rito later testified that she found old hymenal
stayed there for about two (2) weeks. She returned before the lacerations at 10:00 and 6:00 oclock positions on the hymen of
Barangay Fiesta of La Purisima on December 7. Her half sister, complainant which appear to be months or even years back, and that
Analyn, was with her mother. On the third night after her mother left, complainant was no longer a virgin.[7]
Analiza was watching television at the sala of their house at La
Purisima, Iriga City at about 6:00 oclock in the evening and she fell On October 5, 1993, appellant was apprehended and detained
asleep. When she woke up she noticed that her shorts and panty were in the city jail.[8]
already removed. Her stepfather, the herein accused, was standing
beside her. She asked him why he removed her shorts and panty. He As summarized by the trial court, appellants defense consisted
answered that he will repeat what he had done to her before, and of the following versions of denial and alibi:
further told her to lie down and not to make any noise otherwise he
would kill her. She told him that she will not lie down for she did not
In Criminal Case No. IR-3450, the accused presented his wife,
want to be repeatedly abused. The accused then got a knife from the
Juliana C. Barbosa. She testified that the complainant, Analiza lied
kitchen and showed it to her. She then laid down and the accused
when she said that she was raped by the accused in 1988 while she
placed himself on top of her and inserted his organ into her vagina.
(Juliana) was in Manila, because she did not go to Manila the whole
He stayed on top of her for about three minutes. Then the accused
year of 1988. She was all the time in their house in La Purisima, Iriga
left.
City. When accused testified, he denied that he raped Analiza in 1988
and corroborated his wifes testimony that she did not go to Manila in
February 6, 1993 was the 15th birthday of Analiza. The previous 1988.
month, January 1993, her mother together with Analyn, again went
to Manila to fetch Aljon, nephew of her stepfather. Upon her
In Criminal Case No. IR-3448, accused has similar defense. He and
suggestion, her mother invited Jonah Ocine, a girl of seven years old,
his wife testified that the testimony of Analiza that she was raped by
cousin of Analiza, to sleep in their house with her while her mother
the accused in November 1992 at their residence in La Purisima, Iriga
was away. Jonah, however, stayed only for three days and she left.
City, while Juliana Barbosa, her mother, was in Manila, was a lie,
And so, Analiza found herself alone again, with her stepfather, in
because Juliana Barbosa did not leave for Manila in November 1992.
their house at La Purisima, Iriga City. On that day, February 6,
She was always in their house at La Purisima, Iriga City. Moreover,
1993, while Analiza was sleeping in the only bedroom in their house,
the accused further argued in his memorandum that this rape (in
at around midnight she noticed that her panty and shorts were
November 1992) could not have happened because at 6:00 oclock in
already removed and her stepfather was standing beside the bed
the afternoon, when the crime took place, people were still up and
where she was sleeping. He was holding a knife which he poked at
around. The house where it happened is very near several houses. It
her waist. He told her that he will do again what he did to her before.
was by a pathway leading to the river. Analyn was just downstairs
He told her again not to tell her mother, otherwise, he would kill her.
and Analizas friend, Benelyn, just went to the house of the father of
He then removed his short pants and laid on top of her, Analiza tried
his stepfather. She may return at any time. And yet, Analiza did not
to push him but he told her if she will not stop pushing him, he will
cry out.
kill her. He inserted his penis into the vagina of Analiza. Then he left
and went to the sala.
xxx
On May 8, 1993, complainant was at their house at La Purisima,
Iriga City. At about 8:00 oclock in the evening of that day she was In Criminal Case No. IR-3449, the defense of the accused is to the
lying down on the sofa at the sala of their house. She was alone. Her effect that he could not have raped Analiza on February 6, 1993, at
mother was at the house of her mother-in-law, helping in preparing their house in La Purisima, Iriga City, as she claimed in her
ibos (suman in Filipino) to be placed in the refrigerator and cooked testimony, because he went to Manila on February 1, 1993 and stayed
the following day. These ibos will be served during the baptism of the there until February 16, 1993. His alibi was corroborated by his wife
nephew of her stepfather on the fiesta of San Nicolas, on May 10, and his mother, Bibiana Barbosa.
1993. Analyn was with her mother. The accused then arrived. He told
her to remove her shorts and panty as he again will do to her what he In Criminal Case No. IR-3451, the defense put up was that the
did before. After some hesitation, Analiza obeyed as she was afraid accused could not have raped Analiza on May 8, 1993 at about 8:00
since appellant was again holding the balisong which the accused oclock in the evening because Analiza was at the church attending El
used to poke at her side during the previous times he abused her. The Shaddai prayer meeting. She was there from 5:00 oclock in the
accused then laid on top of her on that sofa. He inserted his organ afternoon to 10:00 oclock in the evening. The accused was in the
into the organ of Analiza. He stayed on top of her for about two (2) town of Bula, Camarines Sur, delivering candies. [H]e left about 8:00
minutes and then left her, but he stayed in the house. oclock in the morning and returned to Iriga City at 5:00 oclock in the
afternoon. He was with his wife, Juliana, his cousin, Clemens
On May 10, 1993, complainant went to the house of her [Turallo] and Judith Ibarreta. This alibi of the accused was provided
grandmother, Juana Malate to attend the Barangay fiesta of San by Joan Turallo, niece of the accused Juliana C. Barbosa, wife of the
Nicolas. After the fiesta she refused to go back to La Purisima, with accused Clemens Turallo, cousin of the accused and Bibiana Barbosa,
her mother and stepfather. She told her grandmother and her other mother of the accused.[9]
relatives that the accused continues to abuse her.[6]
After trial, the court found appellant guilty as charged. Insisting 2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious;
on his innocence, appellant promptly filed his notice of appeal before and
us. In his brief, appellant faults the trial court in:
3. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.
I
The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.
BASING ITS DECISION OF CONVICTION OF
APPELLANT IN ALL FOUR (4) CASES ON THE BASIS OF Whenever the crime of rape is committed with the use of a deadly
ITS OBSERVATION ON THE MANNER AND DEMEANOR weapon or by two or more persons, the penalty shall be reclusion
OF THE COMPLAINANT WHILE TESTIFYING; perpetua to death.

II When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, the victim has


become insane, the penalty shall be death.
NOT BELIEVING THE TESTIMONY OF ACCUSED-
APPELLANT AS CORROBORATED BY THE WITNESSES; When the rape is attempted or frustrated and a homicide is committed
by reason or on the occasion thereof, the penalty shall be reclusion
III perpetua to death.

RELYING ON THE TESTIMONY OF THE WITNESSES When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, a homicide is
FOR THE PROSECUTION RATHER THAN ON WEIGHING committed, the penalty shall be death.
THE EVIDENCES DURING THE TRIAL IN FAVOR OF
THE APPELLANT.[10] The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is
committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:
At the heart of these assigned errors is the issue of the
credibility of the witnesses. It is doctrinally settled that such issue is 1. When the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the
to be resolved primarily by the trial court because it is in a better offender is a parent, ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by
position to decide the question, having heard the witnesses and consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the
observed their deportment and manner of testifying. Accordingly, its common-law spouse of the parent of the victim.
findings are entitled to the highest degree of respect and will not be
disturbed on appeal in the absence of any showing that the trial court 2. When the victim is under the custody of the police or military
overlooked, misunderstood, or misapplied some facts or authorities.
circumstances of weight and substance which would have affected
the result of the case.
3. When the rape is committed in full view of the husband, parent,
any of the children or other relatives within the third degree of
After trial, the court a quo gave full faith and credence to the consanguinity.
testimony of the complainant because it found her testimony positive,
straightforward, natural and sincere. It ruled that her testimony met
4. When the victim is a religious or a child below seven (7) years old.
the test of credibility.[11] In contrast, appellant failed to overcome the
overwhelming force of complainants evidence against him. We shall
now consider the alleged errors of the trial court cited by appellant 5. When the offender knows that he is afflicted with Acquired
and his arguments raised in support of his appeal. Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) disease.

In Criminal Case No. 3450, appellant seeks to discredit 6. When committed by any member of the Armed Forces of the
complainants testimony by citing her inability to recall the date when Philippines or the Philippine National Police or any law enforcement
the sexual assaults were committed. He insists that complainant could agency.
not have been threatened by a closed Batangas knife. According to
complainant, she was raped by appellant on the third night after her 7. When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, the victim has
mother left for Manila in 1988. She recalled that her mother stayed suffered permanent physical mutilation. (As amended by Sec. 11, R.A.
there for about a month and returned only in March 1988. 7659.)

But even if appellant could not recall the exact dates of the Failure to recall the exact date of the crime is not an indication
rape, it appears that complainant was below twelve years old when of false testimony. Moreover, the precise date when the victim was
she was ravished in 1988 because she was born on February 6, raped is not an element of the offense. The gravamen of the crime is
1978. Thus appellant would still be liable for statutory rape. Sexual the fact of carnal knowledge under any of the circumstances
congress of a victim below twelve years is rape, as provided for in enumerated under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code. As long as
Art. 335 of the Revised Penal Code, which states that: it is alleged that the offense was committed at any time as near to the
actual date at which the offense was committed an information is
ART. 335. When and how rape is committed.Rape is committed by sufficient. The allegations that rapes were committed before and until
having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following October 15, 1994, sometime in the year1991 and the days
circumstances. thereafter, sometime in November 1995 and some occasions prior
and/or subsequent thereto and on or about and sometime in the year
1988 constitute sufficient compliance with Section 11, Rule 110 of
1. By using force or intimidation;
the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.[12]
Although evidence with respect to the employment of force or Concerning appellants alibi, it cannot prevail over the positive
intimidation upon complainant is mere surplusage in a charge of identification and unequivocal declaration of complainant that
statutory rape, the prosecution still established its case against appellant was the author of the crime. What makes appellants alibi
appellant by proving that the sexual assaults against complainant weak is the fact that it is corroborated only by his wife and mother.
were committed with the use of force and intimidation, alluding to These testimonies of close kin are suspect and cannot prevail over
appellants use of a closed Batangas knife, and stressing that that of the complaining witness.[17]
intimidation must be viewed in the light of the victims perception and
judgment at the time of the commission of the crime and not by any In Criminal Case No. 3451, appellant asserts that complainant
hard and fast rule. It is enough that the intimidation produces fear that was in fact attending the El Shaddai prayer meeting when the alleged
if the victim does not yield to the bestial demands of the accused, rape happened at about 8:00 P.M. As complainant explained during
something dreadful would happen to her. Even the use of a weapon is her cross-examination, she did not know what time they left the
not necessary. Its use serves only to increase the penalty.[13] prayer meeting. But she declared that when she arrived home it was
not yet 9:00 P.M. Complainant might have failed to note the exact
Furthermore, the stepfather of the victim enjoyed moral and time of her itinerary but these are minor details whose exactitude the
physical ascendancy over complainant sufficient to cow her into victim could not be expected to remember. Her inability to remember
submission to his bestial desires.[14] Appellants moral influence over these details even tend to buttress complainants credibility that her
the complainant substitutes for violence and intimidation. testimony was not contrived.[18]

We note that the information in Criminal Case No. 3450 Appellant points out that while complainants rape allegedly
charges appellant with nine counts of rape. This was objected to by took place between 8:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M. of that day in their
appellant because the information charges more than one offense residence, yet she admitted attending the prayer meeting at around
violating the proscription against duplicity of offenses in Section 13, 8:00 P.M. Appellant seeks to discredit complainants testimony
Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Court on Criminal Procedure. because of an obvious contradiction: she could not have been raped at
Indeed, a complaint or information must charge but one offense home while attending the prayer meeting at the same time elsewhere.
except when the law prescribes a single punishment for various
offenses. The aim of the rule is to give the defendant the necessary Appellants assertion can not stand scrutiny. Appellant admitted
knowledge of the charge to enable him to prepare his defense. The that he returned home at about 5:00 P.M. while complainant arrived
State should not heap upon defendant two or more charges which home before 9:00 P.M. Complainant states she was raped between
may confuse him in his defense. The trial court is correct in 8:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M. Clearly, it was not impossible for the offense
convicting appellant for only one count of rape under this particular to have taken place in the indicated time frame, before 9 oclock that
information. evening. Further, considering the proximity of their residence and the
venue of prayer meeting, according to complainants testimony, it
In Criminal Case No. 3448, appellant avers that he could not could have taken just a few minutes for her to get home from the
have raped complainant at around 6:00 P.M. sometime in November meeting.
1992 because his wife as always was at home after 5:00 P.M. and
Analyn, complainants younger sister, as always played downstairs. Appellant surmises that complainant filed the cases against him
Moreover, Benelyn, complainants friend, was just nearby and people to spite her mother who banged her head on a wall. According to
were then still awake. He insists that his wife did not leave for Manila him, her grandmother, her auntie and she herself concocted said
in November 1992, contrary to complainants claim. cases. In brief, appellant attributes the rape charges to family feud,
resentment or vengeance. But, this attribution need not sway the
In a number of cases, the Court has observed that fear of Court from lending full credence to the testimony of complainant
discovery or the likely appearance of other people does not who remained steadfast throughout her testimony despite her
necessarily deter the commission of rape. It is not impossible to minority, as in this case. [19] Nothing on record shows plausibly that
commit rape inside a house where there are several occupants and complainant has any improper motive to frame-up appellant.
even in the same room where other members of the family are
sleeping. Lust does not respect either time or place. [15] Appellants That complainant did not cry for help while being raped is not
assertion that his wife did not leave for Manila in November 1992 is too difficult to comprehend. Complainant explained that her uncles
immaterial. are not her blood relations but relatives of appellant. She feared that
they might also do what appellant had done to her. Further, she was
In Criminal Case No. 3449, appellant contends that the cowed into submission by appellants continuous threat that he would
identification of the perpetrator is uncertain because of the poor light. kill her, and that she would not be allowed to attend school anymore.
He also claims the defense of alibi, in that he alleges he was in
Manila for medical treatment so he could not have committed the With regard to appellants claim that it was rather unusual for
crime. him to have sexual congress with complainant without foreplay like
kissing or caressing her, hence the charges could not be true, suffice it
It is undisputed that complainant not only knew appellant to say that it is too trivial a matter to merit further discussion.
personally; both she and appellant lived in the same house. At the
time of this offense, only the two of them were home. Also, there was More substantially, appellant argues that if indeed complainant
a vigil light in the altar which provided sufficient illumination in the was raped continuously from 1988 until 1993, she should have not
room to enable complainant to recognize her aggressor. A man and a kept her silence until she was fifteen years old, since she had all the
woman cannot be physically closer to each other than during the available remedies for redress as well as relatives who could help her.
sexual act,[16] there is no doubt complainant had identified appellant But as observed by the Court on numerous occasions, delay in
positively. reporting rape cases may be justified if there are strong reasons like
death threats against the victim. Worth stressing, complainant was a
girl of tender age who was completely under the moral ascendancy
and control of appellant. Fear alone of what appellant would do if she For ravishing his two (2) minor step-daughters, Noel
exposed his evil deeds was reason enough for her to suffer in silence Sandoval was charged in seven (7) separate Informations with
for a long time. Then too her mothers apathy after she told her about seven (7) counts of Rape, five of which were committed
the abuses committed by appellant was another reason explaining against Teresa Micu, then thirteen (13) years old, and two
delay in reporting the sexual assaults to the authorities. That she did counts of statutory rape committed against Victoria Rhea Micu,
not file charges promptly against appellant could not diminish her then only eleven (11) years old as evidenced by her Birth
credibility,[20] given her tender age, the moral ascendancy of Certificate.[1] The Informations were filed before the Regional
appellant, and the continuous threat on her life. Trial Court of Dagupan, Pangasinan, Branch 42, and allege as
follows:
Appellant claims there was no tenacious resistance shown on
complainants part. Physical resistance, however, need not be In Criminal Case No. 97-01815-D
established in rape when intimidation is exercised upon the victim
and the latter submits herself, against her will, to the rapists embrace That on or about May 5, 1995 at barangay Casibong,
because of fear for life and personal safety.[21] municipality of San Jacinto, province of Pangasinan,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
Finally, appellant points out that the medical certificate, the above-named accused, by means of force, threat and
Exhibit C, does not clearly show that complainant was raped. It is intimidation, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and
settled that a medical report is not even necessary in a prosecution for feloniously have sexual intercourse with the undersigned
rape as long as the evidence on hand convinces the court that complainant TERESA MICU y FERNANDEZ, against her will
conviction is proper.[22] In this case, the examining physician found and consent, to the damage and prejudice of the latter.
old lacerations on complainants hymen which appear to have been
caused months or even years back. While hymenal lacerations may CONTRARY TO LAW.
also be caused by other factors such as extraneous physical activities,
no evidence was adduced by the defense to support this possibility. In Criminal Case No. 97-01816-D
But note the complainant testified that appellant succeeded in
inserting his genital into her organ during the times she was raped.
That on or about May 9, 1995 at barangay Casibong,
Hence, the hymenal lacerations bolster complainants assertion that
municipality of San Jacinto, province of Pangasinan,
appellant raped her on several occasions.
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
the above-named accused, by means of force, threat and
Under the penal law then prevailing, whenever the crime of intimidation, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and
rape was committed with the use of a deadly weapon, such as the feloniously have sexual intercourse with the undersigned
knife used by appellant,[23] the penalty should be reclusion complainant TERESA MICU y FERNANDEZ, against her will
perpetua to death, a penalty composed of two indivisible penalties. In and consent to the damage and prejudice of the latter.
this case, considering that there was neither mitigating nor
aggravating circumstance in the commission of the offense, the lesser
CONTRARY TO LAW.
penalty of reclusion perpetua should be imposed.

In Criminal Case No. 97-01817-D


We note that the trial court awarded the amount of P50,000.00
as moral damages to complainant in each case. This however is
That on or about April 24, 1995 at barangay Casibong,
inadequate. In addition, complainant must also be awarded the
municipality of San Jacinto, province of Pangasinan,
amount of P50,000.00 in each case as civil indemnity in accordance
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
with prevailing jurisprudence.[24]
the above-named accused, by means of force, threat and
intimidation, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the lower court in Criminal feloniously have sexual intercourse with the undersigned
Case Nos. IR-3450, IR-3448, IR-3449 and IR-3451 convicting complainant TERESA MICU y FERNANDEZ, against her will
appellant FELICITO BARBOSA of four counts of rape and and consent, to the damage and prejudice of the latter.
sentencing him to reclusion perpetua in each case is AFFIRMED,
with the MODIFICATION that appellant shall also pay to the victim
CONTRARY TO LAW.
for each count of rape the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity,
in addition to the P50,000.00 moral damages, P11,200.00 as attorneys
fees and litigation expenses, and the costs.SO ORDERED. In Criminal Case No. 97-01818-D

That on or about April 18, 1995 at barangay Casibong,


municipality of San Jacinto, province of Pangasinan,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
[G.R. Nos. 132625-31. December 18, 2000]
the above-named accused, by means of force, threat and
intimidation, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. NOEL feloniously have sexual intercourse with the undersigned
SANDOVAL, accused-appellant. complainant TERESA MICU y FERNANDEZ, against her will
and consent to the damage and prejudice of the latter.
DECISION
CONTRARY TO LAW.
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
In Criminal Case No. 97-01819-D
That on or about May 5, 1995 at barangay Casibong, 01821-D. Thereafter, a joint trial of all the seven (7) cases was
municipality of San Jacinto, province of Pangasinan, conducted. The prosecution presented five (5) witnesses,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, including the two (2) complainants while on the other hand, the
the above-named accused, by means of force, threat and defense presented three (3) witnesses including the accused-
intimidation, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and appellant.
feloniously have sexual intercourse with the undersigned
complainant TERESA MICU y FERNANDEZ, against her will On January 9, 1998, the court a quo rendered its decision,
and consent to the damage and prejudice of the latter. [2]
the dispositive portion of which reads:

CONTRARY TO LAW. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the accused NOEL


SANDOVAL is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of six (6)
In Criminal Case No. 97-01820-D counts of the crime of rape in Criminal Cases Nos. 97-01815-
D, 97-01816-D, 97-01817-D, 97-01819-D, 97-01820-D and 97-
That sometime in April 2, 1997 in the evening thereof, at 01821-D and is hereby sentenced to suffer the mandatory
barangay Casibong, municipality of San Jacinto, province of penalty of DEATH for each act of rape. In addition, he is
Pangasinan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this ordered to pay P50,000.00 as moral damages for each case or
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being then the a total of P300,000.00. Also for each count of rape, he is
stepfather, by means of force, threat and intimidation, did, then further ordered to pay P5,000.00 as exemplary damages as
and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have sexual example for the public good or a total of P30,000.00. He is
intercourse in their conjugal house with VICTORIA RHEA F. however acquitted in Criminal Case No. 97-01818-D for
MICU, who is under twelve (12) years old, against her will and insufficiency of evidence.
consent, to her damage and prejudice.
SO ORDERED.
CONTRARY to Art. 335, par. 3 of the Revised Penal Code, in
relation to R.A. 7659. In view of the penalty imposed, the records were elevated
to this Court for automatic review pursuant to Article 47 of the
In Criminal Case No. 97-01821-D Revised Penal Code and Rule 122, Section 10 of the Rules of
Court.
That sometime in April 5, 1997 in the evening thereof, at
barangay Casibong, municipality of San Jacinto, province of Accused-appellant seeks the reversal of his conviction on
Pangasinan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this the following grounds:
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being then the
stepfather, by means of force, threat and intimidation, did, then I
and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have sexual
intercourse in their conjugal house with VICTORIA RHEA F. The court a quo erred in convicting the accused-appellant of
MICU, who is under twelve (12) years old, against her will and the crime of Rape on the person of Teresa Micu and imposing
consent, to her damage and prejudice. the death penalty upon him notwithstanding the fact that, at the
time of the alleged commission, he was not yet married to the
CONTRARY to Art. 335, par. 3 of the Revised Penal Code, in victims mother.
relation to R.A. 7659.
II
Accused-appellant was arraigned on July 23, 1997 for the first
five (5) counts of rape, wherein he pleaded NOT GUILTY. The The court a quo erred in convicting the accused-appellant of
following day, the Public Prosecutor filed a Motion for Leave to the crime of Rape over Rhea Micu, considering her lack of
Amend the five (5) criminal complaints to allege the credibility which finds support in the medical findings of the
relationship of the victim and the accused. On July 31, 1997, physician who examined her.
accused-appellant was scheduled to be arraigned for the other
two (2) counts of rape but he failed to appear because of lack III
of notice on the Provincial Warden. At this point, the Public
Prosecutor called the attention of the Court to the Amended
The court a quo erred in awarding damages to the
Informations he filed in the first five (5) cases, to which
complainants notwithstanding that the latter never testified to
accused-appellant has already been arraigned and has
establish the same and the only basis of such on record is the
pleaded not guilty on July 23, 1997. Counsel for the defense
testimony of their aunt, Perlita Fernandez, who is not their legal
objected on the ground that the amendment would prejudice
guardian.
the right of accused-appellant.

