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G.R. NO.

153979

February 6, 2006

REGINO SY CATIIS, Petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS (17th Division), REYNALDO A. PATACSIL, ENRICO D.
LOPEZ,LUZVIMINDA A. PORTUGUEZ and THE BUREAU OF JAIL MANAGEMENT
AND PENOLOGY, NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION, MAKATI CITY JAIL, THROUGH
ITS OFFICER-IN-CHARGE WARDEN, CHIEF INSP. ISAGANI M. GAMINO,
Respondents.
DECISION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari filed by Regino Sy Catiis (petitioner) seeking to
nullify the Decision1 dated June 14, 2002 of the Court of Appeals (CA) which sustained the
Order dated December 18, 2001 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 96, Quezon City,2 allowing
private respondents to post bail and the Order dated December 21, 2001 of the Executive Judge
of the same court3 approving the surety bond posted by respondents and their release.
Petitioner filed a letter-complaint dated May 28, 2001 against private respondents Reynaldo A.
Patacsil, Enrico D. Lopez, Luzviminda A. Portuguez and a certain Margielyn Tafalla before the
Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City, for violation of Art. 315, No. 2(a) of the Revised
Penal Code in relation to Presidential Decree No. 1689 (syndicated estafa) and other related
offenses. The complaint was docketed as I.S. No. 01-10686. Private respondents, except for
Tafalla, filed their joint counter-affidavits denying the charges against them.
On October 10, 2001, Assistant City Prosecutor Alessandro D. Jurado issued a Resolution4
finding the existence of a probable cause for syndicated Estafa against private respondents and
Tafalla with no bail recommended. The Resolution was approved by City Prosecutor Claro A.
Arellano.
An Information was filed on the same day by Prosecutor Jurado against private respondents and
Tafalla before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City and raffled off to Branch 96, which reads:
The undersigned accuses REYNALDO A. PATACSIL, ENRICO D. LOPEZ, LUZVIMINDA A.
PORTUGUEZ and MARGIELYN TAFALLA, of the crime of Estafa under Article 315,
paragraph 2(a) of the Revise Penal Code in relation to P.D. 1689, committed as follows:
That on or about the 3rd week of January 2000 or subsequent thereto in Quezon City and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating
together and all of them mutually helping and aiding one another in a syndicated manner
consisting of five (5) or more persons through corporations registered with the Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC) and/or unregistered foreign entities with intention of carrying out
the unlawful or illegal act, transaction, enterprise or scheme, with intent to gain and by means of
fraud and deceit, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud REGINO SY

CATIIS and several other persons in the following manner, to wit: by falsely or fraudulently
pretending or representing, in a transaction or series of transactions, which they made with the
Complainant and the public in general to the effect that they were in a legitimate business of
foreign exchange trading successively or simultaneously operating under the following name and
style of Asia Profits Philippines, Incorporation, Winggold Management Philippines Incorporated,
Belkin Management Consultancy, Inc. and/or Belkin Profits Limited or other unregistered
foreign entities induced and succeeded in inducing complainant and several other persons to give
and deliver and in fact, the latter and said persons gave and delivered to said accused the amount
of at least US$ 123,461.14 or its equivalent in Philippine Pesos on the strength of said
manifestations and representations, the accused knowing fully well that the above-named
corporations registered with the SEC and/or those unregistered foreign entities are not licensed
nor authorized to engage in foreign exchange trading corporations and that such manifestations
and representations to transact in foreign exchange were false and fraudulent that resulted to the
damage and prejudice of the complainant and other persons and that the defraudation pertains to
funds solicited from the public in general by such corporations/associations.5
On November 7, 2001, Judge Lucas P. Bersamin issued an Order finding probable cause against
all the accused and approved the recommendation of the City Prosecutor that the charge be nonbailable. The corresponding warrants of arrest were issued.6
A return7 on the warrant of arrest was made by PO3 Joselito M. Coronel, PNP Criminal
Investigation and Detection Group, Camp Crame, Quezon City, with the information that except
for Margielyn Tafalla, who remained at large, all other accused were already detained at the
Makati City Jail.
On November 12, 2001, a notice of hearing was issued by Judge Bersamin setting the case for
arraignment on November 20, 2001. Private respondents on the same day filed an urgent motion
to fix bail.
On November 20, 2001, private respondents, when arraigned, entered pleas of not guilty. The
Prosecution was required to file their comment/opposition on private respondents motion to fix
bail which they did through the Private Prosecutor with the conformity of Assistant City
Prosecutor Arthur O. Malabaguio.8
On December 18, 2001, Judge Bersamin issued an Order reconsidering his earlier Order of
November 7, 2001 by declaring that the offense charged is bailable. In finding that the accused
are entitled to bail, Judge Bersamin made the following disquisitions:
xxx
In order to impose the penalty of life imprisonment to death under Sec. 1, P.D. No. 1689, the
estafa or swindling must be committed by a syndicate. The law plainly states that a syndicate
consists of five or more persons formed with the intention of carrying out the unlawful or illegal
act, transaction, enterprise, or scheme, and the defraudation results in the misappropriation of
money or of funds solicited by corporations/associations from the general public.

