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People v. Jacinto G.R. No.

182239, March 16, 2011
FACTS: In the evening of January 28, 2003 at about 6 o’clock in the evening, FFF, the father of the victim AAA, sent his 8 year old daughter CCC to buy cigarettes at the store of Rudy Hatague. AAA followed CCC. When CCC returned without AAA, FFF was not worried as he thought AAA was watching television at her aunt Rita Lingcay’s house. Julito Apike went to the same store at around 6:20 PM to buy a bottle of Tanduay Rum and saw appellant place AAA on his lap. Julio, Hermie and AAA left the store at the same time, Julito proceeded to Rita’s house while Hermie and AAA to the “lower area.” AAA was brought by Hermie to the ricefield near the house of spouses Alejandro and Gloria Perocho, there AAA was made to lie down on the ground, her panties removed and was boxed by the accused in the chest. Half-naked, accused mounted AAA and made a push and pull movement causing AAA to cry. Appellant then went to the house of the Perochos while the victim went home crying. Medico-legal exam revealed hymenal laceration at 5 and 9 o’clock. RTC finds accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of rape and sentenced to reclusion perpetua, a fine of PHP 75,000 as rape indemnity and PHP 50,000 as moral damages. CA on appeal affirmed the lower court’s decision with the following modifications: (1) accused should suffer an indeterminate penalty from 6 years and 1 day to 12 years of prision mayor as minimum to 17 years and 4 months of reclusion temporal as maximum and fined PHP 75,000 as civil indemnity, PHP 75,000 as moral damages, and PHP 25,000 as exemplary damages. . ISSUE: Is the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape? RULING: Yes, the Court considered three well-entrenched principles: (1) accusation of rape can be made with facility, it is difficult to prove but more difficult for the accused, though innocent, to disprove, (2) testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with extreme caution, (3) evidence for prosecution must stand on its own merit and not depend on the weakness of the defense. The Court finds that the testimony of the victim was credible, natural and convincing as proven by victim’s positive identification of the accused, description of what was done to her and how the accused spread her legs, inserted his penis and made push and pull movements. This was corroborated by medico-legal findings of hymenal lacerations. Court finds that the prosecution sufficiently established the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt but imposes a penalty of reclusion perpetua, and affirms the damages awarded by the CA of PHP 75,000 as civil indemnity, PHP 75,000 as moral damages and increasing exemplary damages to PHP 30,000. Furthermore, in accordance with Section 38 of RA 9344, automatic suspension of sentence is applied and in accordance with Section 51 of RA 9344, accused is confined to an agricultural camp or other training facility established, maintained, and controlled by BUCOR in coordination with the DSWD.