After a thorough scrutiny of the records of the case at bar,


The court a quo ruled that since there was no evidence yet
this Court finds that the trial court did not err in convicting
presented, the matter of amendment should be brought at the
accused-appellant of the crime of rape on the person of Teresa
proper time after the prosecution has presented its
Micu. During her testimony, she clearly and convincingly
evidence.Thus, the resolution of the Motion to Amend
established before the court a quo the facts and circumstances
Information in Criminal Cases Nos. 97-01815-D, 97-01816-D,
that transpired during the several occasions when accused-
97-01817-D, 97-01818-D and 97-01819-D was held in
appellant raped her.[3]
abeyance. Meanwhile, on August 7, 1997, accused-appellant
was arraigned and pleaded NOT GUILTY to the two (2) counts
of statutory rape in Criminal Cases Nos. 97-01820-D and 97-
The rule has always been that in the matter of credibility circumstance stated in Section 11 of RA 7659 was not properly
of witnesses, factual findings of the trial court should be highly pleaded in the Information. Thus, the penalty of death
respected. The trial judge is in a better position to pass prescribed in RA 7659 can not be imposed on accused-
judgment on the credibility of witnesses, having had the appellant. Indeed, it would be a denial of the right of the
opportunity to personally hear them, observe their deportment accused to be informed of the charges against him and,
and manner of testifying and detect if they were telling the consequently, a denial of due process if he is charged with
truth.[4] We find no reason to depart from this rule in this simple rape and be convicted of its qualified form punishable
particular case. It should be remembered also that courts with death although the attendant circumstances qualifying the
usually give credence to the testimony of a girl who is a victim offense and resulting in the capital punishment was not alleged
of sexual assault because, ordinarily, no person would be in the indictment on which he was arraigned.[9]
willing to undergo the humiliation of a public trial and to testify
on the details of her ordeal were it not to condemn an injustice. The amendment sought by the prosecution of the five
[5]
informations, in order to allege the relationship of accused-
appellant to the victim, were clearly substantial in character as
However, we cannot agree with the trial courts imposition they had the effect of changing the crime charged, thereby
of the death penalty on accused-appellant for the rape of exposing accused-appellant to a higher penalty. Such
Teresa Micu. The pertinent law in effect at the time of amendment can no longer be done after accused-appellant
commission of the crimes in this case, Article 335 of the has pleaded to the Information for simple rape on July 23,
Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 11 of R.A. 7659, 1997,[10] without violating his constitutional rights. Rule 110,
provides: Section 14 of the Rules of Court, provides:

ART. 335. When and how rape is committed. --- Rape is The information or complaint may be amended, in substance
committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman under any or form, without leave of court, at anytime before the accused
of the following circumstances: pleads; and thereafter and during the trial as to all matters of
form, by leave and at the discretion of the court, when the
1. By using force or intimidation; same can be done, without prejudice to the rights of the
accused. x x x.
xxxxxxxxx
In sum, the failure of the prosecution to allege the
The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is relationship of the accused to the victim has effectively
committed with any of the following attendant circumstances: removed the crime from the ambit of Section 11 of Republic Act
No. 7659, which prescribes the death penalty when the victim
is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a
1. When the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the
parent, ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by
offender is a parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or
consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree or the
affinity within the third civil degree, or the common law
common-law spouse of the parent of the victim.[11] In the recent
spouse of the parent of the victim. x x x. (Underscoring ours)
cases of People v. Calayca,[12] People v. Tabion[13] and People
v. Acala,[14] where the prosecution failed to allege the fact of
The above-quoted provision states, inter alia, that where minority of the victim in the Informations, we reduced the
the victim of the crime of rape is under eighteen (18) years of penalty imposed from death to reclusion perpetua.
age and the offender is a common-law spouse of the parent of
the victim, the death penalty shall be imposed. This is one of
Anent the second assigned error, accused-appellant
the seven (7) modes enumerated in Section 11 of R.A. No.
attempts to discredit Rhea Micu, the second victim, by invoking
7659 which are considered special circumstances specifically
the findings of the examining physician, Dr. Luisa Cayabyab, to
applicable to the crime of rape. In the subsequent cases
the effect that she could not tell whether force attended the
of People v. Ilao[6] and People v. Medina,[7] it was ruled that the
laceration of Rheas organ and that even the tip of her finger
seven new attendant circumstances in Section 11 of R.A. No.
could not reach the said complainants cervix when she
7659 partake of the nature of qualifying circumstances and not
attempted to check the same.[15] According to accused-
merely aggravating circumstances, since said qualifying
appellant, this shows that the victim had never experienced
circumstances are punishable by the single indivisible penalty
sexual intercourse.
of death and not by reclusion perpetua to death. A qualifying
circumstance increases it to a higher penalty while an
aggravating circumstance affects only the period of the penalty Appellants claim is without merit.
but does not increase it to a higher degree. Unlike a generic
aggravating circumstance which may be proved even if not A circumspect scrutiny of Dr. Cayabyabs testimonial
alleged, a qualifying aggravating circumstance cannot be declarations discloses that they were not conclusive. As a
proved as such unless alleged in the information. matter of fact, the medical examination, standing alone, is not
sufficient to prove nor disprove the fact of rape. On the
A reading of the Information for the rape of Teresa Micu contrary, her testimony even tended to clarify the apparent
filed against accused-appellant reveals that he was merely conflict pointed out by accused-appellant, viz:
charged with the crime of simple rape. The fact that accused-
appellant is the common-law spouse of the victims parent is Q Likewise one of your findings is that her vagina admits
not alleged in the Information. What was stated therein was one finger, in this finding of yours, it does not show
only the minority of the victim. As we have emphasized, the any force or can be interpreted that there was no
elements of minority of the victim and her relationship to the force of inserting something on the vagina of the
offender must be both alleged.[8] As such, the special qualifying patient, is that right?
A I cannot say directly that there was no force because the in People v. San Juan[18] that in crimes against chastity, the
vagina is so elastic like a rubber, sir. medical examination of the victim is not an indispensable
element for the successful prosecution of the crime, as her
Q And so you can conclude that there was really no force? testimony alone, if credible, is sufficient to convict the accused
thereof.
A I cannot say that there was no force because as I have
said the vaginal canal is so elastic, sir. As found by the court a quo, Rheas testimonies were
overwhelmingly straightforward, logical and convincing as to be
COURT worthy of belief and impervious to a mere denial by accused-
appellant Noel Sandoval, to wit:

Q There may be force or no force?


Q Sometime in the evening of April 2, 1997, do you
remember where you were?
A Yes, Your Honor.

A Yes, sir.
Proceed,

Q Where were you?


ATTY. TAMINAYA

A I was in Brgy. Casibong, San Jacinto, Pangasinan, sir.


Q When you stated in your findings, admits one finger,
could you tell this Court that there was no penis yet or
any object that was inserted? Q Where in Brgy. Casibong were you staying?

A As I have said, the vaginal canal is so elastic so I cannot A In the house of my step-father, sir.
say if there was or there was no object that was
inserted, sir. Q Your step-father, you are referring to the accused in this
case?
COURT
A Yes, sir.
Q Was there something introduced into the vagina or
inserted inside? Q While you were in the house of your step-father in the
evening of April 2, 1997, where were you in relation to
A Maybe yes, maybe no, sir. that house?

Q I think that the hymen can tell you that something was A I was inside the house, sir.
inserted into the vagina because of the laceration?
Q What were you doing at that precise time?
A It is possible, sir.
A I was tending the small child to sleep, sir.
Proceed.
Q What is the name of that small child?
ATTY. TAMINAYA
A John, sir.
Q In this case, there was no showing that the hymen was
lacerated? Q While you were tending the small child by the name of
John, what happened next after that?
A There was healed laceration, sir.
A While tending, I was able to sleep, sir.
COURT
Q Were you awakened?
Q But whether or not the laceration was caused by force or
no force, you could not tell? A Yes, sir.

A Yes, Your Honor.[16] Q Why were you awakened, could you explain to the
Honorable Court?
In the crime of rape, complete or full penetration of the
complainants private part is not necessary. Neither is the A I was awaken because somebody went on top of me, sir.
rupture of the hymen essential. What is fundamental is that the
entrance or at least the introduction of the male organ into the Q When somebody went on top of you, who was that
labia of the pudendum is proved. The mere introduction of the person?
male organ into the labia majora of the victims genitalia and
not the full penetration of the complainants private part A Noel Sandoval, sir.
consummates the crime.[17] More importantly, it has been ruled
Q When Noel Sandoval went on top of you, what happened We agree with the trial court that the evidence for the
next after that? prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that Noel
Sandoval is guilty of the rape of Rhea Micu. However, as in the
A He removed my shortpant and my pantie, sir. other four cases, the death penalty can not be imposed on
him. The prosecution failed to prove that accused-appellant
Q After Noel Salvador removed your shortpant and pantie, was legally married to the victims mother, in order to
what did Noel Sandoval do, if he did anything? substantiate the allegation in the Amended Informations in
Criminal Cases Nos. 01820-D and 01821-D that the accused-
appellant is the stepfather of the victim. In People v. Brigildo,
A After he removed my shortpant and my pantie, Noel [21]
a stepdaughter was defined as the daughter of ones spouse
Sandoval also removed his pants and brief and
by a previous marriage or the daughter of one of the spouses
thereafter, he inserted his penis into my vagina, sir.
by a previous marriage. It is the burden of the prosecution to
prove with certainty the fact that the victim was the
Q After Noel Sandoval inserted his penis to your vagina, stepdaughter of the accused-appellant to justify the imposition
what did Noel Sandoval do, if he did anything? of the death penalty. Corollarily, the prosecution must establish
that accused-appellant is legally married to the victims
A He kissed me, sir. mother. In order that the qualifying circumstances under
Section 11 of R.A. 7659, which raises the penalty of rape to
Q What part of your body did Noel Sandoval kiss you? death, can be appreciated, the circumstances must be both
alleged and proved. Accordingly, the proper penalty for the two
A My neck, sir. counts of rape against Rhea Micu is reclusion perpetua.

Q What else? Finally, we affirm the trial courts award of moral and
exemplary damages to the complainants notwithstanding that
the latter never testified to establish the same.
A Only my neck, sir.

The award of moral damages for rape is proper as it is


Q On April 5, 1997, do you remember where you were?
provided in Article 2219 (3) of the Civil Code. In accordance
with prevailing jurisprudence, accused-appellant should be
A I was also in the house of my step-father, sir.
made to pay P50,000.00, especially considering that the
offended parties were of tender age at the time of the crime.
Q What were you doing in that precise time of the day? [22]
In People v. Prades,[23] it was ruled that the award of moral
damages to the victim is proper even if there was no proof
A I was already asleep then, sir. presented during the trial as basis therefor. The fact that the
complainant suffered the trauma of mental, physical and
Q Were you awakened? psychological sufferings which constitute the bases for moral
damages are too obvious to still require the recital thereof at
A Yes, sir. the trial by the victim, since the Court itself even assumes and
acknowledges such agony on her part as a gauge of her
credibility.[24]
Q Why? Could you explain before the Honorable Court why
you were awakened on the evening of April 5, 1997?
On the other hand, exemplary damages may also be
awarded in criminal cases as part of the civil liability if the
A I was awakened because I felt pain, sir.
crime was committed with one or more aggravating
circumstances.[25]Accused-appellant being the stepfather of the
Q Why did you feel pain. victims, relationship should be appreciated as an aggravating
circumstance under Article 15 of the Revised Penal Code.
A I felt pain inside my vagina, sir.
In addition to moral and exemplary damages, civil
Q Why? Can you explain before the Honorable Court why indemnity must also be awarded to the victims since it is
you felt pain in your vagina? mandatory upon the finding of the fact of rape.[26] The recent
judicial prescription is that the indemnification for the victim
A Because my step-father inserted his penis inside my shall be in the amount of P50,000.00 for each count of rape if
vagina, sir. the death penalty is not imposed.[27]

Q What part of the house of your step-father did he insert WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of
his penis? Dagupan, Pangasinan, Branch 42, is AFFIRMED with the
MODIFICATION that accused-appellant Noel Sandoval is
A Inside the house, sir.[19] found guilty of four (4) counts of simple rape committed against
Teresa Micu and two (2) counts of simple rape committed
It is a well-settled rule that an affirmative testimony is far against Victoria Rhea Micu, and is hereby sentenced to suffer
stronger than a negative testimony, especially so when it the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA for each of the six (6)
comes from the mouth of a credible witness.[20] counts.
Further, accused-appellant is ordered to pay P50,000.00 x x x[2]
for each of the six (6) counts of rape, or a total of P300,000.00,
as moral damages; P10,000.00 for each of the six (6) counts of The two cases were consolidated and tried jointly before
rape, or a total of P60,000.00, as exemplary damages; and Branch 49 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila.
P50,000.00 for each of the six (6) counts of rape, or a total of
P300,000.00, as civil indemnity. Upon arraignment on 24 May 1991, the petitioner,
assisted by counsel de parte, entered a plea of Not Guilty to
SO ORDERED. both charges.[3]

Trial on the merits then ensued. Based on the evidence


presented, the trial court summarized the events that led to the
[G.R. No. 134730. September 18, 2000] killing of Fernando Leao and the near fatal injuries sustained
by Reynaldo Bernardo as follows:
FELIPE GARCIA, JR., petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE
COURT OF APPEALS AND THE PEOPLE OF THE On November 3, 1990, at about 11:30 o'clock in the evening, Arnold
PHILIPPINES, respondents. Corpuz and Fernando Leao, a 15-year old student, and their friends,
were conversing along Mataas na Lupa Street, Paco, Manila.
DECISION Fernando Leao was on the side of the street. Momentarily, a pedicab,
with Renato Garcia (Reneng Palayok), on board, passed by and, in
KAPUNAN, J.: the process, the right wheel of the pedicab ran over the right foot of
Fernando Leao. The pedicab failed to stop and continued on its
way. Incensed, Fernando Leao ran after the pedicab. Arnold Corpuz
In two separate Informations filed before the Regional
followed suit, at a distance of about three (3) meters away from
Trial Court of Manila, petitioner Felipe Garcia, Jr. was charged
thepedicab. When Fernando Leao was about abreast with the pedicab,
with frustrated murder in Criminal Case No. 91-93374 and with
he uttered invectives but Renato Garcia retaliated and
murder in Criminal Case 91-93375 committed as follows:
hurled invectives, too, at Fernando Leao, saying 'Putang ina
ninyo.' Fernando Leao was then ahead of the pedicab when he looked
Criminal Case No. 91-93374: back and saw, to his consternation, Renato Garcia placing his right
hand on the right side of his waistline and about to pull out his
That on or about November 3, 1990, in the City of Manila, gun. Afraid for his life, Fernando Leao sped away from the pedicab,
Philippines, the said accused conspiring and confederating with two turned to an alley and ran to Mataas na Lupa Street, Paco, Manila,
others who[se] true names, identities and present whereabouts are direct to the house of his uncle, Reynaldo Bernardo, at No. 1281
still unknown and helping one another, did then and there willfully, Mataas na Lupa, Paco, Manila (Exhibit 'E-1'). The pedicab slowed
unlawfully and feloniously, with intent to kill and treachery, attack, down a bit and then turned towards F. Muoz Street, Paco,
assault and use personal violence upon one REYNALDO Manila. Arnold Corpuz followed Fernando Leao to the alley and,
BERNARDO Y DEL ROSARIO @ BOY PANCHANG, by then and when he saw him again, Fernando Leao was conversing with his
there shooting the latter with a revolver, hitting him on the neck, uncle, Reynaldo Bernardo, by the gate of the latter's house (Exhibit
thereby inflicting upon the said REYNALDO D. BERNARDO @ 'E-1'). Fernando Leao reported to his uncle that Renato Garcia earlier
BOY PANCHANG physical injuries which was necessarily fatal and uttered invectives at him and even tried to pull out his gun from the
mortal, thus performing all the acts of execution which would have back portion of his waistline. Reynaldo Bernardo decided to have the
produced the crime of murder, as a consequence but nevertheless did incident reported to Police Station No. 5 of the Western Police
not produce it by reason of causes independent of his will, that is by District. Reynaldo Bernardo changed clothes, put on his shoes and,
the timely and able medical assistance rendered to the said with Fernando Leao and Arnold Corpuz, proceeded to the house of
REYNALDO D. BERNARDO @ BOY PANCHANG which his mother, Esperanza del Rosario Bernardo (Exhibits 'E-2' and 'O-2')
prevented his death. to borrow the latter's jeep, parked near the basketball court, along
Mataas na Lupa Street, Paco, Manila, which they will use in going to
Contrary to Law.[1] the police station. The house of Reynaldo Bernardo was about twenty
(20) meters away from the house of his mother.
xxx
The three (3) then turned left along Mataas na Lupa Street, towards
Criminal Case No. 91-93375 the direction of the house of Esperanza del Rosario
Bernardo. However, before they could reach her house, they had to
That on or about November 3, 1990, in the City of Manila, pass by the intersection of F. Muoz Street and Mataas na Lupa Street,
Philippines, the said accused, conspiring and confederating together Paco, Manila. The intersection was about twenty-five (25) meters
with two others whose true names, identities and present whereabouts away from the house of the Accused and Renato Garcia and about
are still unknown and helping one another, did then and there fifty (50) meters away from the house of Gerardo Lugos, which was
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with intent to kill and with near the South Superhighway already.
treachery attack, assault and use personal force upon one
FERNANDO B. LEAO Y BERNARDO @ BAGGING, by then and When Reynaldo Bernardo, Fernando Leao and Arnold Corpuz were
there shooting the latter with a revolver, hitting him on the head, near the corner of F. Muoz and Mataas na Lupa Street, Paco, Manila,
thereby inflicting upon the said FERNANDO B. LEAO @ Reynaldo Bernardo saw the head of Gerardo Lugos who was peeping
BAGGING gunshot wounds which was the direct and immediate on the side corner of the vacant store, at the said corner of the
cause of his death thereafter. street. However, Reynaldo Bernardo gave no significance to the
incident, there being no feud or misunderstanding between him and
Contrary to Law. Gerardo Lugos. When Reynaldo Bernardo, Fernando Leao and
Arnold Corpuz continued on their walk, Fernando Leao and Dr. Marcial Cenido performed an autopsy on the cadaver
Reynaldo Bernardo were walking side by side, Fernando Leao on the of Leao and prepared a report with the following Post Mortem
right side of his uncle, while Arnold Corpuz was three (3) meters Findings:
behind the two (2) but tried to overtake them. When the three (3)
passed by the first corner of F. Muoz Street, Paco, Manila and Mataas EXTERNAL INJURIES AND EXTENSIONS INTERNALLY:
na Lupa Street, Paco, Manila, Arnold Corpuz saw three (3) male
persons, about seven (7) to ten (10) meters away on their left side, 1. Gunshot wound, thru and thru with the following points of
walking along F. Muoz Street, Paco, Manila, going towards their entry and exit:
direction, but did not as yet recognize them at the time. However,
when the three (3) male persons were near the portion of the street
Point of Entry - right occipital region, head, 58.5 inches from
near the store, which was lighted by the lights emanating from the
the heel, 3 cm. from the posterior midline, measuring 0.5 cm. x
Meralco post (Exhibit 'E'), Arnold Corpuz recognized the three (3)
0.3 cm. and with the contusion collar measures 1 cm. x 0.7 cm.
male persons. The first was Renato (Reneng Palayok) Garcia, who
and
was then holding a .38 caliber revolver, with his two (2) hands raised
on the level of his abreast, aimed at them.Behind Renato Garcia,
towards his right side, was his younger brother, the Accused and Point of Exit - right forehead, 5 cm. from the anterior midline,
behind the Accused, to his right side, was Jerry Lugos. The Accused 58 inches from the heel, and measures 1.3 cm. x 0.5 cm.
and Jerry Lugos were armed with handguns, also aimed at Reynaldo
Bernardo. When Reynaldo Bernardo, Fernando Leao and Arnold Course: Forwards, very slightly upwards and very slightly
Corpuz were about two (2) to three (3) meters from the intersection towards the lateral penetrating the cranial cavity and lacerating
of F. Muoz and Mataas na Lupa Streets, Paco, Manila, Reynaldo the right occipital, parietal and frontal lobes of the brain.
Bernardo turned, looked towards his left, and saw Renato Garcia, the
Accused and Jerry Lugos, all armed and their guns aimed at 2. Hematoma, below the right eyebrow.
him. Reynaldo Bernardo then started to sprint toward where Renato
Garcia, the Accused and Jerry Lugos were but barely had Reynaldo INTERNAL FINDINGS:
Bernardo taken off when Renato Garcia fired his gun, once, at
Reynaldo Bernardo and hit the latter on the left side of his neck 1. Laceration of the right occipital, parietal and
(Exhibit 'B').Renato Garcia was then only about two (2) meters way frontal lobes of the brains and subrachnoid
from Reynaldo Bernardo. When Renato Garcia fired at Reynaldo hemorrhage, and generalized pallor of the
Bernardo, the Accused and Jerry Lugos looked around as if acting as internal organs and tissues; and
lookouts.Reynaldo Bernardo placed his left palm on the left side of
his neck which was hit, fell, at first, on a kneeling position and then,
2. Recovered from the stomach about a glassful of
on the ground, face down (Exhibits 'E-3' and 'O'). Instinctively, after
dark liquid with some rice and vegetables and
Reynaldo Bernardo was hit, he flung and swung his hand inward,
without alcoholic odor.
outward and sideward and, in the process, hit Arnold Corpuz who
was then about to give succor to Reynaldo Bernardo. Arnold Corpuz
then fell on the ground, on a sitting position. Arnold Corpuz then CAUSE OF DEATH
stood up and then fell again on a kneeling position (Exhibit 'E-4'). In
the meantime, too, Fernando Leao rushed to his uncle and tried to lift Gunshot wound, right occipital region, head.[6]
him (Exhibit 'E-5'). Fernando Leao was then on a kneeling
position. In the meantime, too, Renato Garcia, the Accused and Jerry On the other hand, Dr. Pedro P. Solis, Medico-Legal
Lugos continued walking towards where Reynaldo Bernardo was Officer of the Medical Center Manila, performed an operation
sprawled and Fernando Leao beside him and Arnold Corpus in front on and gave medical treatment to Reynaldo Bernardo. The
of Fernando Leao. The body of Reynaldo Bernardo was between report he prepared showed the following findings:
them. Three (3) successive shots then ensued. Arnold Corpuz then
decided to lie down on the ground, face down, his face on the feet of Abrasion, 3 cm. x 2 cm. scalp, frontal region, left side; 3 cm. 3.5 cm
Reynaldo Bernardo, to avoid being hit with his two (2) hands under x 1cm. lateral aspect, frontal region, left side. Wound, gunshot,
his breast. Arnold Corpuz then raised his head a little and noticed that circular in shape, 0.9 cm. in diameter, lateral aspect, neck left side,
the front portion of the head of Fernando Leao was bulging and indise anterior triangle, directed medially, downwards and slightly
Fernando Leao falling down. It turned out that Fernando Leao was backwards, penetrating soft tissues of the neck, involving external
felled (sic) by a gunshot wound at the back of his head. In the jugular vein, then making wound exist at right paravertebral area that
process, Arnold Corpuz saw Renato Garcia, the Accused and Jerry the level of T3-T-4 and 3 cm. below the highest point of the shoulder.
Lugos behind Fernando Leao, still holding their guns. Renato Garcia, [7]