Herein, only four persons are actually charged. Consequently, the estafa charged has no relation
to the crime punished with life imprisonment to death under Sec. 1, Presidential Decree No.
1689.
The allegation of the information that the accused conspired with each other "in a syndicated
manner consisting of five (5) or more persons through corporations registered with the Securities
and Exchange Commission (SEC) and/or unregistered foreign entities with intention of carrying
out the unlawful or illegal act, transaction, enterprise or scheme" cannot change the juridical
nature of the offense charged. If the Government has chosen to indict only four persons,
without more, the obvious reason is that only the persons actually charged were involved in
the commission of the offense. As such, there was no syndicate.
In all likelihood, the allegation of "in a syndicated manner consisting of five (5) or more
persons" is made herein solely for having bail denied. Whether that is true or not is beside the
point, but the Court cannot now lend itself to such a likelihood which, according to the foregoing
disquisition, lacks legal basis. For that matter, the Court must recant its approval of the
recommendation to deny bail.
The Prosecution represents that the Supreme Court has affirmed in People vs. Romero a
conviction under Presidential Decree No.1689 "even if the accused charged is only less than five
(5) accused."
Such representation is grossly misleading. Far to the contrary, in People v. Romero, where two
accused were actually charged but only one was ultimately penalized due to the death of the
other accused during the pendency of the case, the Supreme Court did not impose the higher
penalty of life imprisonment to death because the Prosecution "failed to clearly establish that the
corporation was a syndicate, as defined under the law," holding, instead, that, since the crime was
not committed by a syndicate, the proper penalty is that provided in the second paragraph of
Sec.1, P.D. No. 1689, to wit:
When not committed by a syndicate as above defined, the penalty imposable shall be reclusion
temporal to reclusion perpetua if the amount of the fraud exceeds 100,000.00 pesos.
Yet, one should ask: Where, as here, the amount alleged in the information clearly "exceeds
100,000.00 pesos" such that the second paragraph of Sec. 1, P.D. No. 1689, is applicable, is the
offense still bailable considering that the range of the imposable penalty is from reclusion
temporal to reclusion perpetua?
The answer is in the affirmative.
Under Rule 110, 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Information should aver, among others,
the qualifying and aggravating circumstances of the offense "in ordinary and concise language
and not necessarily in the language used in the statute but in terms sufficient to enable a person
of common understanding to know what offense is being charged as well as its qualifying and
aggravating circumstance and for the court to pronounce judgment."

A perusal of the information discloses that no aggravating circumstance has been alleged in
the information. The omission consequently precludes the State from proving any aggravating
circumstance which will raise the penalty to its maximum period of reclusion perpetua. The
Court itself is also prohibited from imposing reclusion perpetua, since the requirement of
complete allegations of the particulars in the indictment is based on the right of the accused to
be fully informed of the nature of the charges against him so that he may adequately prepare for
his defense pursuant to the due process clause of the Constitution.
As stated in People v. Romero, supra, the penalty under the second paragraph of Sec.1, P.D. No.
1689, when there is neither mitigating or aggravating circumstance attendant, is the
medium period of reclusion temporal, that is from sixteen (16) years and one (1) day to twenty
(20) years.
Hence, the offense charged is unquestionably bailable.9
On December 26, 2001, petitioner filed with the CA a petition for certiorari with prayer for
temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction10 assailing the Order of Judge
Bersamin allowing private respondents to post bail.
On the same day, then Associate Justice Romeo J. Callejo Sr.,11 Justice on Duty Per Office
Memorandum of Presiding Justice, issued a Resolution12 granting petitioners prayer for the
issuance of a temporary restraining order, thus, private respondents and all those acting for and in
their behalf were temporarily restrained from enforcing and implementing the Order of Judge
Bersamin and from further proceeding in Criminal Case No. 01-105430.
However, unknown to petitioner, private respondents had already filed or posted their surety
bonds on December 21, 2001 with the Office of Executive Judge Monina A. Zenarosa13 who
approved the same on the same day and ordered the immediate release of private respondents
unless held for other lawful cause.14 Petitioner filed a supplemental petition with the CA on
January 14, 2002 assailing the jurisdiction of Judge Zenarosa in issuing the Order dated
December 21, 2001.
On June 14, 2002, the CA issued its assailed decision denying due course to the petition and
dismissed the same after it found no grave abuse of discretion committed by Judge Bersamin and
Judge Zenarosa in issuing the assailed orders.
Hence, the instant petition filed by petitioner raising the following issues, to wit:
A
Whether or not the issuance of the questioned Decision promulgated June 14, 2002 by the
17th Division of the Court of Appeals sustaining the validity of the 1st assailed Order
dated December 18, 2001 of Hon. Presiding Judge Lucas P. Bersamin of Branch 96 of the
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City ruling that there should be at least five (5) persons
that must be charged under Section 1, Presidential Decree No. 1689 is not in accordance
with law or with applicable decisions of this Honorable Supreme Court.

B
Whether or not the questioned Decision sanctioning the grant of bail in the 1st assailed
Order dated December 18, 2001 of Hon. Presiding Judge Lucas P. Bersamin of Branch 96
of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City violated Section 7, Rule 114 of the Revised
Rules of Criminal Procedure and actually departed from the accepted and usual course in
the determination of bailability of criminal offenses.
C
Whether or not the questioned Decision sustaining the order of release in the 2nd assailed
Order dated December 21 of Hon. Executive Judge Monina A. Zenarosa of the Regional
Trial Court of Quezon City violated Section 17, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure15
Anent the first issue, petitioner contends that under Section 1 of P.D. No. 1689, the term "any
person" must be understood and read in its singular meaning so that even only one person can be
indicted for committing "estafa or other forms of swindling" in relation to P.D. No. 1689 citing
the case of People v. Romero; that Judge Bersamin erred when he already computed the possible
penalty in case of private respondents conviction; that the capital nature of an offense for the
purpose of bailability is determined by the penalty prescribed by law, not by penalty which may
actually be imposed since the latter requires a consideration of the evidence on trial; that since no
evidence had yet been presented by both prosecution and defense, Judge Bersamin has again
shown bias by already computing the imposable penalty just to stretch the application of the law
and questionably grant bail in favor of private Respondents.
We are not persuaded.
The CA found that the assailed order of Judge Bersamin cannot be characterized as one issued
with grave abuse of discretion for he correctly determined that the Information did not charge a
syndicated Estafa; that with only four charged in the information, it could not be considered as
committed by a syndicate which must consist of five or more persons and he cannot be faulted
for that.
Section 1 of P.D. No. 1689, increasing the penalty for certain forms of swindling or estafa,
provides:
SECTION 1. Any person or persons who shall commit estafa or other forms of swindling as
defined in Articles 315 and 316 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, shall be punished by life
imprisonment to death if the swindling (estafa) is committed by a syndicate consisting of five or
more persons formed with the intention of carrying out the unlawful or illegal act, transaction,
enterprise or scheme, and the defraudation results in the misappropriation of moneys contributed
by stockholders, or members of rural banks cooperatives, "samahang nayon(s)," or farmers
associations, or of funds solicited by corporations/associations from the general public.