the Accused and Jerry Lugos then fled from the scene
together. Arnold Corpuz also fled from the scene towards the house Based on the above established facts, the trial court
of Esperanza del Rosario Bernardo to plead for help. On the way, rendered judgment, the dispositive portion reading as follows:
Arnold Corpuz met Dominador Bernardo, Jr., the brother of Reynaldo
Bernardo who came from the basketball court. Dominador Bernardo,
In view of all the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in the
Jr. inquired why Arnold Corpuz was running and Arnold Corpuzz
following cases to wit:
(sic) replied, thus: Tinamaan si Kuya Boy at Ferdie.' (pp. 214-216,
id.)[4]
1. In People versus Felipe Garcia, Jr., Criminal Case No. 91-
93374, judgment is hereby rendered finding the Accused guilty
The victims were taken to the Medical Center Manila at
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Frustrated Homicide
about 12:00 midnight. Subsequently, Leao was transferred to
and hereby sentences said Accused to an indeterminate penalty
the Orthopedic Hospital, where he died in the morning of
of from Four (4) Years and Two (2) months of Prision
November 4, 1990.[5]
Correccional, as Minimum, to Eight (8) Years and One (1) Day with exactitude the specific act of the accused, as it is a well-
of Prision Mayor, as Maximum, and to pay to Reynaldo settled doctrine that in conspiracy the act of one is the act of
Bernardo the amount of P115,631.00 as actual damages and all.[12]
P25,000.00 as moral damages;
Neither is the fact that the two others allegedly in
2. In People versus Felipe Garcia, Jr. Criminal Case No. 91- conspiracy with the petitioner were not named with
93375, judgment is hereby rendered finding the Accused guilty particularity, nor tried and convicted, of any moment. An
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of "Homicide" and information alleging conspiracy can stand even if only one
hereby metes on him an indeterminate penalty of from Eight person is charged except that the court cannot pass verdict on
(8) Years and One (1) Day of Prision Mayor, as Minimum to the co-conspirators who were not charged in the information.[13]
Fourteen (14) Years, Eight (8) Months and One (1) Day of
Reclusion Temporal as maximum, and to pay to the heirs of This Court does not doubt the guilt of the petitioner. The
Fernando Leao the amount of P10,040.00 as actual damages findings of a trial court on the credibility of witnesses deserve
and P50,000.00 by way of indemnity.[8] great weight, given the clear advantage of a trial judge over an
appellate magistrate in the appreciation of testimonial
Petitioner elevated his conviction to the Court of Appeals, evidence. Absent any showing that trial courts calibration of the
which on 21 May 1998, affirmed in toto the decision of the trial credibility was flawed, we are bound by its assessment.[14]
court.[9] Hence, the present case, petitioner raising the following
assignment of errors: An examination of the records will reveal that the
prosecution witnesses positively identified the
I accused. Reynaldo Bernardo, who sustained injuries from a
gunshot wound, narrated the incident as follows:
THE LOWER COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN EVALUATING
EVIDENCE DIRECTED AGAINST SUSPECTS GERRY FISCAL PERALTA:
LUGOS AND RENATO GARCIA - INFERENTIALLY
AGAINST ACCUSED-APPELLANT FELIPE GARCIA, JR., Where were you when this Fernando Leao told you that a
UNDER THE PRINCIPLE OF CONSPIRACY SO-CALLED. gun was poked on (sic) him?

II WITNESS:

THE LOWER COURT ERRED SERIOUSLY ERRED IN I was in our house, sir.
APPRECIATING THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES
ESTABLISHED IN THE TRIAL AGAINST ACCUSED- FISCAL PERALTA:
APPELLANT AS CO-CONSPIRATOR THEREOF, AND,
Can you still recall that (sic) time it was when this Fernando
III Leao told you that a gun was poked on (sic) him?

THE LOWER COURT ERRED SERIOUSLY IN FINDING WITNESS:


ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY AS CO-PRINCIPAL IN
HOMICIDE AND FRUSTRATED HOMICIDE GROUNDED
I think about 11:30 oclock, sir.
ON CONSPIRACY WITH THIRD PERSONS (GERRY
LUGOS AND RENATO GARCIA) WHO ARE MERE
FISCAL PERALTA:
SUSPECTS AND STRANGERS IN THE TWO CASES AS
THEY WERE NOT IMPLEADED THEREIN NOR
CHARGED AS JOHN AND RICARDO DOES IN EITHER And did you come to know as to what time or that date was
OR BOTH INFORMATIONS."[10] that poking incident took place.

Petitioner asserts that since he alone was named in the WITNESS:


information, "it would seem by implication from the narration in
the information that it was being made to appear that the On November 3, 1990, sir.
accused was in fact the gunman who acted in conspiracy with
unknown persons. The evidence later presented proved FISCAL PERALTA:
otherwise and it turned out that it was Renato Garcia alone
who shot and wounded Reynaldo Bernardo and shot and killed At what time was it, if you know?
Fernando Leao. It was not, therefore, in keeping with the
evidence on record proper to convict the accused based
WITNESS:
merely on the theory that there was conspiracy when no
sufficient evidence to support such fact exist."[11]
I was told at about 11:30 o'clock, sir.

Contrary to petitioners argument, there is no irregularity in


the information to warrant a reversal of the conviction. All FISCAL PERALTA:
material facts and essential elements of the crimes, for which
petitioner is charged, were alleged therein. Conspiracy was You said that at around 11:40 o'clock in the evening at the
alleged in the information. Thus, it is not necessary to allege corner of Mataas na Lupa and F. Muoz street, you
were with two (2) men, can you recall of any unusual FISCAL PERALTA:
incident that happened at that corner?
And what were these three (3) men actually doing at the
WITNESS: time that they shot you?

We were shot sir. "Pinagbabaril kami." WITNESS:

FISCAL PERALTA: They were armed with guns, sir.

Who shot you if you can still recall? FISCAL PERALTA:

WITNESS: Have you known this Rene Palayok even before November
3, 1990?
Reneng Palayok and his two (2) other companions by the
name of Peping Palayok and Jerry Lugos, sir. WITNESS:

FISCAL PERALTA: Yes, sir, since we were young.

How far were you in relation to the place where these men FISCAL PERALTA:
shot you?
What about this Peping Palayok, have you known also this
WITNESS: Peping Palayok?

About seven (7) meters away, sir, it is very near. WITNESS:

FISCAL PERALTA: Yes, sir, I have known him also since we were young.

Can you still recall the relative positions of these men FISCAL PERALTA:
whom you said shot you and your position at the time
that (sic) shots were fired? How about this Jerry Lugos?

ATTY. UY: WITNESS:

I object to the question, Your Honor, on the ground that the Yes, sir, he is my childhood mate.
same is very leading.
xxx
FISCAL PERALTA:
COURT:
I will reform, Your Honor. You said that you were about
more or less seven (7) meters away from the Granted.
men. Now, my question to you is, were you hit?

FISCAL PERALTA:
WITNESS:

Now, Mr. Witness, after you were hit on the left side of your
Yes, sir. neck, what happened next?

FISCAL PERALTA: WITNESS:

And where were you hit? I fell down, sir, face down.

WITNESS: FISCAL PERALTA:

At my (sic) left side of my neck, sir. And when you fell down, face down, can you still recall
what happened next?
FISCAL PERALTA:
WITNESS:
And at the time that you were hit on the neck, where were
these three (3) men at that time? After that, sir, I heard shots.

WITNESS: FISCAL PERALTA:

They were on my left side, sir.


Now, if you see again that Peping Palayok whom you said What is again the full name of this Rene(ng) Palayok, if you
was one of those who shot you, will you still be able to know?
recognize him?
WITNESS:
WITNESS:
Renato Garcia, sir.
Yes, sir.
FISCAL PERALTA:
FISCAL PERALTA:
What about this Peping?
Will you please look inside the Court and point to him?
WITNESS:
WITNESS:
Felipe Garcia, sir.[16]
That person, sir.
In the face of petitioner's positive identification, petitioners
INTERPRETER: defense of alibi cannot hold water. No jurisprudence in criminal
cases is more settled than the rule that alibi is the weakest of
Witness pointing to a person who, when asked, stated his all defenses, and the same should be rejected when the
name as Felipe Garcia, Jr.[15] identity of the accused has been sufficiently and positively
established by eyewitnesses to the crime.[17]
One of Bernardos companion, prosecution witness Arnold
Corpuz, testified in this wise: The factual findings of the trial court that petitioner
participated in the perpetration of the crime, such being
FISCAL PERALTA: supported by evidence on record, will not be disturbed by this
Court. However, we are of the persuasion that the prosecution
failed to prove with positive and competent evidence the fact
Could you please tell to this Honorable Court why you were
that the act of the petitioner was direct or actually necessary to
not able to reach the house of Reynaldo Bernardo?
the commission of the crime.

WITNESS:
The existence of conspiracy cannot be presumed. Similar
to the physical act constituting the crime itself, the elements of
Because there were three (3) male persons who were conspiracy must be proven beyond reasonable doubt.[18] The
waiting nakaabang for us, sir. mere fact that the petitioner had prior knowledge of the criminal
design of the principal perpetrator and aided the latter in
FISCAL PERALTA: consummating the crime does not automatically make him a
co-conspirator. Both knowledge of and participation in the
Why did you say that these three (3) men were waiting or criminal act are also inherent elements of an accomplice. [19] In
nakaabang for you? his commentaries on the Revised Penal Code, Chief Justice
Ramon Aquino explains:
WITNESS:
The guilt of an accomplice should be predicated on an act that was
Because while we were walking, they were already there done in furtherance of the commission of the crime by the
holding guns, sir. principal. The accomplice must have known that the principal
intended to commit a particular crime. In other words, he should have
community purpose with the principal. xxx[20]
FISCAL PERALTA:

In the case of People vs. Tamayo,[21] citing the Supreme


Do you know these persons who were holding guns?
Court of Spain, this Court made the following exposition on the
characteristics of an accomplice:
WITNESS:

xxx It is an essential condition to the existence of complicity, not


Yes, sir.
only that there should be a relation between the acts done by the
principal and those attributed to the person charged as accomplice,
FISCAL PERALTA: but it is furthermore necessary that the latter, with knowledge of the
criminal intent, should cooperate with the intention of supplying
And who were these persons whom you said were waiting material or moral aid in the execution of the crime in an efficacious
for you and holding guns? way.

WITNESS: In cases of doubt as to whether persons acted as


principals or accomplices, the doubt must be resolved in their
Reneng Palayok, Peping and Jerry Lugos, sir. favor and they should be held guilty as accomplices. [22] Such
principle was applied by this Court in the case of People v.
FISCAL PERALTA: Clemente:
In the case of appellants, Carlos and Pascual Clemente, while they WITNESS:
joined their brother in the pursuit of the fleeing Matnog, and in the
attack on him as he fell, yet the prosecution eyewitness was unable to Mang Rey or Rey Palayok, sir.
assert positively that the two managed to hit the fallen man. There
being no showing of conspiracy, and the extent of their participation FISCAL PERALTA:
in the homicide being uncertain, they should be given the benefit of
the doubt, and consequently they are declared to be mere accomplices
And you said that there were three (3) of them. What did
in the crime.[23]
these Peping and Jerry Lugos do when Rene Palayok
fired a gun that hit your Kuya Boy?
After a circumspect examination of the evidence, we find
that other than a showing that petitioner assisted Renato
WITNESS:
Garcia in the slaying of Fernando Leao and the infliction of
injuries upon Reynaldo Bernardo, the prosecution failed to
present other evidence which would positively establish the They were behind Mang Rene, sir.
existence of conspiracy. Thus, this Court is of the belief that
petitioner-accused should only be held liable as an FISCAL PERALTA:
accomplice. This seems to be the more reasonable and safer
course. You said that they were behind Rene Palayok. What did
they do afterwards after Rene fired a gun that hit your
Even if we were to agree with the trial court that Kuya Boy?
conspiracy existed between accused-petitioner and two other
malefactors, in particular Renato Garcia, who was positively ATTY. UY:
identified as the gunman, still this Court is of the conviction that
the petitioner should only be held liable as an Very leading, Your Honor.
accomplice. petitioners participation was hardly
indispensable. As the trial court pointed out, the petitioner COURT:
merely acted as a lookout. The testimony of Arnold Corpuz is
telling:
May answer.

FISCAL PERALTA:
WITNESS:

And what happened after you saw these three (3) men
They were looking around holding their guns as if they
waiting for you armed with guns?
were acting as look outs, sir.

WITNESS:
FISCAL PERALTA:

They fired a gun once and Kuya Boy was hit, sir.
After your Kuya Boy was hit on the neck, what happened
next?
FISCAL PERALTA:

WITNESS:
What part of the body of Boy was hit?

I saw Fernando went (sic) near his uncle so that he could


WITNESS: lift his uncle, sir.

Here, sir. FISCAL PERALTA:

INTERPRETER: Was he able to lift his uncle Reynaldo Bernardo?

Witness pointing to the left portion of his neck. WITNESS:

COURT: Not anymore, sir, because there were continuous firing of


guns about three (3) times.
I cannot understand that. You said that they fired
once. How many fired? FISCAL PERALTA:

WITNESS: What happened to Fernando Leao when there was a


continuous firing for at least three (3) times?
Only one, Your Honor.
ATTY. UY:
FISCAL PERALTA:
Leading, Your Honor.
Who was that person who fired the gun?
COURT:
May answer. crime of Frustrated Homicide and hereby
sentences said Accused to an indeterminate
WITNESS: penalty of Four (4) months of Arresto Mayor, as
Minimum, to Four (4) years and One (1) Day
He was hit on the back of his head, sir. of Prision Correcional, as Maximum;

INTERPRETER: 2. In People versus Felipe Garcia, Jr. Criminal Case


No. 91-93375, judgment is hereby rendered
finding the Accused guilty beyond reasonable
Witness pointing to the right back portion of his head just
doubt as an ACCOMPLICE in the crime of
behind his right ear.
"Homicide and hereby metes on him an
indeterminate penalty of Two (2) Years of Prision
FISCAL PERALTA: Correccional, as Minimum, to Eight (8) Years
and One (1) Day of Prision Mayor, as Maximum.
And do you know who shot this Fernando Leao?
No pronouncement as to cost.
WITNESS:
SO ORDERED.
Yes, sir. It was Mang Rene.

FISCAL PERALTA:

What did the companions of Rene Palayok do when Rene


Palayok shot Fernando Leao? G.R. No. 131806 October 20, 2000

ATTY. UY: PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
Very leading, Your Honor. LIBERATO CABIGTING y SARMIENTO, accused-appellant.

COURT: DECISION

May answer. PARDO, J.:

WITNESS: The case is an appeal filed by accused Liberato Cabigting y


Sarmiento from the decision of the Regional Trial Court,
They were acting as aide and they were following Rene Bulacan Branch 19, Malolos convicting him of rape, sentencing
Palayok, sir.[24] him to reclusion perpetua and to indemnify Sheryl M. de
Ocampo in the sum of fifty thousand (P50,000.00) pesos as
As can be seen from the above testimony, petitioner's moral damages and fifty thousand (P50,000.00) pesos as
participation was hardly indispensable. In the case of People v. exemplary damages, and to pay costs of suit.1
Nierra,[25] this Court made the following ruling:
On April 23, 1996, Sheryl M. de Ocampo, with the assistance
After a conscientious reflection on the complicity of Doblen and of her mother, filed with the Regional Trial Court, Bulacan,
Rojas, we have reached the conclusion that they should be held guilty Malolos, a criminal complaint alleging, to wit:
as accomplices. It is true, strictly speaking, that as co-conspirators
they should be punished as co-principals. However, since their "That on or about the 23rd day of November, 1995, in the
participation was not absolutely indispensable to the consummation municipality of Norzagaray, province of Bulacan, Philippines,
of the murder, the rule that the court should favor the milder form of and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
liability may be applied to them. mentioned accused did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously, by means of force and intimidation and with lewd
In some exceptional situations, having community of design with the designs have carnal knowledge of one Sheryl M. de Ocampo,
principal does not prevent a malefactor from being regarded as an against her will and without her consent.
accomplice if his role in the perpetration of the homicide or murder
was, relatively speaking, of a minor character. "Contrary to law."2

WHEREFORE, the herein questioned decision of the At the arraignment on February 25, 1997, accused Liberato S.
Court of Appeals affirming the decision of the Regional Trial Cabigting pleaded not guilty to the crime charged.3Thereafter,
Court is hereby MODIFIED to wit: trial ensued.