When not committed by a syndicate as above defined, the penalty imposable shall be reclusion
temporal to reclusion perpetua if the amount of the fraud exceeds 100,000 pesos.
Clearly, P.D. No. 1689 penalizes offenders with life imprisonment to death regardless of the
amount involved, provided that a syndicate committed the crime. A syndicate is defined in the
same law as "consisting of five or more persons formed with the intention of carrying out the
unlawful or illegal act, transaction, enterprise or scheme." Under the second paragraph, it is
provided that if the offenders are not members of a syndicate, they shall nevertheless be held
liable for the acts prohibited by the law but they shall be penalized by reclusion temporal to
reclusion perpetua if the amount of the fraud is more than P100,000.00.
Petitioners interpretation that the term "any person" in the first paragraph of section 1 could
mean that even one person can be indicted for syndicated estafa is contrary to the provision of
the law. It bears stressing that the law must be considered as a whole, just as it is necessary to
consider a sentence in its entirety in order to grasp its true meaning.16 It is a dangerous practice to
base construction upon only a part of a section since one portion may be qualified by the other
portion.17 In fact, there is no need for any construction or interpretation of P. D. No. 1689 since
the law is clear and free from any doubt or ambiguity. Section 1 of P.D. No. 1689 has defined
what constitutes a syndicate and such definition is controlling. Where a requirement is made in
explicit and unambiguous terms, no discretion is left to the judiciary. It must see to it that its
mandate is obeyed.18
In this case, the Information specifically charged only four persons without specifying any other
person who had participated in the commission of the crime charged, thus, based on the
definition of syndicate under the law, the crime charged was not committed by a syndicate. We
find no reversible error committed by the CA when it upheld the ruling of Judge Bersamin that
with only four persons actually charged, the estafa charged has no relation to the crime punished
with life imprisonment to death under section 1 of P. D. No. 1689.
The wordings in the information that the accused conspired with each other "in a syndicated
manner consisting of five (5) or more persons through corporations registered with the Securities
and Exchange Commission (SEC) and/or unregistered foreign entities with intention of carrying
out the unlawful or illegal act, transaction, enterprise or scheme" is not sufficient compliance
with the requirements of the law on what constitute a syndicate. It bears stressing that the first
paragraph of the accusatory portion of the Information charges only four persons. To repeat, P.D.
No. 1689 has provided for the definition of a syndicate and it is controlling. As correctly found
by the trial court, if the government has chosen to indict only four persons, without more, the
obvious reason is that only the persons actually charged were involved in the commission of the
offense, thus, there was no syndicate.1avvphil.net
Petitioners reliance in People v. Romero to support his argument is misleading. First, the issue of
whether only one person can be indicted for syndicated estafa was not an issue in the Romero
case. Secondly, the Court did not impose the penalty of life imprisonment to death on the
accused since the prosecution failed to clearly establish that the corporation was a syndicate as
defined under the law. There is no other way of establishing a syndicate under P.D. No. 1689
than by the adherence to the definition provided by law.

Since the crime charged was not committed by a syndicate as defined under the law, the penalty
of life imprisonment to death cannot be imposed on private Respondents. Judge Bersamin is
correct when he ruled that private respondents could only be punished with reclusion temporal to
reclusion perpetua in case of conviction since the amount of the fraud exceeds P100,000.00. The
next question is, whether Judge Bersamin is correct in finding that the crime charged is bailable
despite that the imposable penalty ranges from reclusion temporal to reclusion perpetua?
The Court answers in the affirmative.
Sections 8 and 9 of Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, which took effect on
December 1, 2000, provide:
Sec. 8. Designation of the offense. The complaint or information shall state the designation of
the offense given by the statute, aver the acts or omissions constituting the offense, and specify
its qualifying and aggravating circumstances. If there is no designation of the offense, reference
shall be made to the section or subsection of the statute punishing it.
Sec. 9. Cause of the accusations. The acts or omissions complained of as constituting the
offense and the qualifying and aggravating circumstances must be stated in ordinary and concise
language and not necessarily in the language used in the statute but in terms sufficient to enable a
person of common understanding to know what offense is being charged as well as its qualifying
and aggravating circumstances and for the court to pronounce judgment.
Clearly, it is now a requirement that the aggravating as well as the qualifying circumstances be
expressly and specifically alleged in the complaint or information. Otherwise, they cannot be
considered by the trial court in their judgment, even, if they are subsequently proved during
trial.19 A reading of the Information shows that there was no allegation of any aggravating
circumstance, thus Judge Bersamin is correct when he found that the lesser penalty, i.e.,
reclusion temporal, is imposable in case of conviction.
Section 13, Article III of the Constitution provides that all persons, except those charged with
offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall before
conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties or be released on recognizance as may be provided
by law. In pursuance thereof, Section 4 of Rule 114, as amended, now provides that all persons in
custody shall, before conviction by a regional trial court of an offense not punishable by death,
reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, be admitted to bail as a matter of right. Since the
imposable penalty on private respondents, in case of conviction, is reclusion temporal, they are
entitled to bail as a matter of right. Notably, Judge Bersamin issued his Order finding the crime
charge bailable and fixed the amount of P150,000.00 each for the provisional liberty of private
respondents only after petitioner had submitted their comment/opposition to petitioners motion
to fix bail.
Petitioner claims that the Order of Judge Bersamin allowing private respondents to post bail
already prejudged the case; that he summarily decided the eventual and imminent dismissal of
the criminal case without even the reception of evidence; that such prejudgment came from a
ruling on a mere issue of bail.

Such argument is baseless. The Order was issued on the basis that the allegations in the
Information do not establish that the crime charged was committed by a syndicate as defined
under the law where the penalty of life imprisonment to death could be imposed. Nowhere in the
Order did Judge Bersamin state that the act complained of is not punishable at all.
Petitioner next contends that private respondents filing of bail with Executive Judge Monina
Zenarosa, other than Branch 96 where the case is pending, is questionable and not in accordance
with Section 17, Rule 11420 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure; that the records show
that when private respondents filed their bail with Judge Zenarosa, Branch 96 was open and
available as private respondents through their representative were able to pay for the issuance of
the certifications on the Information and the Order dated December 18, 2001; that petitioners
counsel and the Assistant City Prosecutor Arthur Malabaguio had personally received their
respective copies of the Order dated December 18, 2001 inside the staff room of Branch 96 and
they even attested that Judge Bersamin was physically present on December 21, 2002, the day
private respondents filed their bail bond with Judge Zenarosa; that despite these circumstances,
Judge Zenarosa still exercised jurisdiction over the bail filed by private respondents and issued
the Order dated December 21, 2001 approving the surety bonds and ordering the release of
private respondents; that the CAs justification that Judge Zenarosa accepted the bail bond due to
the fact that Judge Bersamin was momentarily out of his office or premises at the time of posting
of the bond was not borne by the records.
We are not persuaded.
Section 17, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure provides that bail in the
amount fixed may be filed with the court where the case is pending, or, in the absence or
unavailability of the judge thereof, with another branch of the same court within the province or
city. While Branch 96 is open and available on the day private respondents posted their bail with
Judge Zenarosa, it does not necessarily follow that Judge Bersamin was available at that precise
moment. Although it is alleged in the supplemental petition prepared by petitioners counsel,
Atty. Rodeo Nuez, with the conformity of Prosecutor Malabaguio filed before the CA that both
of them saw Judge Bersamin discharging his function on that day, it is not under oath. Moreover,
it is not specifically stated in the supplemental petition that at the exact time Judge Zenarosa
approved the bail, Judge Bersamin was available. Thus, petitioner failed to rebut the presumption
that official duty had been regularly performed21 by Judge Zenarosa under the rules.
WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is DENIED. The assailed decision of the
Court of Appeals dated June 14, 2002 is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 128888 December 3, 1999


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
CHARITO ISUG MAGBANUA, accused-appellant.

KAPUNAN, J.:
1

rendered by the Regional Trial Court of San Jose, Occidental


Mindoro, Branch 46, in Criminal Case No. R-3996, finding accused-appellant Charito Isug Magbanua
guilty of the crime of rape against his own daughter and sentencing him to suffer the supreme penalty of
death and to indemnify the victim in the amount of P50,000.00 as damages.
Before the Court for automatic review is the decision
2

In an Information filed on 29 May 1996, Charito Magbanua was charged with the crime of rape allegedly
committed as follows:
That sometimes (sic) on (sic) the year 1991 and the days thereafter, in Barangay
Pawican, Municipality of San Jose, Province of Occidental Mindoro, Philippines and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the accused, with lewd design, by means
of force and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have
carnal knowledge of Poblica Magbanua, against her will and consent.
CONTRARY TO LAW. 3
Upon his arraignment on 23 July 1996, appellant entered a plea of "NOT GUILTY." 4 Thereafter, trial on
the merits ensued.
The prosecution presented three witnesses, namely: Poblica Magbanua, the complaining witness; Leonilo
Magbanua, the uncle of Poblica and older brother of appellant; and Dra. Arlene Sy, the physician who
examined Poblica and issued the medical certificate.
The evidence for the prosecution is detailed as follows:
Poblica Magbanua, the complaining witness, is the eldest among the seven (7) children of appellant with
his wife, Aniceta Magbanua. 5 She was eighteen (18) years old, single, jobless and a resident of Ilin, San
Jose, Occidental Mindoro, at the time of the trial.
Poblica testified that in the year 1991, when she was barely thirteen (13) years old and not yet having her
menstrual period, she was sexually abused by appellant, her own father. 6 It was around noon when
appellant first molested her. She averred that appellant approached her and poked a knife at her. 7
Appellant then removed her panty and laid her down. Thereafter, he took off his own underwear and
placed himself on top of Poblica. He directed his penis towards her vagina and pushed up and down. 8
Poblica felt appellant's penis enter her vagina. 9 During the sexual encounter, she experienced pain in her
vagina. Unable to resist appellant because the knife was constantly pointed at her, she could only cry.
After the sexual intercourse, appellant warned Poblica not to tell anyone about what happened. Appellant
then dressed up while Poblica put on her underwear. She then noticed that blood oozed from her vagina.
10
She narrated that her defilement did not end there. Since then until 1995, appellant continuously
abused her several times a month. 11 The sexual assaults usually took place at noontime when she was
left alone with appellant while her mother went to town to buy their basic needs and while her brother and
sisters were at the house of their grandmother which was quite far from their house.
As a result of the frequent sexual violations, Poblica became pregnant. She gave birth to a baby boy on
15 November 1995 12 at the house of her grandmother where she temporarily transferred. She named the
child Roger Roldan Magbanua and registered his birth with the local civil registry without stating the name
of the natural father in the certificate of birth. 13 When asked about the identity of the father of the child,
Poblica categorically answered that it was appellant who sired the baby. She explained that appellant
fathered the child since he was the one who abused her from 1991 until she became
pregnant. 14

According to Poblica, she did not report the rape incidents to her mother because appellant threatened to
kill her. 15 When her mother noticed her pregnancy and asked her about the supposed father, she did not
tell her that it was appellant who authored her pregnancy. Instead, as suggested by appellant, she named
one Ricky Pacaul as the one who impregnated her. However, later on, she claimed that she does not
know any person by that name. 16
Three months after she gave birth, she went to live with her Uncle Leonilo and his wife at Malvar Street,
San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. She stayed with them and did not return anymore to their residence at
Pawican. While there, she disclosed to her aunt the harrowing experience she had in the hands of her
father. Her uncle learned about her story and assisted her in filing the complaint for rape against
appellant. She went to the police station where she voluntarily executed a "Sinumpaang Salaysay" 17
before SPO2 Resurrecion Atlas concerning the rape incidents. 18
Prosecution witness Dr. Arlene S. Sy, Rural Health Physician of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, testified
that she examined Poblica on 20 February 1996. 19 In the course of her physical examination of Poblica,
she made the following findings:
P.E.:
Vagina admits 2-3 fingers
Hymen not intact, with cervicitis
Grms. staining: with pus cells
RBC moderate
Negative to spermatozoa. 20
Dr. Sy explained that Poblica's vagina admits two (2) to three (3) fingers with less degree of resistance
because its orifice was already wide and elastic as a result of the entry of a foreign object. 21 At the time of
the examination, Poblica's hymen was no longer intact and based on the cervical discharge she collected
from the patient, it showed signs of cervicitis, an infection of the cervix. 22 According to Dr. Sy, cervicitis
could have been sustained from the delivery of the child. When asked by the trial court to clarify this point,
she averred that cervicitis may also be contracted through sexual intercourse with a man having a
venereal disease. However, she did not negate the possibility that cervicitis could also result from the
delivery of a child and by the poor hygiene of the patient.
The last witness presented by the prosecution was Leonilo Magbanua. Leonilo testified that sometime in
November 1995, his mother, Perpetua Magbanua informed him about the pregnancy of Poblica. Perpetua
then requested him to convince Poblica to stay with him so that he would be in the position to elicit from
her the identity of the person who caused her pregnancy. Leonilo agreed and talked with his niece who
had then a three (3) month old son. Poblica acceded and stayed with Leonilo and his wife at Malvar
Street, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. While he was away at work in his store Poblica related to his wife
that it was appellant who sired her child. 23 Upon learning this, he immediately summoned appellant to
discuss the matter with him. However, appellant did not heed his invitation. Thereupon, he asked Poblica
if she would like to file a complaint against his father. Poblica answered in the affirmative. He then
assisted her in filing a complaint for rape against appellant. He, likewise, executed a "Sinumpaang
Salaysay" 24 to the effect that Poblica told him that she was raped by her father. 25 During the crossexamination, he declared that he bore no grudge against appellant.
On the other hand, the defense presented only one witness, the appellant himself. On the witness stand,
appellant admitted that Poblica is his daughter, the latter being the eldest among his seven children. 26