1. In People versus Felipe Garcia, Jr., Criminal The facts are as follows:
Case No. 91-93374, judgment is hereby
rendered finding the Accused guilty beyond
reasonable doubt as an ACCOMPLICE in the
Sheryl M. de Ocampo, eleven years old at the time of the organ of the male.11 He noted that the examination took place
incident, was a Grade 4 student of accused Liberato S. five days after the reported incident and that a contusion in the
Cabigting in Tigbe Elementary School, Norzagaray, Bulacan. vaginal canal heals after four days.12

In the morning of November 23, 1995, Sheryl, together with her Accused Liberato S. Cabigting13 denies ever asking Sheryl and
classmates, Janet C. Gojo Cruz and Zemonette4 C. Valenzuela her two classmates, Janet and Zemonette, to clean his house
went to the house of their teacher, accused Liberato Cabigting, in the morning of November 23, 1995. He admits, however,
to clean his house. Upon their arrival, the three children saw that his pupils normally come to his house, which is 100 yards
accused Cabigting outside his house. They approached him from the school, to watch television, to fetch him or to bring his
and asked what they were supposed to do. He instructed Janet things to school.
and Zemonette to clean the front yard of the house while
Sheryl would clean inside. Accused Cabigting alleged that at 7:00 in the morning of
November 23, 1995, he left his house to walk to school with his
When Sheryl entered the house, accused Cabigting asked her daughter, who was also going to school. Ten minutes later, he
to go inside a room. Sheryl proceeded to a room on the ground reached the school. He signed the attendance logbook at the
floor. The room was about 3 to 4 meters in length and 2 meters office of the Head Teacher and then prepared his lesson for the
in width. Accused Cabigting followed Sheryl and closed the day's classes. Later, he proceeded to the playground to attend
door and the window of the room. He took off her sando, t- flag ceremony with his class, consisting of fifty students.
shirt, panty, and skirt. Sheryl did not move. Then, accused Afterwards, he returned to the classroom for morning classes.
Cabigting took off his polo shirt, shorts and brief. He told her to Sheryl and the two other girls were present in school at that
kiss and hug him. She refused. He kissed and hugged her. time. Lunch break came at 11:45, then classes resumed at
Then, he pushed her to a bed, spread her thighs and went on 1:00 in the afternoon. Sheryl and her two classmates also
top of her. She tried to kick him but he continued to stay on top attended the afternoon classes. Classes ended at 4:30 or 4:45
of her. Accused Cabigting held her two hands with his two in the afternoon.
hands. Later, he held his penis and inserted it into her sex
organ. She felt pain in her sex organ.5 Accused Cabigting avers that he has been a teacher for 23
years in Malolos, Bulacan, and in Bayabas, Norzagaray,
Suddenly, Janet and Zemonette knocked on the door. Accused Bulacan and that he has never been charged with any offense.
Cabigting got off Sheryl and dressed quickly. Sheryl also put on He does not know of any reason why his student, Sheryl M. de
her clothes. Accused Cabigting opened the door and led Sheryl Ocampo, would testify falsely and impute such a crime against
out of the room. They all went to school. Sheryl attended him.
morning and afternoon classes. She did not reveal to her
friends what had occurred that morning.6 Teresita Lo, head teacher of Tigbe Elementary School, testified
that accused Cabigting signed in the attendance logbook at
Sheryl claimed that she found bloodstain on her panty after the 7:15 in the morning of November 23, 1995.14
incident.7 She felt pain for about three days.
Janette C. Gojo Cruz and Zemonette C. Valenzuela testified
On November 27, 1995, five days after the incident, Sheryl that they went to the house of accused Cabigting at around
refused to go to school. Antonia de Ocampo, Sheryl's mother, 7:00 in the morning of November 23, 1995.15 Janet stated that
wrote the accused Cabigting to inform him that Sheryl had while she was cleaning the front yard of the house with
LBM and would not be able to attend classes that day. Sheryl, Zemonette, accused Cabigting was cleaning the pigpen.16
accompanied by her sister, Victoria de Ocampo went to Dr.
San Pedro at Sapang Palay Emergency Hospital for treatment Michael Bayumbong, another student of accused Cabigting,
of the LBM. The doctor, after examination, advised Sheryl to go testified that he, together with Jonjon Hernandez and Ronald
to the National Bureau of Investigation to report the rape Hernandez, accompanied Sheryl, Janet and Zemonette to the
incident.8 house of accused Cabigting on November 23, 1995, at around
7:00 in the morning. The three boys stayed in the backyard
The following day, Dr. Eduardo T. Vargas, Jr., medico-legal near the pigpen of the house to pick up dried leaves and
officer of the National Bureau of Investigation, conducted a plastics. Thereafter, they left for school, leaving Sheryl, Janet
medico genital examination of Sheryl and issued an official and Zemonette behind.17
report, stating his conclusions as follows:
On October 3, 1997, the trial court rendered a decision,18 the
"1) No evident sign of extra-genital physical injuries dispositive portion of which reads as follows:
noted on the body of the subject at the time of
examination. "WHEREFORE, BASED ON THE FOREGOING, this Court
finds accused LIBERATO S. CABIGTING guilty beyond
"2) Hymen intact and its orifice wall (2.0 cm. in reasonable doubt of the crime of RAPE and hereby sentences
diameter) as to preclude complete penetration by an him to suffer an imprisonment of RECLUSION PERPETUA and
average-sized adult Filipino male organ in full erection to indemnify the victim, Sheryl de Ocampo, in the amount of
without producing any genital injury."9 P50,000.00 as moral damages and P50,000.00 as exemplary
damages and to pay costs of suit.
Dr. Vargas testified in court that "there was no destruction on
the hymen" and that there was "no laceration".10However, he "SO ORDERED.
did not discount the possibility that there could have been inter-
labial insertion even if there was no full penetration of the
"Malolos, Bulacan, 3 October 1997. girl of eleven years would concoct a story of defloration, allow
an examination of her private parts, and thereafter pervert
"RENATO C. FRANCISCO herself by being subject to a public trial, if she was not
Presiding Judge"19 motivated solely by the desire to obtain justice for the wrong
committed against her.28
Hence, this appeal.20
Accused-appellant contends that any incident occurring within
Accused-appellant Cabigting questions the credibility of Sheryl the house would have been noticed by the classmates of the
M. de Ocampo, citing inconsistencies in her statements and victim, who were just outside the house at that time.
lack of evidence to support her assertions.
The fact that Sheryl's friends were outside the house and she
The appeal lacks merit. was inside the house does not remove the possibility for the
rape to occur. Rape can be committed even in places where
people congregate, in parks, along the roadside, within school
It is settled doctrine that evaluation of testimonial evidence by
premises, inside a house where there are other occupants, and
the trial court is accorded great respect by this Court because
even in the same room where other members of the family are
the trial court is in the advantageous position of personally
also sleeping, for lust is no respecter of time and place.29
observing the demeanor of witnesses. Absent any showing that
certain facts of substance and significance have been plainly
overlooked or that the trial court's findings are clearly arbitrary, At least four children, excluding Sheryl M. de Ocampo,
the conclusions reached by the trial court must be respected.21 confirmed that accused-appellant was at home that morning of
November 23, 1993. Mere denial cannot overcome such
positive testimony.1wphi1
Accused-appellant contends that Sheryl was inconsistent
regarding the actual time when the rape took place. According
to Sheryl, she went to the house of accused-appellant Although accused-appellant presented the head teacher in
Cabigting at around 8:00 in the morning of November 23, charge of the attendance logbook to declare that she saw
1995. However, her classmates testified that they went there at accused-appellant signing in the logbook at 7:15 that morning,
around 7:00 in the morning. said witness could not account for the time of accused-
appellant afterwards.

The precise time of the commission of the crime is not an


essential element of rape and it has no bearing on its With the positive testimony of the victim, Sheryl M. de
commission.22 The important thing is, it was established that Ocampo, accused-appellant is liable for rape under Article 335
Sheryl went to the house of accused-appellant on the date (3) of the Revised Penal Code, in effect at the time the crime
reported and this allegation was corroborated by the was committed, for the carnal knowledge of a girl under twelve
classmates of Sheryl who went there with her. years of age.

Inconsistencies in the testimony of the victim does not Regarding the amount of damages awarded by the trial court,
necessarily render such testimony incredible. In fact, minor the Court notes that the trial court awarded moral damages in
inconsistencies strengthen the credibility of the witness and the favor of the victim and failed to award civil indemnity. Civil
testimony, because of a showing that such charges are not indemnity is automatically imposed upon the accused without
fabricated. What is decisive in a charge of rape is the need of proof other than the fact of the commission of the
complainant's positive identification of the accused as the offense and is separate and distinct from moral
malefactor.23 damages.30 Hence, in addition to the fifty thousand pesos
(P50,000.00) awarded as moral damages, accused-appellant
must be sentenced to pay an additional amount of fifty
Accused-appellant likewise contends that the prosecution
thousand pesos (P50,000.00) as civil indemnity.
failed to establish beyond reasonable doubt the occurrence of
carnal knowledge of the victim. Medical findings were
inconclusive as to the finding of rape. No sign of violence or The award for exemplary damages is deleted as no
any form of injury was detected on the body of the victim. aggravating circumstance has been proved to have attended
the commission of the crime.31 Exemplary damages, under
Article 2230 of the Civil Code, may be imposed only when the
However, it is undisputed that the victim underwent medical
crime is committed with one or more aggravating
examination five days after the incident, by which time, any
circumstances.32
form of slight contusion in the vaginal canal may have healed
already. The absence of any external sign or physical injury
does not necessarily negate the occurrence of rape, proof of WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the judgment of the
injury not being an essential element of that crime.24 Lack of Regional Trial Court, Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 19, convicting
lacerated wounds does not negate sexual intercourse.25 Even Liberato Cabigting y Sarmiento of rape and sentencing him to
the slightest touching of the female genitalia, or mere reclusion perpetua, with the modification that he shall
introduction of the male organ into the labia of the pudendum indemnify the victim, Sheryl M. de Ocampo, in the amount of
constitutes carnal knowledge.26 fifty thousand (P50,000.00) pesos as civil indemnity, not as
exemplary damages, and fifty thousand (P50,000.00) pesos as
moral damages, and costs.
Moreover, when a woman, in this case a girl barely in her
teens, says she has been raped, she in effect says all that is
necessary to show that she has been raped, provided her SO ORDERED.
testimony is credible.27 It is highly inconceivable that a young
pushed her against a wall, stripped her of her panties, causing
her to be thrown off-balance. Prudencia fell on a bench, astride
and supinely flat on her back. The appellant then unzipped his
G.R. No. 148144 April 30, 2004
trousers, pulled out his erect penis and inserted it into her
vagina. He then made push-and-pull movements. Prudencia
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, continued resisting the bestial assault on her. The appellant
vs. retaliated and scratched her face and neck.9 Prudencia
FLORENCIO CADAMPOG, appellant. managed to push the appellant away, causing him to withdraw
his penis and ejaculate outside.10 The appellants lust deflated
DECISION when his semen splattered all over Prudencias upper
thigh.11 The appellant dressed himself and warned Prudencia
to keep the incident to herself, otherwise, he would kill
CALLEJO, SR., J.: her.12 The appellant then left.

This is an appeal from the Decision1 of the Regional Trial Court Prudencia immediately proceeded to the barangay secretary
of Malaybalay City, Branch 9, in Criminal Case No. 7823-96, and the barangay captain, Mrs. Raguro. She reported the
finding the appellant Florencio Cadampog guilty of rape incident to them. The barangay captain told Prudencia that
committed against complainant Prudencia Lasara,2 and there would be a settlement at 2:00 p.m, but the latter did not
sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and agree. She then returned home.13 Back home, she hid her
to pay the sum of P50,000 as moral damages and P10,000 as husbands bolo in a safe place, and thereafter, patiently waited
actual damages. for her husband to return.14

The Information filed against the appellant reads: When Felipe arrived home at around 11:00 p.m., Prudencia
told him that the appellant had raped her.15 Felipe was so
That on or about the 14th day of January 1996, in the enraged that his initial reaction was to look for and kill the
afternoon, at Sitio Himaya, Barangay Kuya, appellant, but he relented when he realized that he had no
Municipality of Maramag, Province of Bukidnon, right to take the law into his own hands.16
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused The following morning, January 15, 1996, Prudencia reported
prompted by lewd design entered the house of the incident to the police17 and gave a sworn statement. Dr.
Prudencia Lazara and once inside, did then and Venus Tagarda of the Maramag District Hospital examined her
there, willfully, unlawfully and criminally, wrestle, kiss, and issued a Medical Certificate with the following findings:
remove the panty of PRUDENCIA LAZARA and
accused remove also his pants and have sexual
intercourse with the latter against her will, to the PROGNOSIS/FINDINGS - Linear abrasions left
damage and prejudice of PRUDENCIA LAZARA in zygomatic
such amount as may be allowed by law.
Multiple linear abrasion to
- upper part of anterior
Contrary to and in violation of Article 335 of the Revised Penal
chest and neck
Code in relation to Republic Act No. 7659.3
OPERATION PERFORMED - Introitus-multiparous
Upon arraignment on April 10, 1996, the appellant, with the
assistance of his counsel de oficio, pleaded not guilty to the REMARKS - Sperm identification:
charge.4 Trial thereafter ensued. Vagina smear done -
negative for spermatozoa
slide I, slide II18
The Case for the Prosecution5

The spouses Felipe and Prudencia Lasara were farmers who Dr. Tagarda testified that there were no traces of semen found
lived in Sitio Himaya, Barangay Kuya, Municipality of in the offended partys vagina due to the intervening period
Maramag, Bukidnon. Felipe was 41, while Prudencia was 33. from the date of the rape and the physical examination. The
They had four children, namely, seven-year-old Jimmymar, six- linear abrasion located at the complainants left cheekbone,
year-old Jaypee, five-year-old Gemma and one-year-old and the multiple abrasions on her chest and neck could have
Jovilyn.6 been caused by sharp objects such as fingernails or other
sharp instruments.19
At about 12:30 p.m. on January 14, 1996, a Sunday, Felipe
with his brother-in-law Paul, and his friends Berting and Dodoy, The Case for the Appellant20
went to the neighboring Barangay Dagumbaan to attend the
festivities, as it was the eve of the fiesta.7Prudencia was left The accused denied the charge. He interposed the defense of
alone in the house with her young children. alibi. He testified that he lived with his wife, Liza, and their four
children in Sitio Himaya, Barangay Kuya, Municipality of
At around 2:30 p.m. of the same day, Prudencia heard the Maramag, Bukidnon. They resided in a house built on a
voice of a man asking her two children, who were then playing farmland owned by Constancio Paragoso, roughly 500 meters
downstairs, where she was. The children replied that their from where the spouses Felipe and Prudencia Lasara
mother was upstairs. Momentarily, she heard footsteps going lived.21 On January 14, 1996, the accused, along with his wife
up the house. Suddenly, the person, who turned out to be the and eldest daughter, Lady Rose, were at the farmlands
appellant Florencio Cadampog, their neighbor and her grassland all day long, cutting cogon grasses to be used for
husbands friend, rushed towards her.8 The appellant Paragosos house roofing. They started working from 7:00 a.m.
immediately grabbed her by the arm and hooked his other arm until 5:00 p.m. without let up, except for a short lunch break.
around her neck. She maneuvered to back away but the He chopped firewood upon returning to the house.22 The
appellant started kissing her. She wanted to shout, but relented following day, at around 11:00 p.m., lawmen came to his house
when she noticed that the appellant had a sheathed bolo and arrested him. He was brought to the municipal jail and
dangling at his waist. Nevertheless, she struggled and there he learned of the charge for the first time.23
vigorously resisted his advances, to no avail. The appellant
The appellant claimed that the charge was merely Prudencias appellant succeeded in having sexual intercourse with the
concoction because he refused to be a witness against a victim with the use of force, threats or intimidation;
certain Romeo Alinas, against whom Prudencia had nonetheless, it alleges that the appellant succeeded in having
contemplated filing a criminal charge for rape.24 The appellant sexual intercourse with the victim after first wrestling with her
recalled having a meeting with the spouses Felipe and and against her will, viz:
Prudencia Lasara at their place days before January 14, 1994,
where Prudencia asked him to testify in her behalf. For his Appellant argues that the information is defective
refusal to do so, he ended up in jail.25 since it failed to allege that [the] appellant raped the
victim with the use of force and/or intimidation
The appellants wife, Liza, corroborated his story, claiming that (Appellants Brief, p. 4).
her husband was with her and their daughter, Lady Rose,
cutting cogon grasses in Paragosos farmland the whole day of Appellants claim is bereft of merit.
January 14, 1996. Her husband never left the place.26 Liza
recalled that after the alleged rape, she went to Prudencia,
they being close friends, and requested her to withdraw the Contrary to [the] appellants claim, a perusal of the information
case. Prudencia however, refused to agree unless shows that force was alleged therein.
given P80,000.27
As stated in the information "the above-named accused
Constancio Paragoso, a septuagenarian farmer, also prompted by lewd design entered the house of Prudencia
corroborated the appellants alibi. He testified that he hired the Lazara and once inside, did then and there, unlawfully and
accused and his wife to cut cogon grasses for the roofing of his criminally wrestle, kiss, remove the panty of PRUDENCIA
house and paid them P1.00 per bundle. He claimed to be with LAZARA and, accused remove also his pants and have sexual
them. He also vouched for the appellant, claiming that the intercourse with the latter against her will."
latter was present at the cogonal area during the whole day of
January 14, 1996.28 An information is sufficient where it clearly states the
designation of the offense by the statute and the acts or
On January 12, 2001, the trial court rendered a decision finding omissions complained of as constituting the offense. [Sta. Rita
the accused guilty of rape. The dispositive portion reads: vs. CA, 247 SCRA 484 (1995)].

WHEREFORE, this court, for the foregoing reasons, In the case at bar, the failure of the information to state that
finds the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of [the] appellant raped Prudencia "through force and
the crime of simple rape as defined and penalized intimidation" was not a fatal omission nor did it make the
under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code and information defective since the word "wrestle" was used in lieu
pursuant thereto is hereby sentenced to the penalty of the word "force".
of reclusion perpetua together will all the accessory
penalties included thereunder and to pay the offended "Force" is defined as power, violence, or constraint exerted
party the sum of P50,000.00 by way of moral upon or against a person. It is used to show that an unlawful or
damages and actual damages in the amount wrongful action is meant (Blacks Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition,
of P10,000.00. West Publishing Co., Minnesota, 1979, page 644).

By virtue of this conviction and pursuant to Section 5 "Wrestle," on the other hand, is to engage in a violent or
of Rule 114 of [the] 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure determined purposive struggle to overcome an opposing force
the accused shall continue to be under detention even (Webster[s] Third New International Dictionary,
if the accused should appeal this decision to the Massachusetts, 1993, page 2640).
proper appellate court. However, the accused shall be
entitled to the full credit for the period he is detained In the case at bar, although the word "force" was not used in
pursuant to Article 25 of the Revised Penal Code and the information, the prosecution used the word "wrestle"
subject to the restriction and limitation therein instead. Thus, it is respectfully submitted that the word
imposed. "wrestle" synonymously connotes the use of force in the
commission of the offense.
SO ORDERED.29
Moreover, the use of the phrase "against her will" in the
The accused, now the appellant, contends that: information also implies that the rape was committed with
force.32
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THE
ACCUSED GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE We agree with the Office of the Solicitor General.
DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF RAPE COMMITTED
THROUGH FORCE AND INTIMIDATION WHEN THE The Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure re-enacted Section
INFORMATION WAS FATALLY DEFECTIVE.30 6, Rule 110 of the old Rules, thus:

The appellant asserts that the Information against him does not Sec. 6. Sufficiency of Information - A complaint or
charge him of rape because it does not allege one of its information is sufficient if it states the name of the
elements, i.e, force or intimidation. He argues that the accused; the designation of the offense given by the
Information is void. Even if the prosecution was able to prove statute; the acts or omissions complained of as
that he forced Prudencia to have sexual intercourse with him, constituting the offense; the name of the offended
he cannot be convicted of the crime charged; otherwise, he party; the approximate date of the commission of the
would be deprived of his right to be informed of the charge offense; and the place where the offense was
against him and to prepare for his defense.31 committed.