However, he denied raping Poblica. 27 He pinned the commission of the crime on someone else. He
claimed that, at one time, Poblica told him that it was a certain Ricky Pacaul who molested her. 28 He,
likewise, disputed the allegation that he caused Poblica's pregnancy. Again he pointed to Ricky Pacaul as
the culprit. However, appellant could not recall the time when Poblica allegedly revealed to him the
identity of her aggressor. When subjected to cross-examination, he stated that he does not know any
Ricky Pacaul. 29 He likewise admitted that despite the information he received regarding the identity of the
person who allegedly molested her daughter, he did not find it necessary to locate him since they had no
money to spend on the search for his whereabouts. He also did not attempt to investigate nor file a
complaint against Ricky Pacaul. Finally, he alleged that he does not know of any reason why Poblica and
his brother Leonilo testified against him and pointed to him as the perpetrator of the offense. 30 The
defense tried to present appellant's wife and mother of Poblica, Aniceta Magbanua, but she refused to
testify in appellant's favor.
After hearing the evidence from both sides, the trial court was convinced that appellant was guilty of the
crime charged. The trial court believed the testimony of Poblica who positively identified appellant as the
author of the sexual attack. The lower court rationalized that no daughter in her right mind would fabricate
a rape charge against her own father unless the same had actually been committed. The lower court
opined that Poblica, being unschooled and illiterate, could not be sophisticated enough to ascribe such a
heinous crime against appellant. The trial court also noted that Poblica had no axe to grind against him
and, in fact, was only nobly motivated to tell her story in order to protect her younger female siblings from
possible abuse from their father. Thus, in a Decision, dated 27 February 1997, the trial court convicted
appellant of rape and sentenced him to death. The dispositive portion of the trial court's decision reads:
WHEREFORE, finding the accused Charito Isug Magbanua, guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of rape, described and penalized under Article 335 of the Revised
Penal Code and Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7659, otherwise referred to as the Death
Penalty Law, this Court hereby sentences him to suffer the capital penalty of DEATH.
The accused is ordered to indemnify the offended party, damages in the amount of FIFTY
THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00).
The accused who is presently detained at the Provincial Jail at Magbay, San Jose,
Occidental, Mindoro is ordered immediately transferred to the New Bilibid Prisons,
Muntinlupa City.
SO ORDERED. 31
The above decision is now the subject of the present review.
In his brief, appellant imputes the following errors allegedly committed by the trial court, to wit:
I
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING THE INFORMATION
INSUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT A JUDGMENT OF CONVICTION FOR ITS FAILURE TO
STATE THE PRECISE DATE OF THE OFFENSE, IT BEING AN ESSENTIAL
INGREDIENT OF THE CRIME CHARGED.
II
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN IMPOSING THE SUPREME PENALTY OF
DEATH UPON ACCUSED-APPELLANT BY APPLYING RETROACTIVELY REPUBLIC
ACT NO. 7659 (DEATH PENALTY LAW). 32

Appellant faults the trial court in convicting him on the basis of an allegedly insufficient information for its
failure to specify the exact dates when the rapes were perpetrated because it merely stated that these
rapes were committed "sometimes (sic) on (sic) the year 1991 and the days thereafter." He asserts that
since each sexual act is considered a separate crime, each of these acts should have been established
as executed on certain dates or times and set forth in the information as such. He further argues that the
indefiniteness of the information with respect to time could not have been cured by evidence presented by
the prosecution in derogation of his right to be informed of the nature of the crime charged against him. In
support of the above arguments, appellant cites the case of US vs. Dichao. 33
Corollary to the first assignment of error, appellant contends that the trial court erred in imposing upon him
the penalty of death. Since the information did not state the actual dates when the rapes took place, the
sexual attacks on those unspecified dates should not have been considered as included within the
coverage of Republic Act No. 7659 or the Death Penalty Law; thus, the Death Penalty Law should not
have been applied retroactively in order to encompass the rapes which took place in 1991.
With respect to the allegation of insufficiency of the information, we find the contention devoid of merit.
Failure to specify the exact dates or time when the rapes occurred does not ipso facto make the
information defective on its face. The reason is obvious. The date or time of the commission of rape is not
a material ingredient of the said crime 34 because the gravamen of rape is carnal knowledge of a woman
through force and intimidation. In fact, the precise time when the rape takes place has no substantial
bearing on its commission. 35 As such, the date or time need not be stated with absolute accuracy. 36 It is
sufficient that the complaint or information states that the crime has been committed at any time as near
as possible to the date of its actual commission. The purpose of the requirement is to give the accused an
opportunity to defend himself. Section 11, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court states thus:
Sec. 11. Time of the commission of the offense. It is not necessary to state in the
complaint or information the precise time at which the offense was committed except
when the time is a material ingredient of the offense, but the act may be alleged to have
been committed at any time as near to the actual date at which the offense was
committed as the information or complaint will permit.
Although the information did not state with particularity the dates when the sexual attacks took place, we
believe that the allegations therein that the acts were committed "on (sic) the year 1991 and the days
thereafter" substantially apprised appellant of the crime he was charged with since all the essential
elements of the crime of rape were stated in the information. As such, appellant cannot complain that he
was deprived of the right to be informed of the nature of the case filed against him. An information can
withstand the test of judicial scrutiny as long as it distinctly states the statutory designation of the offense
and the acts or omissions constitutive thereof. 37
Nevertheless, appellant insists that on the basis of US vs. Dichao, the information should have been
considered as fatally defective, hence, void and incapable of supporting a judgment of conviction. The
reliance of appellant in US vs. Dichao is misplaced. The dictum expressed by the Court therein is not
applicable to the present case due to the difference in factual scenario. A careful study of the Dichao case
reveals that what was questioned therein was an order of the trial court sustaining a demurrer to an
information on the ground that it failed to substantially conform to the prescribed form when it did not
allege the time of the commission of the offense with definiteness. The information therein stated that the
sexual intercourse occurred "[o]n or about and during the interval between October, 1910, to August,
1912," which statement of time the Court described as ". . . so indefinite and uncertain that it does not
give the accused the information required by law . . ." and the ". . . opportunity to prepare his
defense . . . ." 38 The lower court in allowing the demurrer authorized the dismissal of the case against the
accused therein. The Court upheld the order of the trial court. In the case at bar, however, no such
demurrer to the information was ever filed. As a matter of fact, no objection to the sufficiency of the
information was ever raised by appellant before the trial court, unlike in Dichao; hence, appellant is
deemed to have waived whatever formal defect in the information. The case in point is People vs.
Garcia 39 where the Court ruled:

Assuming that this is still good case law (referring to Dichao) reliance cannot be placed
thereon by appellant since the dicta are not applicable to the present case due to factual
differences. Taking into consideration the circumstances obtaining herein vis-a-vis the
Dichao case, the distinguishing factor which is immediately apparent is the existence of a
motion to quash in that case as pointed out in the aforequoted decision. There is no such
motion in the case at bar, and this spells the big difference.
The rule is that at any time before entering his plea, the accused may move to quash the
information on the ground that it does not conform substantially to the prescribed form.
The failure of the accused to assert any ground for a motion to quash before he pleads to
the information, either because he did not file a motion to quash or failed to allege the
same in said motion, shall be deemed a waiver of the grounds for a motion to quash,
except the grounds of no offense charged, lack of jurisdiction over the offense charged,
extinction of the offense or penalty, and jeopardy.
Perforce, a formal defect in the information not being one of the exceptions to the rule,
appellant's failure to invoke the same through a motion to quash is deemed to be a
waiver of such objection and he cannot now be heard to seek affirmative relief on that
ground. Moreover, objections as to matters of form or substance in the information cannot
be made for the first time on appeal. 40
Explaining further why appellant therein cannot seek refuge in Dichao, the Court in People vs. Garcia
said:
It may readily be inferred from the decision in Dichao that where there is such an
indefinite allegation in the information as to the time of the commission of the offense
which would substantially prejudice the defense, a motion to quash the information may
be granted and the case dismissed without the benefit of an amendment. On the other
hand, where there is variance between the date of the commission of the crime alleged in
the information and that proved at the trial, and it is shown to the trial court that the
accused is surprised thereby, and that by reason thereof, he is unable to properly defend
himself, the court may in the exercise of sound discretion based on all the circumstances,
order the information amended so as to set forth the correct date. It may further grant an
adjournment for such a length of time as will enable the accused to prepare himself to
meet the variance in date which was the cause of his surprise.
Apparently, that distinction was premised on the theory that the question on whether the
allegations of the information are sufficiently definite as to time, and the question which
arises from the variance between the particulars of the indictment and the proof, are
different in nature and legal effect, and are decided on different principles.
It would then result that, on the basis of the foregoing disquisition in Dichao, an
amendment will not be allowed, and the motion to quash should instead be granted,
where the information is, on its face, defective for failure to state with certainty when the
offense was committed, and such ambiguity is so gross as to deprive the accused of the
opportunity to defend himself. For all intents and purposes, however, a strict adherence
thereto would no longer be a sound procedural practice, especially in criminal
proceedings which bears the mandate on speedy trial and wherein the availability of bills
of particulars have over time been adopted and recognized. 41
The above ruling firmly sustained the pronouncement the Court made in Rocaberte vs. People 42 which
we adopted in People vs. Garcia were we held:

We believe that the principle laid down in the more recent case of Rocaberte vs. People,
et al. involving exactly the same issue, presents the more logical and realistic
interpretation of the rules. While the Court there adverted to the Dichao case, it
nevertheless resorted to a less restrictive application of the rules by disposing of the case
in this wise:
A defect in the averment as to the time of the commission of the crime charged is not,
however, a ground for a motion to quash under Rule 116 of the Rules of Court. Even if it
were, a motion for quashal on that account will be denied since the defect is one that can
be cured by amendment; instead, the court shall order the amendment to be made by
stating the time with particularity.
The remedy against an indictment that fails to allege the time of the commission of the
offense with sufficient definiteness is a motion for bill of particulars, provided for in
Section 6, Rule 116 of the Rules of Court of
1964. 43
As may be deduced from the above discussion, it is already too late in the day for appellant to question
the sufficiency of the information. He had all the time to raise this issue during the course of the trial,
particularly during his arraignment. He could have filed for a bill of particulars in order to be properly
informed of the dates of the alleged rapes. However, appellant chose to be silent and never lifted a finger
to question the information. As a result, he is deemed to have waived whatever objections he had and he
cannot now be heard to seek affirmative relief. Furthermore, objections as to matters of form or substance
in the information cannot be made for the first time on appeal. 44
Moreover, in Dichao it cannot be denied that the information alleging the commission of one (1) rape
"between October, 1910, to August, 1912" is so indefinite and uncertain as to afford the accused the
necessary information to enable him to defend himself. The situation is different in the case at bar. The
time specified in the information of the present case states that rape was committed, "on (sic) 1991 and
the days thereafter." Clearly, the time set therein was particularly focused on a certain year, 1991, while
the succeeding words "and the days thereafter" simply referred to a limited number of days following the
year 1991. This is definitely a much shorter time than that involved in Dichao. Whereas in Dichao, only
one sexual intercourse was proven to have been committed, in the present case, the victim testified that
when she was barely thirteen (13) years old she was raped several times in a month which went on until
she became pregnant and delivered a child four years later. It cannot, therefore, be logically argued that
appellant was not sufficiently informed of the acts he was accused of to enable him to prepare his
defense.
At any rate, although the prosecution failed to specify the particular dates in 1991 when the sexual
assaults took place, we are convinced that it was able to establish the fact of rape. Thus, whatever
vagueness may have attended the information was clarified when Poblica testified that she was defiled by
appellant when she was barely 13 years old, having been born on 3 March
1978. 45 Poblica testified thus:
Fiscal Salcedo:
xxx xxx xxx
Q Now, will you recall that sometime when you were 13 years old if ever
your father Charito Isug Magbanua had sexually abused you?
A I was sexually abused when I was 13 years old. I am not yet having
(sic) my monthly menstrual period, sir.

Q Will you kindly tell us how did your father abused you?
A He was abusing me by poking me with a knife, sir.
Q Tell us, the first time that you were abused by your own father what
were you doing?
A I was crying, sir.
Q My question is, was it night time or day time that you were abused by
your father?
A Noon time, sir.
Q During that noon time what particular activity were you doing?
A None, sir.
Q Were you sleeping at that time?
FISCAL SALCEDO:
The witness has already stated, Your Honor please, that she did not even
finish grade I and she couldn't write her name and that neither she could
read. The way I appreciate the testimony of the witness, it would seem
that she could not catch my direct question, perhaps of low mental ability.
In view of this, predicament, Your Honor, may we request that we be
allowed to propound direct leading question.
xxx xxx xxx
COURT:
Your motion is granted.
FISCAL SALCEDO:
Q You were not doing anything during that noon time that your father first
sexually abused you?
A None, sir.
Q And your father poked a knife at you?
A Yes, sir.
Q And after your father poked the knife at you, he removed your
underwear?
A Yes, sir.

Q And after he removed your panty he laid you down?


A Yes, sir.
Q And he also removed his underwear?
A Yes, sir.
Q And he placed himself on top of you?
A Yes, sir.
Q Why did you not resist?
A Because the knife was poked at me that time, sir.
Q When he placed himself on top of you, he directed his penis into your
vagina, is it not?
A Yes, sir.
Q He pushed up and downward?
A Yes, sir.
Q And what did you feel when he was pushing up and downward?
A I felt pain, sir.
Q You feel (sic) that the private part of your father entered your private
part?
A Yes, sir.
Q What did you do at the time that your father was performing his sexual
act?
A I just cried, sir.
Q For how long did your father stay on top of you?
A "Sandali lang po", sir.
Q After your father perform (sic) that sexual intercourse what did he say if
he said anything?
A He told me not to report to anybody what he did to me, sir.
Q And after that he wore his underwear?
A Yes, sir.

Q How about you, what did you do?


A I also wore my underwear, sir.
Q But before you wore your underwear what did you notice in your
vagina?
A I felt pain, I did not notice anything, sir.
Q Was it bleeding?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now, thereafter, your father again sexually abused you?
A Yes, sir.
Q If you could remember, how many times did your father sexually
abused (sic) you in one month['s] time?
A Many times, sir.
Q What time of the day or night [did] your father usually abused (sic)
you?
A Noon time, sir.
Q Why, were was your mother during noon time?
A She is in the town, sir.
Q Why was she going to the town (sic)?
A She used to go to town to buy our needs, sir.
Q How about your sisters and brothers, where are (sic) they during the
time that your father was abusing you?
A They were staying in my grandmother's house, sir.
Q How far is the house of your grandmother from your house?
A It is quite far, sir.
Q Now, as a result of [the] sexual abuses made by your father to you,
what happened to you?
A I got pregnant, sir.
Q You got pregnant and you delivered a child?

A Yes, sir.
Q Do you remember when did you give birth?
A I can not remember, sir.
Q Is it not a fact that you gave birth on November 15, 1995?
A Yes, sir.
Q What is your baby, boy or girl?
A Boy, sir.
Q Who is the father of this baby boy that you delivered?
A Charito, sir.
Q Why do you say that it is Charito, your father who is the father of your
child?
A Because he was the one who sexually abused me, sir.
Q Do you want to tell us that from 1991 up to the time that you gave birth
to your baby boy your father regularly had sexual intercourse with your?
A Yes, sir. 46
Against this direct and categorical testimony of Poblica, appellant could only offer bare denial of the
commission of the crime. The Court has oft pronounced that denial, just like alibi, is insufficient to
overcome the positive identification made by the witness for the prosecution. 47 Denial is an inherently
weak defense which cannot prevail over the credible testimony of the witness that the accused committed
the crime charged. 48 It must be supported by strong evidence of non-culpability in order to merit
acceptability. 49 Appellant, in the present case, failed to discharge this burden. His lame attempt to shift
the blame to a certain Ricky Pacaul, who may not even exist, in order to exculpate himself, cannot save
him. Moreover, where there is no evidence to show any dubious reason or improper motive why a
prosecution witness would testify falsely against an accused or falsely implicate him in a heinous crime,
the testimony is worthy of full faith and credit. 50 Hence, appellant's denial must fail.
Nevertheless, in view of the circumstances surrounding his case, we sustain his second assignment of
error and hold that the trial court erred in imposing upon him the penalty of death by applying Republic Act
No. 7659 retroactively.
Republic Act No. 7659 took effect on 31 December 1993. 51 Accordingly, the said law only applies to
crimes defined therein, including rape, which were committed after its effectivity. It cannot be applied
retroactively because, to do so, would go against the constitutional prohibition on ex post facto laws. 52
For this reason, in order for the death penalty to be imposable, it is incumbent upon the prosecution to
establish beyond a shadow of doubt that the case of the accused is already covered by Republic Act No.
7659.
In the case at bar, the prosecution failed to discharge this burden. A perusal of the information reveals that
the alleged rapes were committed in "1991 and the days thereafter." Clearly, since the time frame