The Office of the Solicitor General, for its part, contends that When an offense is committed by more than one person, all of
the Information is not defective; neither is it void. It argues that them shall be included in the complaint or information. (6a)
although the Information does not specifically allege that the
The Information need not use the language of the statute in deemed to have waived whatever objections as to form or
stating the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the substance in the Information.37 As the Court ruled in People v.
offense. What is required is that the acts or omissions Flores:38
complained of as constituting the offense must be stated in
ordinary and concise language sufficient to enable a person of If the complaint against the accused-appellant was
common understanding to know the offense charged. Thus, afflicted by the vice of vagueness, his remedy is to file
Rule 110, Section 9 of the Revised Rules of Court provides: a motion for bill of particulars. The record reveals that
[the] accused-appellant did not ask for a bill of
Sec. 9. Cause of the accusation. The acts or particulars in accordance with section 10, Rule 116 of
omissions complained of as constituting the offense the Rules of Court. The failure to move for
and the qualifying and aggravating circumstances specifications or the quashal of the information on any
must be stated in ordinary and concise language and of the grounds provided for in the Rules of Court
not necessarily in the language used in the statute but deprives [the] accused of the right to object to
in terms sufficient to enable a person of common evidence which could be lawfully introduced and
understanding to know what offense is being charged admitted under an information of more or less general
as well as its qualifying and aggravating terms but which sufficiently charges the accused with
circumstances and for the court to pronounce a definite crime. It is too late in the day for [the]
judgment. accused-appellant to raise this issue now because
objections as to matters of form and substance in the
In the case at bar, the appellant is charged with rape through information cannot be made for the first time on
force, threats or intimidation under Article 335, paragraph 1 of appeal.39
the Revised Penal Code. The gravamen of rape is carnal
knowledge of a woman against her will or without her Although the appellant failed to raise, as an issue, the matter of
consent.33 We have reviewed the Information34 and found that it whether the prosecution was able to prove his guilt for the
contains all the elements of rape defined in Article 335, crime charged beyond reasonable doubt, we reviewed the
paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. The records to ascertain whether or not the prosecution mustered
Information against the appellant is quoted, viz: the requisite quantum of evidence to prove the crime charged
to avert a miscarriage of justice. It is a well-settled rule that an
INFORMATION appeal in a criminal proceeding throws the whole case open for
review and it becomes the duty of the appellate court to correct
any errors as may be found in the appealed judgement,
That on or about the 14th day of January 1996, in the whether or not it is made the subject of assignment of
afternoon, at Sitio Himaya, Barangay Kuya, errors.40 We are convinced that, indeed, the prosecution
Municipality of Maramag, Province of Bukidnon, discharged its burden.
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused
prompted by lewd design entered the house of The private complainant vividly recounted before the trial court
Prudencia Lazara and once inside, did then and how the appellant bestially ravished her. She positively
there, willfully, unlawfully and criminally, wrestle, kiss, identified the appellant as the rouge who raped her on January
remove the panty of PRUDENCIA LAZARA and 14, 1996.41 She testified as follows:
accused remove also his pants and have sexual
intercourse with the latter against her will, to the ...
damage and prejudice of PRUDENCIA LAZARA in
such amount as may be allowed by law. PROS. CHING:

Contrary to and in violation of Article 335 of the Q And then what did he do when he was inside your
Revised Penal Code in relation to Republic Act No. house together with your infant baby (sic)?
7659.35
A He immediately held me and embraced me.
Although the Information does not allege that the appellant
used force, threat or intimidation in having sexual intercourse
with the victim, it alleges that the appellant "criminally wrestled" Q And then when he embraced you what was your
with the private complainant and succeeded in having carnal position?
knowledge of her against her will. The import of such
allegations is that the appellant used physical force and A He kept on kissing me.42
intimidation in having carnal knowledge of her. To wrestle is to
contend by grappling with and striving to trip or throw down an ...
opponent; or to combat or overcome an opposing tendency or
force, or an antagonistic person or group; or to engage in or as
if in a violent or determined purposive struggle. It applies to a Q Then after the accused held your right arm and
struggling for mastery by the use, mainly or solely of dexterous encircled his right arm on the (sic) neck, what then did
holds with the hands, arms or legs.36 he do to you? or what did he do with (sic) your face?

The appellants submission that the Information does not A He kept on kissing my face.43
sufficiently charge him of rape under Article 335, paragraph 1
of the Revised Penal Code or that the Information is defective ...
is but an afterthought. The appellant never filed a motion to
quash the Information or a motion for a bill of particulars under
Q Were you able to successfully resist?
Rule 116, Section 10 of the Rules of Court before his
arraignment. He was arraigned, assisted by counsel, and after
the Information was read and explained to him in a language or A I kept on moving backward so that my face could
dialect known to him, he entered a plea of not guilty. There was not touch his face.
no complaint from the appellant, before he entered his plea,
that the Information was defective and that he did not
understand the charge against him. The appellant is, thus,
Q Then because you were trying to avoid his Q What part of your body was scratched?
advances on kissing you, what then immediately
happened to you? What position did you have A Here.
because of the attack?
INTERPRETER:
A I was able to lean on the wall and bench.44
Witness pointed to the left side of her face, the neck
... and the chest.48

Q In that position, what then did he do to you? ...

A He removed my panty.45 PROS. CHING:

... Q In that position, when he inserted his penis into


your vagina, did you not resist him?
Q Now, when he removed your panty, did you not
resist? A I kept on resisting.

A I was afraid to resist because he was carrying with Q But he was able to penetrate your vagina?
him a bolo. He had a bolo.
A Yes.
Q Where was the bolo at that precise time?
Q And when his penis was already inserted into your
A On the side of his body. vagina, what then did he do?

Q Did it have a scabbard? A He made a push and pull movement of his buttocks.
He made a pumping motion of his buttocks.
A Yes.
COURT:
Q And you mean the bolo was strung around the
waist of the accused Florencio Cadampog? Q How about you, what was your reaction when he
kept on pumping?
A Yes.
A I was afraid.
Q Then you said your panty was removed, what then
did the accused do next? Q Did you come to like it?

A He unzipped the zipper of his pants and he pulled A No, Sir.


out his penis.
PROS. CHING:
Q When he pulled out his penis, what did you notice?
You are a married woman, you should know. Was it
erect or not? Q Now, when he had that pumping motion at that
time, the accused had sexual intercourse with you,
what then did you do?
A Yes, it was erect.
A I suddenly pushed him away.
Q And then after he opened his zipper and pulled out
his erect penis, what then did he do next?
Q And what happened after you pushed him away?
A He inserted his penis to my vagina.46
A He was pushed away from me.
COURT:
Q And what happened to his penis when you pushed
him?
...
A It was withdrawn from my vagina.
Q Did you resist his advances?
Q When it was withdrawn from your vagina, what
A I resisted, that is why he scratched my face.47 happened next?

... A He had an ejaculation.

PROS. CHING: Q How do you know that he had an ejaculation when


the penis was pulled out from your vagina?
Q You said that he scratched your face. Did you suffer
any injury on your face? A Because it spurted towards my upper thigh.

A Yes.
Q Then when the penis was pulled out and the Anent the appellants assertion that Prudencia
accused had an ejaculation and spurted spermatozoa demanded P80,000 from his wife in consideration of
(sic) in your thigh, what did he do next? Prudencias desistance from charging him with rape, the latter
offered no evidence to prove his allegation other than the bare
A He then left our own house.49 claim of his wife, Liza. Besides, the evidence shows that it was
Liza who approached Prudencia, not the other way around.
The linear abrasion on Prudencias left cheekbone, and the
multiple abrasions on her chest and neck were eloquent The Court does not see how Prudencia, a married woman, and
testimonies of the force employed by the appellant. In rape mother of four children, could demean her womanhood, risk
case, the physical evidence showing use of force speaks public censure, and expose herself to the rigors,
louder than words.50 It bears stressing that when the testimony embarrassments and headaches of a public trial, if her motive
of a rape victim is consistent with the medical findings, was other than to secure justice. As aptly pointed out in People
sufficient basis exist to warrant a conclusion that the essential v. Dagami57
requisite of carnal knowledge has thereby been established.51
[A] married woman with a husband and three
It has been held that the conduct of the victim immediately daughters would not publicly admit that she had been
following the alleged sexual assault is of utmost importance as criminally abused unless that was the truth. Similarly,
tending to establish the truth or falsity of the charge of it defies reason in this case why a mother of four
rape.52 Thus, further strengthening this Courts conviction that would concoct a story of defloration, allow the
the appellant is guilty of raping Prudencia is the fact that she examination of her private parts and publicly disclose
wasted no time in reporting her ordeal to the authorities. As we that she has been sexually abused if her motive were
have held in the case of People v. Grefiel:53 other than to fight for her honor and bring to justice
the person who defiled her. Pertinently, it stands to
reason that Visitacion would not bring herself, her
[D]espite the outrage and shame, she lost no time family and her husband to embarrassment, to public
in reporting the incident to the barangay captain. In scrutiny and being the talk of the community unless
less than twelve (12) hours from the commission of what she had testified that she was raped is true. It is
the crime, she narrated the sordid details of her settled that where there is no evidence to show any
horrifying and harrowing experience in a statement dubious reason or improper motive why a prosecution
given to the police authorities, submitted to a medical witness would testify falsely against an accused or
examination and signed a criminal complaint for falsely implicate him in a heinous crime, the testimony
forcible abduction with rape against the accused- is worthy of full faith and credit.58
appellant. Not only did these acts demonstrate
courage of the highest order, they also enhance the
complainant's credibility. It has been repeatedly said It bears stressing that when it comes to the issue of credibility,
by this Court that when a woman admits that she has the trial court judge is in the best position to rule on the matter,
been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to considering that he has the vantage point of observing first
show that rape has been committed; if her testimony hand the demeanor and deportment of the witnesses. In the
meets the test of credibility, the accused may be absence of proof that the trial court had overlooked or
convicted on the basis thereof ...54 disregarded arbitrarily certain facts and circumstances of
significance in the case, as in the case at bar, its appreciation
of the credibility of witnesses will not be altered on review.
Thus, the veracity of Prudencias testimony cannot be doubted.
In People v. Jaca,55 we said:
The appellants defenses of denial and alibi deserve scant
consideration, in view of Prudencias positive identification of
The credibility of the victim is further strengthened by the appellant as the one who defiled her, coupled with Dr.
the spontaneity of her act immediately after the Tagardes testimony and medical findings.
incident. We note her courage in reporting the rape,
unmindful of what the incident could do on her
reputation in their barrio. We fully concur with the The appellants denial of the charge against him is futile, in
opinion of the lower court, viz: light of Prudencias positive testimony that he raped her on
January 14, 1996. Denial is inherently a weak defense. It
cannot prevail over positive identification, unless buttressed by
"The fact that, the offended party, after the strong evidence of non-culpability.59
beastly attack, immediately left her house to
report the molestation against her honor, is a
clear manifestation that she was indeed The appellants defense of alibi must also fail. Well-settled is
raped. ... the rule that alibi is an inherently weak defense which cannot
prevail over the positive identification of the accused by the
victim.60 Prudencia has positively identified the appellant as the
Her immediate response (reporting the incident) one responsible for the assault on her chastity.61 His alibi
carries the stamp of truth. This is a natural reaction of cannot, thus, exculpate him from liability.
a virtuous woman who had just undergone sexual
molestation against her will."56
In addition to the positive identification made by Prudencia, the
appellants alibi placed him within the periphery of the locus
The appellants imputation of ill motive on the part of the criminis. In order for the defense of alibi to prosper, it is not
private complainant is absurd. The appellant alleged that he enough to prove that appellant was somewhere else when the
was charged with rape because of his refusal to testify in offense was committed; it must, likewise, be demonstrated that
Prudencias behalf against a certain Romeo Alinas, who is he was so far away that it was not possible for him to have
Prudencias alleged real rapist. This reason posited by the been physically present at the place of the crime or its
appellant is too chimerical. Prudencia does not need the immediate vicinity at the time of its commission.62 In People v.
appellant, much less his testimony. She could have charged Bracamonte,63 we said
Romeo Alinas of rape with dispatch if he, not the appellant,
was the culprit. She did not do so.
Alibi, the plea of having been elsewhere than at the
scene of the crime at the time of the commission of
the felony, is a plausible excuse for the accused. Let
there be no mistake about it. Contrary to the common SO ORDERED.
notion, alibi is in fact a good defense. But to be valid
for purposes of exoneration from a criminal charge,
the defense of alibi must be such that it would have
been physically impossible for the person charged
with the crime to be at the locus criminis at the time of [G.R. No. 142740. August 6, 2003]
its commission, the reason being that no person can
be in two places at the same time. The excuse must PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
be so airtight that it would admit of no exception.
vs. ROBERTO TAMPOS Y AGUSTIN, accused-
Where there is the least possibility of accuseds
presence at the crime scene, the alibi will not hold appellant.
water.64
DECISION
The trial court correctly convicted the appellant of rape and
sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. QUISUMBING, J.:
Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section
11 of Republic Act No. 765965 reads:
On appeal is the decision[1] dated January 3, 2000 of the
Art. 335. When and how rape is committed. Rape is Regional Trial Court of Davao City, Branch 17, in Criminal
committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman Case No. 42,631-99. Appellant ROBERTO TAMPOS Y
under any of the following circumstances. AGUSTIN was convicted of statutory rape and sentenced to
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
1. By using force or intimidation;
Appellant was charged in an information [2] containing the
2. When the woman is deprived of reason or following allegations:
otherwise unconscious; and
The undersigned, at the instance of the offended party HAPPYLEN
3. When the woman is under twelve years of ORTEGA Y RIOS, whose affidavit hereto attached and form part of
age or is demented.
this Information accuses the above-named accused of the crime of
STATUTORY RAPE, under Art. 335, Par. 3 of the Revised Penal
The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion Code in relation to R.A. 7610 and R.A. 7659 and R.A. 8313 it being a
perpetua.
heinous offense, committed as follows:

The trial court is mandated to impose the penalty of reclusion


perpetua regardless of any attendant generic aggravating That on or about February 18, 1999, in the City of Davao,
circumstance as provided for in Article 63 of the Revised Penal Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
Code. above-mentioned accused, by means of force and intimidation, did
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal
Nevertheless, generic aggravating circumstances may be knowledge with the complainant HAPPYLEN ORTEGA Y RIOS,
appreciated as basis for an award of exemplary damages, in who is six (6) years old, against her will.
line with prevailing case law.66 In this case, the aggravating
circumstance of dwelling is attendant because the appellant
raped the victim in her house.67 Hence, the victim is entitled to CONTRARY TO LAW.
an award of exemplary damages.
Assisted by counsel on arraignment, appellant pleaded
While the trial court correctly awarded moral damages in the not guilty to the charge. At the trial, the prosecution presented
amount of P50,000, it failed to award civil indemnity to the five witnesses, namely private complainant Happylen Ortega,
victim. The award of civil indemnity ex delicto of P50,000 to a her mother Lady Lewin Ortega, security guard George
rape victim is mandatory upon the finding of rape.68 Civil Amigable, Ms. Benaranda V. Orosco, and Dr. Samuel Cruz.
indemnity is distinct from and must not be denominated as
moral damages, which are based on different jural
foundations.69 The victim is entitled to P25,000 as exemplary Complainant HAPPYLEN[3] ORTEGA testified[4] that on
damages.70 February 18, 1999, while on her way to the house of an Uncle
George, she noticed appellant Roberto Tampos staring at her.
The trial courts award of P10,000 as actual damages should She knew Tampos and even knew where he lived. [5] Appellant
be deleted for lack of factual basis. To seek recovery of actual suddenly pulled her by the right wrist and, using his two hands,
damages, it is necessary to prove the actual amount of loss lifted and carried her. Appellant brought her to an unlighted
with a reasonable degree of certainty, premised upon
area at the back of Almendras Gym where a junked
competent proof and on the best evidence obtainable by the
injured party.71 The Court can only grant such amount for ambulance[6] was parked. Appellant then forced complainant to
expenses if they are supported by receipts.72 lie on the plywood flooring and proceeded to remove her short
pants. She was not wearing any panty at that time. Appellant
IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, the Decision of the then removed his own short pants and brief. It was then that
Regional Trial Court of Malaybalay City, Branch 9, convicting she was raped.[7] While placing himself on top of Happylen,
appellant Florencio Cadampog guilty beyond reasonable doubt appellants erect penis was placed in her vagina. Complainant
of rape and sentencing him to reclusion illustrated this by thrusting her right forefinger towards a circle
perpetua is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. The appellant is formed by the fingers of her other hand.[8]
directed to pay the victim Prudencia Lasara the amount
of P50,000 as civil indemnity; P50,000 as moral damages;
and, P25,000 as exemplary damages. The award of P10,000 According to Happylen, appellant covered her mouth to
as actual damages is deleted for lack of proof thereof. prevent her from shouting. He warned her not to tell her
parents about what he did, otherwise, appellant would kill her.
[9]
Appellant then stood up to urinate and it was then that the home. When she returned to the gym, appellant was already
guard on duty at the Almendras gym apprehended him. At first, being held by the security guard and surrounded by many
Happylen did not tell her mother about what happened but people. It was only then that she saw Happylen.
eventually had to since her Auntie Betty and two of the latters
children saw her and they had already related the incident to Dr. SAMUEL CRUZ[30] testified that he conducted the
her mother. Her mother accompanied her to the police where physical/medical examination of complainant on February 19,
she executed an affidavit detailing what had happened. They 1999 or a day after the incident. His findings were reduced to
also went to the doctor where Happylen submitted herself to a writing as follows:
medical examination.
GENITAL EXAMINATION
During cross-examination, complainant testified that
appellants penis did not penetrate her organ.[10] On re-direct, Pubic hair, no growth. Labia majora and minora, gaping. Fourchette,
however, she said that there was actual contact of the penis tense. Vestibule, pinkish, smooth. Hymen, thick, tall, intact. Hymenal
and her vagina.[11] When asked to point to the part of her body orifice, annular, 0.5 cm. in diameter. Vaginal walls and rugosities,
that was touched by the penis, complainant pointed to a part a cant be reached by examining finger.
little above the vagina.

CONCLUSIONS:
On query by the court, however, Happylen clarified that
appellants organ did not pass her vagina but only its lower
1.) No evident sign of extragenital physical injuries noted on the body
portion. She stated that it was not on the middle but on the
of the subject at the time of examination.
lower portion or on the lower tip of the vagina.[12]

2.) Hymen, intact and its orifice, small as to preclude complete


GEORGE AMIGABLE[13] was the security guard on duty
penetration by an average-sized male organ in erection without
at the Almendras Gym when the incident occurred. He testified
causing hymenal injury.
that on February 18, 1999, at past 7:00 p.m., while he was
roving around the compound of Almendras Gym, two women
reported to him that a child was being raped in the junked REMARKS: Semenology: Positive for Spermatozoa[31]
ambulance. He rushed to said place and found appellant and
complainant both standing up. The witness saw appellant According to Dr. Cruz, his findings indicated that no male
putting his shirt on.[14] He then asked the appellant and the organ had penetrated the childs vagina, otherwise, hymenal
child their names which they promptly gave him. The girl lacerations would have been present.[32] However, he stated
appeared to be normal but then she cried when she told him that this would not negate the possibility of partial penetration
that appellant had raped her.[15] He held appellant at once, to or of contact between the penis and the vagina. Further, Dr.
prevent him from running away. The other security guard on Cruz testified that he took a sample from the opening of the
duty assisted him. He turned over custody of appellant to PO3 vagina by dabbing a cotton swab therein. Upon laboratory
Romeo Autor,[16] a policeman living nearby. Thereafter, the girls examination[33] of the sample conducted by a medical
parents arrived. technologist, it was found to be positive for spermatozoa.

Complainants mother, LADY The lone testimony of the appellant was presented in his
LEWIN[17] ORTEGA[18] testified that her daughter was only six defense.
years and nine months at the time of the incident. She
presented Happylens Birth Certificate,[19] indicating that the
child was born on July 4, 1992. Mrs. Ortega knew appellant
because he had been a neighbor for three months. [20] The
children in the area were likewise familiar with appellant since
he used to hang out in the vicinity of the chapel where the
children usually played.[21]

A witness told Mrs. Ortega about the rape. Later on,


Happylen also told her about it.[22] The child was crying while
relating to her what she suffered at the hands of appellant.
[23]
Mrs. Ortega then assisted her daughter in filing a complaint
with the police and accompanied her to the doctor for physical
examination.

BENARANDA[24] V. OROSCO[25] also testified for the


prosecution. On the date and time in question, she was asked
by one Beatriz[26] Danuco to accompany the latter to the
Almendras Gym. Betty said her son Marvin told her there was
a little girl at the gym and a man was doing something bad to
her.[27] Upon reaching the back of the gym, and from a distance
of about 4-5 meters, they saw appellant Roberto Tampos. The
witness demonstrated how appellant was bending up and
down.[28] She did not actually see the child at that time because
it was dark.[29]Thereafter, a security guard arrived and she went
ROBERTO TAMPOS[34] testified that he did not know AS TO THE TESTIMONY OF THE OTHER
complainants name, but he recognized her only by face. He WITNESSES PRESENTED BY THE
admitted that he was with complainant at around 6:00 to 7:00 PROSECUTION. [42]
p.m. of February 18, 1999. [35] He saw her playing on the road
leading to the back of Almendras Gym at around 6:00 p.m., More specifically, the issues are: (1) whether appellant
while he was on his way to the house of his foreman.[36] He had carnal knowledge of complainant; and (2) whether the
said he was a bit drunk at the time.[37] He brought her to the penalty imposed on appellant is appropriate.
back of Almendras
Gym, made her sit on a plywood near the junk vehicle and gav Appellant is charged of STATUTORY RAPE under
e her P1.00.[38] People were passing by at the time. He placed paragraph 3 of Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code. The two
the girl on his lap and in the process touched her side. He elements of statutory rape are: (1) that the accused had carnal
admitted that he intended to touch the girl and then knowledge of a woman; and (2) that the woman is below 12
masturbate, which was what actually happened. He slipped his years of age.[43] Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code is now
penis out at the side of his brief and shorts. Appellant denied in Article 266-A, par. 1-d, in view of the amendments
removing Happylens shorts but said he only lowered them. introduced by R.A. 8353. Statutory rape is committed by
[39]
He then saw the girls vagina but denied that he ever having carnal knowledge of a woman under par. d, when the
touched it. He did not place himself on top of the girl when he offended party is under 12 years of age.
masturbated. He only knelt beside her while Happylen lay on
the plywood. He touched the girls thigh but not her private
In this case, the victims age is undisputed. She is below
parts. As he was ejaculating, he actually touched Happylens
12 years old. Her Birth Certificate shows that she was born on
hips. He directed his semen above the hips of the girl.
[40] July 4, 1992. Thus, on February 18, 1999, Happylen was
Nothing more happened after that. He then left the girl
exactly six (6) years, seven (7) months and fourteen (14) days
behind and went home. However, he was immediately
old. Her mother confirmed this in open court. Hence, the issue
apprehended by the security guard of Almendras Gym, brought
is whether there is sufficient evidence to prove carnal
to the guards office, and taken to the barangay captain.
knowledge between appellant and Happylen beyond
reasonable doubt.
After trial, the RTC rendered its assailed decision, thus:

Appellant submits that, assuming arguendo that


WHEREFORE, finding the evidence of the prosecution more than Happylens testimony were true, he could not be convicted of
sufficient to prove the guilt of accused beyond reasonable doubt of rape but only acts of lasciviousness. He insists that there was
the offense charged, accused ROBERTO TAMPOS is sentenced to no penetration of the vagina. He points out that the medical
suffer a penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA and to pay the findings show that the hymen was intact and, had there been
additional amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages to Lady Lewin penetration, hymenal lacerations would have been present.
Ortega, another amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity together Appellant contends that the acts described do not constitute
with all accessory penalties as provided for by law. (PP vs. Romeo carnal knowledge as the essential element of rape. He sticks to
Ambray y Luterio GR 127177 promulgated on February 25, 1999; PP his claim that he merely masturbated. He adds that he only
vs. Melanio Bolatete y Melon GR 127570 promulgated on February held on to the hips of complainant at that time, without touching
25, 1999). her private parts.

SO ORDERED.[41] For the State, the Office of the Solicitor General argues
for the affirmation of the trial courts judgment finding appellant
Aggrieved, appellant interposed the present appeal, with guilty of rape. However, the OSG recommends that the penalty
the following assignment of errors: of death be imposed on appellant instead of reclusion
perpetua only.
I
Considering the evidence on record, we are one with the
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THE trial court in giving credence to the testimonies of the
ACCUSED GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE complainant and the other prosecution witnesses. The trial
DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF RAPE courts assessment of the credibility of witnesses is entitled to
NOTWITHSTANDING THE TESTIMONY OF great respect on appeal, for it had the opportunity to closely
THE CHILD HERSELF THAT THE ACCUSED observe the witnesses demeanor and deportment on the
PENIS (sic) DID NOT GO INSIDE HER VAGINA witness stand.[44] The trial court found that the complainant
BUT MERELY ON HER NAVEL, ABOVE HER acted without malice in reporting the alleged abuses of
VAGINA AND THE LOWER PORTION OF HER accused on her person. In contrast, according to the trial court,
VAGINA. appellants unsubstantiated and self-serving denial could not
hold up against the positive declaration and frank manner by
II which the victim recounted her ordeal. [45] A careful scrutiny of
the records leads us to the same conclusion, that the
prosecution witnesses and their testimonies are logical and
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT GIVING
more credible than that of the defense. We have no hesitation
CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONY OF
in rejecting the testimony of the appellant for being less than
ACCUSED-APPELLANT THAT HE MERELY
candid and truthful.
MASTURBATED AND THIS FACT IS
CONSISTENT WITH THE MEDICAL FINDINGS
ON THE PHYSICAL EXAMINATION OF THE Instructive is complainants testimony, which we find worth
GIRL RIGHT AFTER THE INCIDENT AS WELL excerpting, to detail what appellant did to her:
DIRECT EXAMINATION xxx

xxx RE-DIRECT

Q: Now, Hapilyn Ortega, tell the court, how did he Q: Hapilyn Ortega, you said the organ of the
rape you? accused did not penetrate your organ, do you
mean to say that there was an actual contact
A: He placed his organ to me. (witness of the penis in your vagina?
demonstrating her right forefinger thrusting it
towards the circle of her other finger as if A: Yes, sir.
penetrating inside).
xxx
Q: What was the position of the accused when he
inserted his penis to your private part? RE-CROSS

A: His penis erected. Q: Can you point out to this court, what portion is
that which was touched by the penis of the
Q: Precisely, was he on top of you at that time? accused?

A: Yes, sir. A: (witness pointing to her vagina).

xxx xxx

Q: Going back to the testimony, that his penis (sic) COURT:


the accused inserted his penis to your vagina,
in the course of sexual contact made to you by Q: Hapilyn Ortega, you testified before, you are
the accused, what did you feel if any, coming pointing in your finger like this, is that correct?
from the penis of the accused?
A: Yes, sir.
A: I cried.
Q: You are referring to the one of your finger like
Q: The question is what did you observe if any, this, as the organ of the accused?
coming from the penis of the accused?
A: Yes, sir.
A: None.
Q: And the one you are forming in your finger a ring
xxx symbolizes your vagina?

CROSS EXAMINATION A: Yes, sir.

Q: You testified that earlier, that you were raped by Q: Now, when the accused raped you, is it that his
the accused by placing his organ to your organ passes to your vagina?
organ, is that correct?
A: No.
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Where is that part in your vagina here in your
Q: Was the penis of the accused able to penetrate circle that the penis of the accused was
your organ? pointed?

A: No, sir. A: To the lower portion.

Q: Now, when he (sic) accused removed your Q: It did not go inside here?
shortpants, what did the accused do with his
penis? A: Yes, not on the middle but on the lower portion.

A: He let it out. Q: Where in this vagina where the penis of accused


penetrated?
Q: Did he hold his penis? Did he push and pull it
with his hands? A: Lower portion.

A: No. Q: Only on the lower tip of the vagina?


A: Yes sir.[46] As we stated in People v. Ayo:[56]

From the foregoing, we resolve the crucial issue: Did the While it may be granted that penetration may not have been
acts described above constitute the essential requisite of accomplished as the girls hymen was shown to have remained intact
carnal knowledge in a case of rape? and the orifice too small to preclude full penetration, jurisprudence
recognizes that slight penetration of the labia by the male organ still
In People v. Lerio,[47] we stated: constitutes rape. It is sufficient that there be entrance of the male
organ within the labia of the pudendum. Absence of hymenal
In the context it is used in the Revised Penal Code, carnal knowledge, laceration does not disprove sexual abuse especially when the victim
unlike its ordinary connotation of sexual intercourse, does not is of tender age. Mere touching, no matter how slight, of the labia or
necessarily require that the vagina be penetrated or that the hymen be lips of the female organ by the male genital, even without rupture or
ruptured (6 WORDS AND PHRASES 273 citing Walker v. State, 273 laceration of the hymen, is sufficient to consummate rape.
S.W. 2d 707, 711, 197 Tenn. 452). The crime of rape is deemed
consummated even when the mans penis merely enters the labia or The presence of appellants spermatozoa in her genitalia,
lips of the female organ (People vs. Cabebe, G.R. No. 125910, May established by medical evidence, adds to the credibility of the
21, 1998) or, as once so said in a case, by the mere touching of the prosecutions stance that carnal knowledge did take place.
external genitalia by a penis capable of consummating the sexual act.
(People v. De la Pea, 233 SCRA 573 cited in People v. Castromero, Jurisprudence requires that, to be considered
280 SCRA 421.) consummated rape, an erect penis capable of
penetration[57] must have touched, at the very least, the area of
Appellants counsel, in his brief, admits that the foregoing the labia of the pudendum. In the present case, Happylen
testimony of Happylen clearly demonstrated that appellants testified that contact was made on the lower tip of her vagina. A
penis, indeed, touched the victims vagina.[48] However, he six-year- old girl might have difficulty pinpointing which part of
contends that, much like the case of People v. Campuhan, her vagina was actually touched. But Happylen had no such
[49]
the touching was merely an epidermal contact or a slight difficulty. Clearly, there was sexual contact, for spermatozoa
brush or a scrape of the penis on the external layer of the was found present in her vagina. The trial court is convinced as
victims vagina or the mons pubis. To bolster defense counsels we are that the lower tip of her vagina testified to by
claim that there was no penetration, he cites the result of the complainant as the point touched by appellants organ is the
medical examination that shows no extragenital injury and no vaginal opening or the area between the labia through which
hymenal lacerations. the semen (spermatozoa) traveled and therein found the
following day when the gynecological examination was
Complainant herself testified that there was no performed.
penetration of her organ. However, she indicated at least two
areas where the penis of the appellant touched her vagina: (1) Now, as to the imposable penalty in this case. The OSG
the one she pointed to above her vagina; and (2) the lower contends that the trial court erred in imposing on appellant the
portion or lower tip of the vagina. But even if we consider only penalty of reclusion perpetua. The OSG argues that the
the second spot, the lower portion or tip of her vagina, which offense committed is the heinous offense of child-rape, where
she categorically indicated during counsels examination and the victim is less than seven years old. Hence, the OSG
upon inquiry by the court, in our view, sexual contact has been recommends that the penalty should be death.
indubitably established. That appellants penis only touched the
lower tip of the victims vagina without any resulting external At the outset, we find that the appellant is being charged
genital injury or laceration of the hymen would not preclude a of STATUTORY RAPE as defined in Art. 335, Paragraph 3 of
finding of rape. the Revised Penal Code, as amended. This provision reads:

In several cases, we have held that rupture of the hymen Art. 335. When and how rape is committed. Rape is committed by
or vaginal lacerations are not necessary for rape to be having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following
consummated.[50] An intact hymen does not negate a finding circumstances:
that the victim was raped. To commit the crime of rape the
rupture of the hymen is not indispensable.[51] 1. By using force or intimidation;

Significantly, in a number of cases[52] we held that where 2. When the woman is deprived of reason or
penetration was not fully established, the Court had anchored otherwise unconscious; and
its conclusion that the rape was nevertheless committed on the
victim's testimony that she felt pain, or the medico-legal finding 3. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.
of discoloration in the inner lips of the vagina, or the labia
majora was already gaping with redness, or the hymenal tags
The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.[58]
were no longer visible.[53]

The phrase under twelve years of age makes the offense


Thus, contrary to appellants assertion, we are convinced
STATUTORY RAPE as well understood in our jurisdiction. It is
that appellants penis came in contact with complainants vagina
punishable by reclusion perpetua, a single indivisible penalty,
in a way much more intense than mere epidermal contact or a
under Art. 266-B, RPC, now. In our view, the constitutional right
slight brush or a scrape of the penis which the defense wants
of the accused to be informed of the charges against him
us to accept. The victim felt pain in her sexual organ; [54] the
would be violated if, as the OSG argues, we should convict him
doctor found both the labia majora and minora to be gaping.
[55] on the basis of a provision of law, R.A. 8353, the Anti-Rape
These, in our view, are external indicia of carnal knowledge.
Law of 1997, which imposes death. True, the information trial courts imposition of reclusion perpetua as the appropriate
mentions confusedly Art. 335 of the Revised Penal Code, in penalty on appellant. Prudence counsels us to avoid
relation to R.A. 7610, R.A. 7659 and R.A. 8313, it being a pronouncing a sentence of death where law and the evidence
heinous offense. Note that the information does not mention do not clearly and indubitably call for it.
R.A. 8353. The visible emphasis of the present charge, clearly,
is on STATUTORY RAPE, which the Prosecutor spelled in As to damages, civil indemnity of P50,000 and moral
capital letters. damages in the amount of P50,000 are also properly awarded
in favor of private complainant, on the ground that victims of
The Information first and foremost refers to the crime of rape suffer psychological and moral injuries sufficient to justify
rape defined in Paragraph 3 of Article 335 of the Revised Penal the award, without necessity of further proof.[63]
Code, now Article 266-A, where the woman is under twelve
years of age, which is statutory rape. It is this specific provision WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the Regional Trial
of the Code, favorable in this context to the appellant that we Court of Davao City, Branch 17, is AFFIRMED. Appellant
should apply. To convict an accused of a higher or more ROBERTO TAMPOS Y AGUSTIN is declared GUILTY of
serious offense than that specifically charged in the complaint statutory rape, and he is sentenced to RECLUSION
or information on which he is tried would be an outright PERPETUA with all its accessory penalties. The appellant is
violation of his basic rights.[59] It is well settled that an accused likewise ordered to pay private complainant, Happylen Ortega,
may only be convicted of a crime charged against him in the the sum of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) as civil
information or those necessarily included therein. [60] The indemnity and another FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS
information herein charging STATUTORY RAPE could not be (P50,000.00) as moral damages, together with the costs.
validly converted to a charge of CHILD-RAPE. The latter
charge constitutes a greater offense punishable by death, quite SO ORDERED.
distinct from statutory rape. Having been specifically arraigned
on the charge of STATUTORY RAPE, appellant could not after
trial be held to answer for child-rape. To do so would raise
infractions of due process and other guarantees in favor of
appellant, particularly his right to be informed, and not
misinformed, of the offense charged.
[G.R. No. 127128. August 15, 2003]
Moreover, the severity of death penalty, especially its
irreversible and final nature once carried out, makes the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. ROEL
decision-making process in capital offenses aptly subject to the MENDIGURIN Y CANLAS, appellant.
most exacting rules of procedure and evidence.[61] The OSGs
prayer to increase appellants culpability to a capital offense DECISION
cannot, in our view, be granted now without also fracturing our
present Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. For now, in Rule AZCUNA, J.:
110 made effective on December 1, 2000,[62] we find strict
requirements for the State Prosecutor to observe faithfully,
Appellant Roel Mendigurin challenges the decision[1] of
thus:
the Regional Trial Court of Malabon, Metro Manila, Branch 74,
convicting him of rape and sentencing him to suffer the penalty
Sec. 8. Designation of the offense. The complaint or information of reclusion perpetua and to pay P30,000 as moral damages.
shall state the designation of the offense given by the statute, aver the
acts or omissions constituting the offense, and specify its qualifying
The information under which appellant was charged
and aggravating circumstances. If there is no designation of the
states, as follows:
offense, reference shall be made to the section or subsection of the
statute punishing it.
That on or about the 15th day of June 1992, in Navotas, Metro Manila,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
Sec. 9. Cause of accusation. The acts or omissions complained of as
accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with
constituting the offense and the qualifying and aggravating
lewd design, have sexual intercourse with ELENA SEBASTIAN and
circumstances must be stated in ordinary and concise language and
successfully did so by employing force, threat and intimidation on
not necessarily in the language used in the statute but in terms
her person.
sufficient to enable a person of common understanding to know what
offense is being charged as well as its qualifying and aggravating
Contrary to law.[2]
circumstances and for the court to pronounce judgment.

In his arraignment on March 1, 1993, appellant, assisted


The prosecution must avoid ambiguity, vagueness or
by his counsel, pleaded not guilty[3] and trial thereafter ensued.
uncertainty as to what offense is being charged. The allegation
in the information states that the appellant is being charged
with the crime of STATUTORY RAPE, under Art. 335, Par. 3 of Appellants conviction was principally based on the
the Revised Penal Code. Mention of its relation to R.A. 7610, testimonies of complainant Elena Sebastian, her nephew Mark
R.A. 7659 and R.A. 8313 it being a heinous offense... need not Figueroa who allegedly witnessed the incident, and Dr. Louella
confuse us. It should not now appear that alternative offenses Nario of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). Also
are charged, which could void the information. To forestall that testifying for the prosecution on peripheral matters were the
eventuality, the charge should be read as referring to statutory elder sister of complainant, Edna Figueroa, and Dr. Remedios
rape and no other kind. Given that charge, we agree with the Puentespina.
Complainant Elena Sebastian, who was 19 years old on Dr. Louella Nario, the NBI Medico-Legal Officer who
the date of the alleged rape, is a native of Pampanga. After her examined complainant, confirmed in her testimony[7] her
elementary education, she moved in with her elder sister Edna findings as stated in Living Case Report No. MG-92-
Figueroa to the latters residence in 217 Gov. Pascual, Sipac, 858[8] which showed a healed deep laceration in complainants
Navotas, Metro Manila. Edna Figueroa is married to Salvador hymen. She further opined that the laceration could have been
Figueroa, who happens to be the brother of Daisy Mendigurin, effected three to four months before October 4, 1992, the date
wife of appellant herein. Appellants house is adjacent to the of the examination.
Figueroas. In fact the two houses are separated only by a
concrete wall. The prosecution also presented testimonial evidence to
support complainants claim that it was common for her to lose
In her testimony,[4] complainant narrated that on June 15, consciousness whenever she feels afraid. Edna
1992, she woke up at 5:00 a.m. to prepare breakfast for her Figueroa testified[9] that sometime in 1991, complainant fell
brother-in-law and his two children, who were then sleeping unconscious when she scolded the latter. In corroboration, Dr.
upstairs. As she unlocked the kitchen door leading outside to Remedios Puentespina testified[10] on the medical history of
throw out water from the rice pot, appellant suddenly pushed complainant, who had consulted her on three occasions since
the door and barged in. To her surprise, appellant locked the 1991. She stated that complainants frequent complaint since
door, and embraced and kissed her. Startled by appellants the first consultation was the latters tendency to lose
sudden attack, she fell unconscious. When she regained consciousness whenever she felt emotional stress. She
consciousness, she felt pain in her abdomen and noticed blood testified, however, that based on the results of the
in her private part. At that moment, she saw appellant putting examinations previously conducted on complainant, she found
on his shorts with a smirk on his face. He threatened her not to nothing wrong with the latters heart.
report the incident to anyone, or else he would kill her sister.
He then left and complainant was unable to do anything but Appellant Roel Mendigurin and his wife, Daisy
weep. She went to the bathroom with a knife and attempted to Mendigurin, testified for the defense.
commit suicide. Her fear, however, prevented her from doing
so. Roel Mendigurin took the witness stand and admitted
engaging in sexual intercourse with complainant on June 15,
Complainant kept the incident to herself until September 1992. He, however, denied the rape charge and interposed the
26, 1992, when she was rushed to the hospital for slashing her defense that he and complainant were lovers. In his testimony,
wrist. It was then that she divulged to her relatives the ordeal [11]
he stated that his work as a batilyo[12] required him to leave
she suffered at the hands of appellant. On October 22, 1992, the house before 7:00 p.m., and come home at past 3:00
she filed a complaint against appellant before the police a.m.He testified that from March until sometime in September,
authorities of Navotas, where she gave a written 1992, he secretly maintained a sexual affair with complainant,
statement[5] relating the June 15, 1992 incident. She was who lived just next door. He recalled that his first sexual
thereafter brought to the NBI for physical examination. intercourse with complainant was in the afternoon of March
1992 in the room of complainants elder sister. He testified that
She further testified that due to her heart ailment, it was it was on this occasion that he discovered that complainant
usual for her to lose consciousness whenever she felt was no longer a virgin. They had their sexual escapades
frightened, as in the past when her elder sister scolded her. On usually in the mornings, either in his house or in complainants
cross-examination, she said that at the time of the assault, she house, whenever his wife was at work.
was unable to cry for help to her relatives upstairs because she
was so surprised. She also stated that it took her a long time to He narrated a different version of the incident. He stated
report the matter to the authorities because of appellants threat that in the early morning of June 15, 1992, he arrived home
to her and her fear that everybody would know about it. from work and was allowed entry by complainant into her
sisters house. He walked into the kitchen, where they
To buttress complainants testimony, the prosecution also voluntarily engaged in sex. Complainants nephew, Mark
presented the testimony[6] of Mark Figueroa, later came down from upstairs and saw them in the
Figueroa (Mark), complainants nephew who also happens to act of intercourse. At this instance, appellant and complainant
be the godchild of appellant. He was then eleven years old at stood up. He went to the door, while complainant approached
the time of the incident. He declared that at around 5:30 a.m. her nephew. He, thereafter, went home. He said that contrary
of June 15, 1992, while descending the stairs, he saw to complainants claim, she never lost consciousness while they
appellant bare-buttocked on top of complainant on the kitchen were having sex. He also denied threatening Mark, asserting
floor. Appellant immediately stood up, approached him and told instead that it was complainant who talked to the child.
him not to tell anybody what he just witnessed. At that
instance, Mark also saw complainant get up to dress up. Out of To bolster his defense, he further testified that even after
fear, he ran back upstairs and thereafter kept silent about the the date of the alleged rape, he and complainant continued
incident. It was only after complainants confinement in the with their illicit sexual affair. In fact he recounted that on June
hospital that he volunteered to take the witness stand because 28, 1992, they again engaged in sex in the house of
he pitied his aunt. On cross-examination, he recounted that complainants parents in Apalit, Pampanga, where appellant
before going down the stairs, he heard a soft outcry and an stayed overnight on the occasion of the town fiesta. He alleged
angry voice, which prompted him to go down. He added that that complainants shame for having been caught by her
his aunt, upon getting up, went into the bathroom where he nephew, who later spread the word about their sexual
heard her crying. relations, must have moved her to accuse him of rape.
Daisy Mendigurin also testified[13] in defense of her III
husband, appellant herein. As a fish vendor, her usual routine
was to leave for work at 9:00 p.m., and to come home at 9:00 ASSUMING FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT
or 10:00 a.m. Most of the time, she was also away in the THAT ACCUSED WAS INDEED GUILTY, THE
afternoon to sell more fish in the market. Whenever she arrives TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE
home from work, she would often see her husband and ACCUSED BASED ON THE ALLEGATION
complainant talking and teasing each other, which caused her FOUND IN THE INFORMATION THAT RAPE
to suspect that they were having an affair. However, because WAS COMMITTED BY MEANS OF FORCE
she treated complainant as her sister, she kept silent and AND INTIMIDATION WHICH IS NOT FOUND
waited for proof to confirm her suspicion. Eventually, in ON THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED BY THE
September, as complainant was rushed to the hospital for PROSECUTION.[17]
having slashed her wrist, her husband talked to her and
admitted the affair. As a natural reaction, she got mad and lost It is constitutionally mandated that the accused be
control of herself in rage. accorded the presumption of innocence. The burden of proof
rests on the State to establish every circumstance which
In rebuttal, the prosecution recalled complainant to the proves his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.[18] This exacting
witness stand, and also presented a new witness, standard of proof acquires more relevance in rape charges
complainants father, Federico Sebastian. which are easy to make but hard to prove and harder still to
defend by the party accused who may be innocent. [19] Thus, we
Complainant Elena Sebastian in her testimony[14] on have exhorted courts to keep in mind settled principles in the
rebuttal denied appellants claim that she and appellant had an decision-making process: (1) to accuse a man of rape is easy
affair and that what occurred on June 15, 1992 was but to disprove it is difficult although the accused may be
consensual. She admitted that on June 28, 1992, appellant did innocent; (2) considering the nature of things, and that only two
stay overnight in her parents house in Pampanga, but denied persons are usually involved in the crime of rape, the testimony
that they had any sexual contact. She clarified that although of the complainant should be scrutinized with great caution; (3)
they both slept on the same floor of the house, they were about the evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own
ten feet apart from each other, in different rooms. At the time, merits and not be allowed to draw strength from the weakness
she did not have the strength to report the rape incident to her of the evidence of the defense.[20]
family because she was afraid of appellants threat.
On the other hand, it is the general rule that factual
Federico Sebastian testified[15] that on the night of June findings by the trial court deserve a high degree of respect and
28, 1992, while his daughter, his grandchildren and appellant will not be disturbed on appeal in the absence of any clear
were asleep on the second floor of their house in Pampanga, showing that it overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some
he went up to check on them and noticed nothing unusual. facts or circumstances of weight and substance which could
alter the result of the case. [21]
The trial court lent credence to the prosecutions version
of the incident. Observing that complainant appeared to be the In the present case, however, a careful review of the
Maria Clara type, it rejected appellants claim that the sexual evidence compels us to take exception to the aforesaid rule.
intercourse that occurred on June 15, 1992 was out of an illicit
affair. It concluded that the medico-legal finding that the We have repeatedly stressed that the resolution of a rape
hymenal laceration of the complainant was about four months case often hinges on the credibility of the victim. If her
old strongly negated appellants claim that they had had sexual testimony does not meet the test of credibility, the acquittal of
contact as early as March of 1992. It further found that the accused is inevitable.[22]
appellants act of sudden entry into the house and pushing the
victim to the door sufficed to be considered as an employment After thoroughly examining complainants testimony, along
of force, threat, and intimidation to consummate the rape.[16] with the other evidence at hand, we find glaring inconsistencies
therein which constrain us to entertain a reasonable doubt as
Hence, this appeal. to the guilt of appellant. As principal evidence, the prosecution
proffered the testimony of complainant, who attested that she
Appellant alleges the following errors: was raped while she was unconscious and that the only thing
she could remember upon regaining consciousness was
I seeing appellant putting on his shorts. Of equal significance is
Mark Figueroas testimony, which the prosecution presented as
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN an eyewitness account of the incident, and which, upon a
GIVING FAITH AND CREDENCE TO THE closer scrutiny, fails to corroborate complainants testimony.
TESTIMONY OF ELENA SEBASTIAN. Marks narration of what he saw that fateful morning of June 15,
1992 belies complainants claim that she was unconscious:

II
Q. You testified that sometime on June 15, 1992
between the hours of 5:00 to 6:00 a.m., when
THE TRIAL COURT LIKEWISE ERRED IN
you woke up and while descending the stairs
FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY
you saw your uncle, who happens to be your
BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE
godfather, on top of your Ate Lena is that
CRIME OF RAPE.
correct?
A. Yes sir. It is worth noting that Mark is related to both appellant and
complainant. Considering this and the fact that he was only
Q. Now, before you descended the stairs did you eleven years old at the time he witnessed the incident, we give
hear any outcry from downstairs coming from full weight to his testimony.
your Ate Lena?
Moreover, we cannot help but notice that complainants
A. Yes sir. testimony and affidavit failed to mention the presence of Mark
during the incident. When asked, she even denied knowledge
Q. You mean to say you heard your Ate Lena as to when her nephew woke up that morning.[25] In
making a loud outcry? comparison, except as to who approached and talked to the
child, appellants account on this point conforms with Marks
testimony.[26]
A. Little bit soft, sir.

In addition, complainants claim that she has a heart


Q. But why did you descend from your upper
ailment which caused her to faint under extreme emotional
house?
condition was unsupported by any medical finding. The
prosecution only presented the testimony of Dr. Puentespina,
A. Because it[]s as if I heard something, sir. who stated that the results of the two examinations conducted
on complainant both proved negative for any heart disorder.
Q. You heard murmur? She testified that she only prescribed medicines to calm her, as
she observed complainant to be frequently emotional each
A. No sir. time she consulted her.[27]

Q. You heard what, what more did you hear? Complainants failure promptly to report her agonizing
experience to the authorities, or at the very least to her family,
A. I heard an angry voice, sir. despite all the opportunities to do so, also seriously affects the
veracity of her narration.[28] She stated that it took her four
months before divulging the incident because she feared
Q. Do you hear the words being uttered by
appellants threat to kill her elder sister.[29] However, she
someone whom you heard?
admitted that she had many relatives living in the same
neighborhood where she resided.[30] She also admitted that just
A. None sir.
a week after the date of the alleged rape, she spent one week
in her familys home in Pampanga, away from the watchful
Q. When you saw your uncle atop your Ate Lena, eyes of appellant.[31] Considering that appellant was many
did you hear any outcry from your Ate Lena? kilometers away in Manila and the protection afforded by her
household, her life cannot be said to have been in danger
A. Yes sir. then. Furthermore, she kept silent and did not protest when
appellant slept overnight in their house on the same floor
Q. Was the cry loud? where she slept, while her parents slept downstairs.[32]

A. No sir. In view of the foregoing, we find the prosecutions


evidence insufficient to prove appellants guilt beyond
Q. And you testified that immediately your Ninong reasonable doubt.
stood up[,] is that correct?
And even assuming, for arguments sake, that the
A. Yes sir. evidence at hand suffices to prove the alleged rape, still,
conviction of appellant under the information filed herein
cannot stand.
Q. What if any did your Ate Lena do after your
Ninong stood up?
Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, the governing law
[23] in this case, provides that the crime of rape is committed by
A. She dressed up, sir.
having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the
following circumstances:
xxx xxx xxx

1. By using force or intimidation;


COURT:

2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise


When you saw your godfather, the accused unconscious; and
herein, on top of your Ate Lena, will you please
tell the Honorable Court whether at that time
3. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is
your Ate Lena was moving?
demented.

A. Yes sir.[24]
The information herein specifically alleged that appellant
succeeded in having sexual intercourse with the complainant
by employing force, threat, and intimidation, thus invoking As the prosecution failed to present evidence to
paragraph 1 of Article 355. It was also on this ground that substantiate the charge of rape through force, threat and
appellant was convicted by the trial court. After painstakingly intimidation, we are duty-bound to uphold appellants
searching through the records, however, we find no evidence innocence. It is an elementary rule in criminal procedure that
of force, threat, or intimidation used by appellant to an accused cannot be convicted of an offense unless it is
consummate the alleged rape. On the contrary, what we found clearly charged in the complaint or information. [36] If the
were complainants admissions that no such means attended prosecution in this case sought to convict appellant by proving
the sexual act: that complainant was violated while in a state of
unconsciousness, as provided under the 2nd paragraph of
Q. Now, it states here, that the accused did, then Article 355, the information should have stated so. We find,
and there will fully, unlawfully and feloniously, however, that the element of unconsciousness was not alleged
with lewd design, have sexual intercourse with much less specified in the information, which charged
Elena Sebastian and [successfully] did so by appellant for rape under the first circumstance. Hence, it
employing force, threat and intimidation with cannot be made the basis of conviction without violating
you, my question to you Miss Sebastian [is], appellants right to due process, in particular to be informed of
what kind of force was made to you by the the nature of the accusation against him.[37] We have ruled that
accused? this right is accorded by the Constitution so that the accused
can prepare an adequate defense against the charge against
A. None, Sir, he only pushed the door. him. Convicting him of a ground not alleged while he is
concentrating his defense against the ground alleged would
plainly be unfair and underhanded.[38]
Q. And what kind of threat [or] intimidation [was]
perpetrated or done to you by the accused?
The trial court, in holding for conviction, relied on
the praesumptio hominis that no young Filipina would cry rape
A. After he raped me, [he] told me that he would kill
if it were not true. However, its decision totally disregarded the
me if I complain to anybody.
paramount constitutional presumption that an accused is
deemed innocent until proven otherwise.[39] Where the
Q. But that threat or intimidation happened, evidence gives rise to two possibilities, one consistent with the
according to you, after you have been abused accused's innocence and the other indicative of his guilt, that
by the accused? which favors the accused should be properly considered.[40]

A. Yes, Sir.[33] WHEREFORE, the decision of the trial court in Criminal


Case No. 12501-MN is REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and
xxx xxx xxx appellant Roel Mendigurin y Canlas is hereby ACQUITTED on
the ground of reasonable doubt. He is ordered RELEASED
Q. You also testified on rebuttal that what happened forthwith from confinement, unless held for another cause. The
to you on June 15, 1992 was no[t] voluntary Director of the Bureau of Corrections is further ordered to
but by means of force and intimidation, my report to us, within five days from notice, his compliance with
question is, how were you forced and this decision.
intimidated by the accused?
Cost de oficio.
A. He told me that if I tell what happened to
anybody, he will kill my sister, sir. SO ORDERED.

Q. Is it not a fact that [those] utterances, according


to you, [were] made by the accused after you
woke up and found yourself to have been
molested by the accused in this case?
G.R. No. 137366 November 27, 2003
A. Yes sir.
People of the Philippines, appellee,
Q. So the intimidation happened after you found and vs.
discovered yourself to have been abused by Romeo Mole y Santos, appellant.
the accused in this case?
DECISION
A. Yes sir.[34]
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
As clearly shown from the foregoing, complainant herself
attested that no force was employed on her by appellant. The
On appeal is the Decision1 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati
threat and intimidation, on the other hand, were claimed to
City, Branch 143, finding appellant Romeo Mole y Santos guilty
have been used by appellant only after consummating the
of the crime of rape and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of
sexual act. This is not what is contemplated by Article 355 (1)
reclusion perpetua and to pay the victim P50,000.00 and to
of the Revised Penal Code. To convict under this mode, the
pay the costs.
accused must have used force or intimidation to compel
complainant into having sexual relations with him.[35]
The accusatory portion of the Information2 charged appellant a pungent liquid on Wilfredo and their three children. Appellant
as follows: also sprinkled the same liquid on Emerita, blew something on
her chest and, while looking at her eyes, mumbled as if in
That on or about the 13th day of April, 1997 in the City of prayer at which point Emerita instantly felt weak and dizzy.7
Makati, Philippines, a place within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with lewd Appellant then dragged Emerita to the kitchen, laid her on the
designs, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously floor and removed her underwear. She felt appellant, who was
have sexual intercourse with one EMERITA REYES Y naked from the waist down, lie on top of her. While she wanted
TAMAYO, against her will and consent. to resist she was too weak and dizzy and eventually lost
consciousness.8
On motion of the prosecution, the accusatory portion was later
amended to read: Before losing consciousness, however, Emerita felt something
heavy on her breast as appellant lay on top of her.9
That on or about the 13th day of April, 1997 in the City of
Makati, Philippines, a place within the jurisdiction of this When Emerita regained consciousness, appellant had left and
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with lewd her entire body, including her vagina, was aching. She was
designs, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously later to declare in the course of her testimony in court, when
have sexual intercourse with one EMERITA REYES Y asked why her vagina was aching, that appellant "raped" her.10
TAMAYO, against her will and consent, while dizzy or
otherwise unconscious. (Emphasis supplied.) The next morning, or on April 13, 1997, Emerita, without the
knowledge of her husband, reported her experience to the
Culled from the documentary and the testimonial evidence for police.11 Her husband, however, was informed by a neighbor
the prosecution consisting of the testimonies of the following that Emerita went to the police station, prompting him to follow
witnesses, to wit: private complainant Emerita Reyes her. On arrival at the police station, he was unable to talk to his
(Emerita); Aurea Villena, the Medico-Legal Officer from the wife, and it was only on her return home at around 3:00 or 4:00
National Bureau of Investigation; SPO4 Lilia R. Hogar, the p.m. of that day that Emerita related to him the incidents that
police investigator; and Wildredo Reyes, the husband of occurred the night before, albeit he could not remember if
Emerita, are the following: Emerita ever mentioned to him that she became unconscious,
because there have been a lot of things which then occupied
On April 11, 1997, the then 34-year old Emerita, her husband his mind.12
Wilfredo and their three children consulted appellant, Romeo
Mole, an albularyo (quack doctor), in the latters house, they On April 14, 1997, Emerita was physically examined by Dr.
having been experiencing itchiness all over their bodies. Aurea Villena who found multiple lacerations on her hymen
Appellant, diagnosing the Reyeses to be victims of kulam which are secondary to child birth13 and noted the following:
(witchcraft), asked for and was given P935.00 for the purchase
of 17 black candles which he needed to insulate them from the 1. No extragenital physical injuries noted on the body
spell. Appellant asked them to return the next day for of the subject at the time of the examination.
treatment.3
2. Hymen, reduced to myrtiformis.14
As advised, the Reyeses returned to appellants house the
next day, April 12, 1997. On appellants instructions, the At the witness stand, the doctor disclosed that the seminology
Reyeses removed their clothes upon which appellant examination conducted on Emerita yielded negative result, and
massaged their bodies one at a time with cotton dipped in oil.4 that there was no medical basis to conclude that she had been
subjected to sexual abuse.15
After the "treatment," the Reyeses repaired home,
accompanied by appellant who brought with him two black From the Final Investigation Report16 of SPO4 Lilia Hogar to
candles. Upon reaching the Reyeses house, appellant lit the whom the case was referred for investigation, the following
candles and placed one at the main door and another near the datum appears:
door of the kitchen. He then invited Emeritas husband Wilfredo
to drink gin while waiting for the candles to burn out. After three
xxx
shots, Wilfredo became dizzy and passed out. Appellant
thereupon brought Wilfredo to the only bedroom of the house
and blew something on his (Wilfredos) chest.5 07. Suspect ROMEO MOLE when apprised of his
constitutional rights admitted raping EMERITA and also told the
same admission to the PRESS people who interviewed him.
At about 11:00 p.m., appellant left the Reyeses residence after
asking for and receiving the amount of P350.00 representing
payment for his services.6 xxx

Emerita then went to sleep. At about 12:00 midnight, however, SPO4 Hogars testimony in court was dispensed with after the
she heard someone knock at the main door. Clad in a duster, prosecution stipulated that appellant was investigated and
she opened the door and saw appellant who was looking for "gave the statement to her."17
her youngest son, he saying that "the sorcerer will take and kill
him" and to save him (the son), appellant needed P2,500.00. Appellant on the other hand denied the accusation. He claims
Panicky and crying, Emerita immediately gave the said amount that it was his wife Adoracion Mole, not him, who treated
to appellant who thereafter went to the bedroom and sprinkled Emerita; that both Emerita and Wilfredo were awake when he
returned to their house on the night of April 13, 1997; that he A Yes, sir.
merely fell asleep on the Reyeses sofa in the living room; and
that when he awoke at around 8:00 the following morning, Q Prior [to] you[r] los[s of] consciousness, what was the
Wilfredo even offered him breakfast which he turned down as it accused doing [to] you that you could remember?
was already late. He, however, admitted that there is no reason
why Emerita would file a complaint for rape against him.18 A I just felt that there was something heavy on my breast, sir.

Appellants testimony was corroborated by his wife Adoracion xxx


Mole.19

Q What was the condition of your body when you regained


Giving weight to the testimony of Emerita and relying on consciousness?
Romeos verbal admission to SPO4 Hogar of having raped the
victim, as reflected in the aforementioned datum in the Final
A I felt pain all over my body, sir.
Investigation Report, the trial court convicted appellant of rape
by the assailed decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
Q What particular portion of your body was aching or suffering
from pain?
WHEREFORE, the Court finds Romeo Mole y Santos GUILTY
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape. Accordingly,
accused Romeo Mole y Santos is hereby sentenced to A My whole body and also my vagina, sir.
RECLUSION PERPETUA and to INDEMNIFY private
complainant Emerita Reyes y Tamayo in the amount of Q Do you know of any reason why your vagina is aching?
P50,000.00 and to pay the costs.20
A Yes, sir.
In his brief, appellant assigns the following errors to the trial
court: Q What was that?

1. . . . In deciding the case by mere confusion or A He raped me, sir.26 (Emphasis supplied)
supposition, and in failing to consider certain
unrebutted substantial matters of facts tending to On cross-examination, Emerita gave the following account:
show the non-occurrence or at least a doubtful
occurrence of rape.
ATTY. OLIVA

2. . . . In failing to apply the rule that in case of doubt,


Q You testified Madam Witness on direct examinatio[n] that the
the same must be resolved in favor of the accused.21
last time you were conscious that you felt that the accused was
on top of you, is that correct?
In rape cases, it is the primordial duty of the prosecution to
present its case with clarity and persuasion to the end that
A Yes, sir.1wphi1
conviction becomes the only logical and inevitable
conclusion.22
Q You also testified that you lost consciousness and that when
you regained consciousnes[s] the accused ha[d] left already,
And the credibility of the private complainant is of vital
am I right, Madam Witness?
importance for, in view of the peculiar nature of rape,
conviction or acquittal rests entirely upon her.23 It has thus
A Yes, sir.
become doctrine that the accused may be convicted even
solely on the basis of the victims testimony provided that the
testimony is clear, credible, convincing, unshaken by rigid Q Now, my question, Madam Witness, when did you lose your
cross-examination and unflawed by inconsistencies or consciousness?
contradictions in its material points.24
A When he was halfway [with] what he was doing to me, Sir.
Although the findings of trial courts are normally respected and
not disturbed on appeal,25 inconsistencies in the testimony of Q Are you referring to the . . .[m]ashing of your breast and
Emerita put serious doubts on her claim of rape, compelling kissing of your lips, Madam Witness?
this Court to reverse appellants conviction.
A Yes, Sir.
Thus, on direct examination, she related that appellant, who
was naked from waist down, lay on top of her after removing xxx
her underwear, whereupon she lost consciousness; and that
after she regained consciousness, her entire body, including Q Miss Witness, can you possibly tell the Honorabl[e] Court if
her vagina, was aching. She thus concluded that she was there was actual penetration of the sexual organ of the
raped: accused to you?

Q You mean Madam Witness that after your panty was WITNESS
removed and accused was able to l[ay] you down [o]n the floor
you lost consciousness and you dont remember anything?
A Yes, sir.
COURT When asked to clarify her statements, Emerita did not give
categorical answers:
Q Why do you know that there was [f]ull penetratio[n] Madam
Witness? ATTY. OLIVA

A Because Your Honor, when I regained consciousnes[s] and Q When the accus[ed] was holding your breast and kissing
he already left the house, I felt that my vagina was somewhat your lips, in the middle of that, you lost consciousness, Madam
forced and it was very painful, Sir. Witness?

xxx A I felt what he was doing to me but because my body was


very weak, I tried to move my head around so he could not kiss
Q Why do you know that he was able to have sexual me, Sir.30
intercourse with you?
xxx
WITNESS
COURT
A Because my organ was wet, Sir.27 (Emphasis supplied)
Q When [did] you know that your organ was wet?
When, also on during cross-examination, she was questioned
by the trial court, she gave the following statement: WITNESS

COURT A When he was gone already, Sir.

Q What was that thing that he did which you felt the accused COURT
was doing to you?
Q In other words, you only came to know tha[t] there was
WITNESS sexual intercourse after the accused has already left the
premises[,] is that correct?
A I felt that he put his sexual organ on top of my body, Sir.
WITNESS
COURT
A No, Your Honor, because when he dragged me, I already felt
Q On top of your body? weak and dizzy but I felt all those things that he did to
me.31 (Underscoring supplied)
[Q] Where did the accused plac[e] his sexual organ, Madam
Witness? Emeritas vacillating account of the incident failed to stand the
test of consistency. This Court is thus put on guard as to the
[WITNESS] veracity of her claim. For while minor inconsistencies do not
detract from the actual fact of rape,32 those in Emeritas
testimony may not be considered minor for they relate to the
[A] On my vagina, Sir.28 (Underscoring supplied)
fact of commission of the offense charged.

The foregoing testimony of Emerita prompted the defense to


A woman raped in a state of unconsciousness would not be
propound the following question which elicited the following
able to narrate her defloration during that state, and her
answer:
violation may be proved indirectly by other
evidence.33 Whereas, a woman fully conscious at the time of
ATTY. OLIVA rape need only testify in a categorical, straightforward,
spontaneous and frank manner, and remain consistent in her
Q Madam Witness, you made several inconsistent statements testimony to convict the accused.34
during your direct examination that you lost consciousness and
that you learned that you were raped after you regained While this Court has held in numerous rape cases that no
consciousness. Likewise, when asked by this Honorable Court person would subject herself to a rape trial given the attendant
when you came to know that you were raped, you also said embarrassment of a medical examination and the stigma of a
that you learned that you were raped because when you woke sexual assault unless the accusation be true,35 it is gathered
up, your sexual organ was painful and when you were finally from those cases that the victim was able to clearly and
asked when for the first time you c[a]me to know that you were categorically impute the crime on the offender.
raped, you changed your testimony that you felt that the
accused inserted his sex organ into your vagina, which is
In the case at bar, save for Emeritas inconsistent testimonies
which now, Madam Witness?
as noted above, there is no other evidence showing that
appellant did have carnal knowledge with her.
A I lost consciousness after he was finished having sexual
intercourse with me, Sir.29 (Emphasis and underscoring
The testimony of Wilfredo merely dwelt on events that occurred
supplied)
before and after the alleged rape, while the result of the
medical examination showed no physical manifestations of It is basic that the prosecution evidence must stand or fall on its
sexual intercourse. While Dr. Villena did not rule out the own weight and cannot draw strength from the weakness of the
possibility of sexual intercourse, her testimony could hardly be defense.[1] The prosecution must demonstrate the culpability of the
characterized as consistent and unwavering, having first ruled accused beyond reasonable doubt for accusation is not synonymous
out the possibility of sexual intercourse, only to later retract with guilt. Only when the requisite quantum of proof necessary for
upon being scrutinized by the trial court.36 conviction exists that the liberty, or even the life, of an accused may
be declared forfeit. Correlatively, the judge must examine with
As for the trial courts reliance on the investigative report- extreme caution the evidence for the state to determine its
Exhibit "E" of SPO4 Lilia Hogar in this wise: sufficiency. If the evidence fails to live up to the moral conviction of
guilt the verdict must be one of acquittal, for in favor of the accused
Incidentally, the defense did not interpose any objection to the stands the constitutional presumption of innocence; so it must be in
admission of Exhibit "E", the Investigation report. SPO4 Lilia this prosecution for rape.
Hogar, the Investigator-on-Case, stated in the said report that
ROMEO, when interviewed by the media people admitted Jane Vasquez, the eight (8) year old complaining witness, could
raping EMERITA,37 not state the month and year she was supposedly abused by her
cousin Edwin Ladrillo. She could narrate however that one afternoon
the same report showing that appellant admitted having raped she went to the house of accused-appellant in Abanico, Puerto
Emerita is inadmissible in evidence. The admission was not in Princesa City, which was only five (5) meters away from where she
writing and there is no showing that appellant was assisted by lived. There he asked her to pick lice off his head; she complied. But
a competent and independent counsel of his choice when he later, he told her to lie down in bed as he stripped himself naked. He
made such statement in accordance with Section 2 (d)38 of removed her panty and placed himself on top of her. Then he inserted
Republic Act 743839 in relation to Section 12 (1) Article III of the his penis into her vagina. He covered her mouth with his hand to
Constitution.40 prevent her from shouting as he started gyrating his buttocks. He
succeeded in raping her four (4) times on the same day as every time
his penis softened up after each intercourse he would make it hard
The failure of the prosecution to establish appellant Moles guilt
again and insert it back into her vagina. After successively satisfying
for rape notwithstanding, this Court finds him liable for the
his lust accused-appellant Edwin Ladrillo would threaten to "send her
lesser crime of acts of lasciviousness. The records clearly
to the police" if she would report the incident to anyone. [2]
show that appellant lay on top of the victim, mashed her
breasts and kissed her lips, acts from which appellants lewd
design was evident. Although the information filed was for the Sometime in 1994 Salvacion Ladrillo Vasquez, mother of Jane,
crime of rape, appellant can be convicted of acts of noticed that Jane had difficulty urinating and kept pressing her
lasciviousness because the latter is necessarily included in abdomen and holding her private part. As she writhed in discomfort
rape.41 she approached her mother and said, "Ma, hindi ka maniwala sa akin
na yung uten ni Kuya Edwin ipinasok sa kiki ko (Ma, you wont
believe that Kuya Edwin inserted his penis into my vagina).
There being no aggravating or mitigating circumstances [3]
Perturbed by her daughters revelation, Salvacion immediately
alleged in the information or proven during trial, the penalty
brought her to their church, the Iglesia ni Kristo, where she was
of prision correccional42 shall be imposed in its medium period.
advised to report to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). At
Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, appellant must
the NBI Salvacion was referred to the Puerto Princesa Provincial
suffer the penalty of Six (6) Months of arresto mayor as
Hospital so that Jane could be physically examined.
minimum, to Four (4) Years and Two (2) Months of prision
correccional, as maximum.
Dr. Danny O. Aquino, the examining physician, reported in his
WHEREFORE, the July 15, 1998 Decision of the Regional Trial medico-legal certificate that Jane had a "non-intact hymen." [4] He
Court of Makati City is hereby MODIFIED. Appellant Romeo later testified that a "non-intact hymen" could mean either of two (2)
Mole y Santos is CONVICTED of the crime of ACTS OF things: it could be congenital, i.e., the victim was born without a fully
LASCIVIOUSNESS and is sentenced to suffer the developed hymen,[5] or it could be caused by a trauma, as when a
indeterminate penalty of Six (6) Months of arresto mayor as male organ penetrated the private organ of the victim. [6]
minimum, to Four (4) Years and Two (2) Months of prision
correccional as maximum, and to pay the costs of suit. On 3 February 1995 Jane Vasquez with the assistance of her
mother Salvacion Ladrillo Vasquez filed a criminal complaint against
SO ORDERED. accused-appellant Edwin Ladrillo.

The defense is anchored on alibi and denial. Accused-appellant


claims that in 1992, the year he allegedly raped Jane as stated in the
Information, he was still residing in Liberty, Puerto Princesa City,
and did not even know Jane or her mother at that time. That it was
only in 1993, according to him, that he moved to Abanico, Puerto
[G.R. No. 124342. December 8, 1999] Princesa City. To corroborate his testimony, the defense presented as
witnesses, Wilfredo Rojas and Teodoro Aguilar, both of whom were
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. EDWIN neighbors of accused-appellant in Liberty, Puerto Princesa City. They
LADRILLO, accused-appellant. testified that in 1992 accused-appellant was still their neighbor in
Liberty and it was only in 1993 when accused-appellant and his
DECISION family moved to Abanico.[7]

BELLOSILLO, J.:
Edito Ladrillo, accused-appellants father, testified that his as to time to inform accused-appellant of the date on which the
family lived in Abanico for the first time only in 1993; that when he criminal act is alleged to have been committed.
and his sister Salvacion, mother of Jane, had a quarrel, he forbade his
son Edwin from attending church services with Salvacion at The phrase "on or about the year 1992" encompasses not only
the Iglesia ni Kristo, which caused his sister to be all the more angry the twelve (12 ) months of 1992 but includes the years prior and
with him; and, the instant criminal case was a means employed by his subsequent to 1992, e.g., 1991 and 1993, for which accused-appellant
sister to exact revenge on him for their past disagreements. [8] has to virtually account for his whereabouts. Hence, the failure of the
prosecution to allege with particularity the date of the commission of
The trial court found accused-appellant Edwin Ladrillo guilty the offense and, worse, its failure to prove during the trial the date of
as charged, sentenced him to reclusion perpetua, and ordered him to the commission of the offense as alleged in the Information, deprived
indemnify Jane Vasquez the amount of P100,000.00, and to pay the accused-appellant of his right to intelligently prepare for his defense
costs.[9] Thus, the court rationalized - and convincingly refute the charges against him. At most, accused-
appellant could only establish his place of residence in the year
The crux of accuseds defense is that he was not in the place of the indicated in the Information and not for the particular time he
alleged rape in Abanico, Puerto Princesa City when this allegedly supposedly committed the rape.
happened. He denied committing the crime of rape against the young
girl, Jane Vasquez. After having carefully examined and calibrated In United States v. Dichao,[12] decided by this Court as early as
the evidence on record, the Court is convinced more than ever that 1914, which may be applied by analogy in the instant case, the
the accused Edwin Ladrillo indeed repeatedly raped or sexually Information alleged that the rape was committed "on or about and
abused Jane Vasquez, a girl who was then only five (5) years during the interval between October 1910 and August 1912. This
old. This Court has no reason to doubt the veracity of the testimony Court sustained the dismissal of the complaint on a demurrer filed by
of Jane Vasquez given the straightforward clarity and simplicity with the accused, holding that -
which it was made. It is highly improbable that a young, 8-year old
girl would falsely testify that her own cousin, the accused herein, In the case before us the statement of the time when the crime is
raped her. She told her mother: Ma, hindi ka maniwala sa akin na alleged to have been committed is so indefinite and uncertain that it
ang utin ni Kuya Edwin ay ipinasok sa kiki ko. Jane also described does not give the accused the information required by law. To allege
that after the intercourse and as the penis of the accused softened, in an information that the accused committed rape on a certain girl
the latter would make it hard again and then inserted it again into between October 1910 and August 1912, is too indefinite to give the
her vagina and this was made four (4) times. Janes testimony has all accused an opportunity to prepare for his defense, and that
the characteristics of truth and is entitled to great weight and indefiniteness is not cured by setting out the date when a child was
credence. The Court cannot believe that the very young victim is born as a result of such crime. Section 7 of the Code of Criminal
capable of fabricating her story of defloration. Procedure does not warrant such pleading. Its purpose is to permit
the allegation of a date of the commission of the crime as near to the
Accused-appellant contends in this appeal that the trial court actual date as the information of the prosecuting officer will permit,
erred in: (a) not giving credence to his defense that at the supposed and when that has been done any date may be proved which does not
time of the commission of the offense he was not yet residing in surprise and substantially prejudice the defense. It does not authorize
Abanico, Puerto Princesa City, and did not know the complainant nor the total omission of a date or such an indefinite allegation with
her family; (b) finding him guilty of rape considering that the reference thereto as amounts to the same thing.
prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt; (c) not
finding that the prosecution failed to sufficiently establish with Moreover, there are discernible defects in the complaining
particularity the date of commission of the offense; (d) giving great witness testimony that militates heavily against its being accorded the
weight and credence to the testimony of the complainant; and, (e) full credit it was given by the trial court. Considered independently,
failing to consider the mitigating circumstance of minority in the defects might not suffice to overturn the trial courts judgment of
imposing the penalty of reclusion perpetua, assuming for the sake of conviction, but assessed and weighed in its totality, and in relation to
argument that indeed the crime of rape was committed. [10] the testimonies of other witnesses, as logic and fairness dictate, they
exert a powerful compulsion towards reversal of the assailed
A careful study of the records sustains accused-appellants plea judgment.
that the verdict should have been one of acquittal.
First, complainant had absolutely no recollection of the precise
Preliminarily, the crime was alleged in the Information to have date she was sexually assaulted by accused-appellant. In her
been committed "on or about the year 1992" thus - testimony regarding the time of the commission of the offense she
declared -
That on or about the year 1992 at Abanico Road, Brgy. San Pedro,
Puerto Princesa City x x x x the said accused, with the use of force Q: This sexual assault that you described when your Kuya Edwin
and intimidation did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and placed himself on top of you and had inserted his penis on
feloniously have carnal knowledge with the undersigned five (5) (sic) your private part, when if you could remember, was
years of age, minor, against her will and without her consent. (sic) this happened, that (sic) month?

The peculiar designation of time in the Information clearly A: I forgot, your Honor.
violates Sec. 11, Rule 110, of the Rules Court which requires that the
time of the commission of the offense must be alleged as near to the Q: Even the year you cannot remember?
actual date as the information or complaint will permit. More
importantly, it runs afoul of the constitutionally protected right of the A: I cannot recall.
accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation
against him.[11]The Information is not sufficiently explicit and certain
Q: But is there any incident that you can recall that may draw to a COURT: Wait a minute. (To witness) How many times did your
conclusion that this happened in 1992 or thereafter? Kuya Edwin placed (sic) himself on top of you and inserted
(sic) his penis to (sic) your private organ?
A: None, your Honor.
A: Four (4) times, your Honor.
Q: About the transfer of Edwin from Abanico to Wescom Road?
COURT: You demonstrate that with your fingers.
A: I dont know, your Honor (underscoring supplied).[13]
A: Like this, your Honor (witness raised her four (4) fingers).
[14]
In People v. Clemente Ulpindo we rejected the complaining
witness testimony as inherently improbable for her failure to testify COURT: Fiscal, did you charge the accused four (4) times?
on the date of the supposed rape which according to her she could not
remember, and acquitted the accused. We held in part - PROS. FERNANDEZ: No, your Honor because we cannot
provide the dates (underscoring supplied).[18]
While it may be conceded that a rape victim cannot be expected to
keep an accurate account of her traumatic experience, and while Indeed, the failure of the prosecution to prove its allegation in
Reginas answer that accused-appellant went on top of her, and that the Information that accused-appellant raped complainant in 1992
she continuously shouted and cried for five (5) minutes may have manifestly shows that the date of the commission of the offense as
really meant that accused-appellant had carnal knowledge of her for alleged was based merely on speculation and conjecture, and a
five (5) minutes despite her shouts and cries, what renders Reginas conviction anchored mainly thereon cannot satisfy the quantum of
story inherently improbable is that she could not remember the month evidence required for a pronouncement of guilt, that is, proof beyond
or year when the alleged rape occurred, and yet, she readily recalled reasonable doubt that the crime was committed on the date and place
the incident when she was whipped by accused-appellant with a belt indicated in the Information.
that hit her vagina after she was caught stealing mangoes.
Second, neither did the testimony of Dr. Danny O. Aquino, the
Certainly, time is not an essential ingredient or element of the medico-legal officer, help complainant's cause in any way. In his
crime of rape. However, it assumes importance in the instant case medico-legal certificate, Dr. Aquino concluded on examination that
since it creates serious doubt on the commission of the rape or the complaining witness' hymen was not intact. When asked by the trial
sufficiency of the evidence for purposes of conviction. The court what he meant by "non-intact hymen," Dr. Aquino explained
Information states that the crime was committed "on or about the year that it could be congenital, i.e., natural for a child to be born with a
1992," and complainant testified during the trial that she was sexually "non-intact hymen."[19] However, he said, he could not distinguish
abused by accused-appellant in the latters house in Abanico, Puerto whether complainants "non-intact hymen" was congenital or the
Princesa City.[15] It appears however from the records that in 1992 result of a trauma.[20] When asked further by the public prosecutor
accused-appellant was still residing in Liberty, Puerto Princesa City, a whether he noticed any healed wound or laceration in the hymen, Dr.
town different from Abanico, Puerto Princesa City, and had never Aquino categorically answered: "I was not able to recognize (healed
been to Abanico at any time in 1992 nor was he familiar with the wound), sir," and "I was not able to appreciate healed laceration,
complainant and her family. He only moved to Abanico, Puerto sir."[21] The answers of Dr. Aquino to subsequent questions
Princesa City, in 1993.[16] It was therefore impossible for accused- propounded by the prosecutor were very uncertain and inconclusive.
appellant to have committed the crime of rape in 1992 at his house in To questions like, "Is she a virgin or not?" and "So you are now
Abanico, Puerto Princesa City, on the basis of the prosecution saying that Jane Vasquez was actually raped?" the answers of Dr.
evidence, as he was not yet residing in Abanico at that time and Aquino were, "I cannot tell for sure, your Honor." "That is a big
neither did his family have a home there. The materiality of the date probability," and, "Very likely."
cannot therefore be cursorily ignored since the accuracy and
truthfulness of complainants narration of events leading to the rape It is clear from the foregoing that the prosecution likewise
practically hinge on the date of the commission of the crime. failed to establish the medical basis for the alleged rape. The failure
of Dr. Aquino to make an unequivocal finding that complainant was
The ruling of the trial court to the effect that it was not raped and that no healed wound or laceration was found on her
physically impossible to be in Abanico from Liberty when the crime hymen seriously affects the veracity of the allegations of the
charged against him was committed, is manifestly incongruous as it prosecution.
is inapplicable. The trial court took judicial notice of the fact that
Liberty and Abanico were not far from each other, both being within Third, from her testimony, complainant would have this Court
the city limits of Puerto Princesa, and could be negotiated by tricycle believe that while she was being raped accused-appellant was holding
in less than thirty (30) minutes. [17] But whether or not it was her hand, covering her mouth and gripping his penis all at the same
physically impossible for accused-appellant to travel all the way to time. Complainants narration is obviously untruthful. It defies the
Abanico from Liberty to commit the crime is irrelevant under the ordinary experience of man. The rule is elementary that evidence to
circumstances as narrated by complainant. Truly, it strains the be believed must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible
imagination how the crime could have been perpetrated in 1992 at the witness but must be credible in itself.
Ladrillo residence in Abanico when, to repeat, accused-appellant did
not move to that place and take up residence there until 1993.
And fourth, complainant reported the alleged rape to her
mother only in 1994 or two (2) years after its occurrence. It hardly
To complicate matters, we are even at a loss as to how the conforms to human experience that a child like complainant could
prosecution came up with 1992 as the year of the commission of the actually keep to herself such a traumatic experience for a very long
offense. It was never adequately explained nor the factual basis time. Perhaps it would have been different if she were a little older
thereofestablished. The prosecutor himself admitted in court that he and already capable of exercising discretion, for then, concealment of
could not provide the specific date for the commission of the crime -
the rape committed against her would have been more readily Rape is a very emotional word, and the natural human reactions
explained by the fact, as in this case, that she was probably trying to to it are categorical: sympathy for the victim and admiration for her
avoid the embarrassment and disrepute to herself and her in publicly seeking retribution for her outrageous misfortune, and
family. Children, on the other hand, are naturally more spontaneous condemnation of the rapist. However, being interpreters of the law
and candid, and usually lack the same discretion and sensibility of and dispensers of justice, judges must look at a rape charge without
older victims of the same offense. Thus, the fact that complainant, those proclivities and deal with it with extreme caution and
who was only five (5) years old when the supposed rape happened, circumspection. Judges must free themselves of the natural tendency
concealed her defilement to her mother for two (2) years seriously to be overprotective of every woman decrying her having been
impairs her credibility and the authenticity of her story. sexually abused and demanding punishment for the abuser. While
they ought to be cognizant of the anguish and humiliation the rape
We are not unmindful of the fact that a child of tender years, victim goes through as she demands justice, judges should equally
like complaining witness herein, could be so timid and ignorant that bear in mind that their responsibility is to render justice based on the
she could not narrate her ordeal accurately. But the mind cannot rest law.[22]
easy if this case is resolved against accused-appellant on the basis of
the evidence for the prosecution which, as already discussed, is WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of RTC-Br. 47, Palawan
characterized by glaring inconsistencies, missing links and loose ends and Puerto Princesa City, is REVERSED. Accused-appellant EDWIN
that refuse to tie up. The rule that this Court should refrain from LADRILLO is ACQUITTED of rape based on insufficiency of
disturbing the conclusions of the trial court on the credibility of evidence and reasonable doubt. Consequently, his immediate release
witnesses, does not apply where, as in the instant case, the trial court from confinement is ORDERED unless he is otherwise detained for
overlooked certain facts of substance or value which if considered any other lawful or valid cause. Costs de oficio.
would affect the outcome of the case; or where the disputed decision
is based on misapprehension of facts. SO ORDERED.

Denial and alibi may be weak but courts should not at once
look at them with disfavor. There are situations where an accused
may really have no other defenses but denial and alibi which, if
established to be the truth, may tilt the scales of justice in his favor,
especially when the prosecution evidence itself is weak.

Let it be made clear, however, that this opinion does not


necessarily signify acceptance of accused-appellants version of the
incident. If complainant was indeed sexually abused, this view should
not be considered a condonation of what was done, as it was indeed
reprehensible. This only indicates that reasonable doubt has been
created as to accused-appellants guilt. Consequently, under the
prevailing judicial norm, accused-appellant is entitled to acquittal. To
reiterate, there is in his favor the constitutional presumption of
innocence, which has not been sufficiently dented.