specified in the information antedates the effectivity date of Republic Act No. 7659, said law cannot be
made applicable to the case of appellant.
However, the trial court opined that the prosecution was able to establish the fact that Poblica was
continuously raped from 1991 until she gave birth, as a consequence of the successive rapes, on 15
November 1995. Thus, the lower court argued that since the last rape occurred in the early part of 1995,
which was approximately 280 days prior to the birth of the child, appellant's case was already covered by
the Death Penalty Law. We do not agree.
Art. 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 11 of R.A. 7659, provides in pertinent part:
Art. 335. When and how rape is committed.
xxx xxx xxx
The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the
following attendant circumstances:
1. When the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age
and the offender is a parent, ascendant, step-parent,
guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the
third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the
parent of the victim.
xxx xxx xxx
In People vs. Perez, 53 this Court has declared that the special circumstances of rape introduced by R.A.
7659, including the above which call for the automatic application of the penalty of death, partake of the
nature of qualifying circumstances since these circumstances increase the penalty of rape by one degree.
As such, these circumstances should be pleaded in the information in order to be appreciated in the
imposition of the proper penalty. Thus, the concurrence of the minority of the victim and her relationship to
the offender should be specifically alleged in the information conformably with the accused's right to be
informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. 54 In this case, although the minority of
Poblica and her relationship with appellant were established by the prosecution beyond doubt, the death
penalty cannot be imposed because these qualifying circumstances were not specified in the information.
It would be a denial of the right of the appellant to be informed of the charges against him, and
consequently, a denial of due process, if he is charged with simple rape and convicted of its qualified form
punishable by death although the attendant circumstances qualifying the offense and resulting in capital
punishment were not set forth in the indictment on which he was arraigned. 55 Therefore, despite the
many rapes committed by appellant he cannot be meted the supreme penalty. Accordingly, the penalty of
death imposed by the trial court must be reduced to reclusion perpetua. The Court, however, is
sentencing appellant to a single punishment of reclusion perpetua only because despite the several rapes
perpetrated by appellant on Poblica the information merely stated a lone allegation of rape. Appellant can
only be penalized correspondingly.
Concerning the damages imposable upon appellant, we sustain the lower court's award of P50,000.00 as
civil indemnity. However, we are giving Poblica an additional amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages,
without the necessity of
proof, 56 if being assumed that a victim of rape, such as her, suffered wounded feelings, besmirched
reputation and other moral injuries.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the court a quo is AFFIRMED, with the MODIFICATION that accusedappellant Charito Isug Magbanua is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to

indemnify the offended party, Poblica Magbanua, in the amount of P50,000.00, plus an additional amount
of P50,000.00, as moral damages, and to pay the costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-8781

March 30, 1914

THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
ANTONIO JAVIER DICHAO, defendant-appellee.
Attorney-General Villamor for appellant.
J. F. Yeager for appellee.
MORELAND, J.:
This is an appeal from an order of the Court of First Instance of the Fourteen Judicial District
sustaining a demurrer to a information and dismissing the case.
The information is as follows:
The undersigned accuses one Antonio Javier Dichao of the crime of rape, committed as
follows:
On or about and during the interval between October, 1910, to August, 1912, in the
municipality of Davao, District of Davao, Moro Province, P.I., the aforesaid accused did
then and there, willfully, maliciously, and feloniously have sexual intercourse with, and
did lie with, and carnally know a woman, Isabel de la Cruz, under 12 years of age, in the
following manner, to wit: the aforesaid accused is the stepfather of the aforesaid Isabel de
la Cruz and during the aforesaid period was the legal guardian of the said Isabel de la
Cruz; that by threats and corporal punishment upon said Isabel de la Cruz, the aforesaid
accused, Antonio Javier Dichao, had sexual intercourse with and did lie with and carnally
know said Isabel de la Cruz; as a result whereof the said Isabel de la Cruz gave birth on
August 5, 1912, to a child. All contrary to law.
The demurrer alleged:
That the facts therein set forth and contained do not constitute a public offense.
That the said criminal complaint does not conform substantially to the prescribed form.
That said complaint is vague and ambiguous.
We are of the opinion that the order appealed from must be affirmed. The allegations of an
information should, if possible, be sufficiently explicit and certain as to time to inform the

defendant of the date on which the criminal act is alleged to have been committed. Unless the
accused is informed of the day, or about the day, he may be, to an extent, deprived of the
opportunity to defend himself.
While section 7 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that "except when time is a material
ingredient of an offense, the precise time of commission need not be stated in a complaint or
information, but the cat may be alleged to have been committed at any time before the filing
thereof," this does not mean that the prosecuting officer may be careless about fixing the date of
the alleged crime, or that he may omit the date altogether, or that he may make the allegation so
indefinite as to amount to the same thing. Where the exact date cannot fixed, or where the
prosecuting officer is not thoroughly satisfied that he can prove a precise date, he should allege
in the information that the crime was committed on or about a date named. Under such
allegation he is not required to prove any precise date but may prove any date which is not so
remote as to surprise and prejudice the defendant. In case of surprise the court may allow an
amendment of information as to time and an adjournment to the accused, if necessary, to meet
the amendment.
In the case of United States vs. De Castro (2 Phil. Rep., 616), the information demurred to was as
follows:
The undersigned provincial fiscal accuses the defendant of the crime of bribery,
committed as follows:
That as municipal president of the town, in consideration of gifts of money, he permitted
opium joints and gambling houses. This contrary to the law.
Among the many defects of this information the court pointed out the following:
The complaint is also defective in not stating the time at which the offense occurred.
While it is not necessary, unless time is a material ingredient of the offense, that the
precise time of the commission of the offense should be stated, still the act should be
alleged to have been committed at some time before the filing of the complaint.
The decisions in the case of United States vs. Enriquez (1 Phil. Rep., 179), and United States vs.
Cardona (1 Phil. Rep., 381), are not in conflict with the doctrine herein laid down, nor with the
case of United States vs. De Castro from which the above quotation is made. In the first case the
information alleged that the estafa complained of was committed on the 20th of November 1897.
A demurrer was filed to the information on statutory grounds. It was overruled and the defendant
put upon trial. He was convicted and appealed to this court, bringing up on the appeal the
questions arising on the order overruling the demurrer as well as on the merits. It is clear that the
demurrer did not raise, so far as the information is concerned, the question of time, as in the case
at bar, as the precise date upon which the crime was alleged to have been committed was set out
in the information. The questions presented to the Supreme Court was, therefore, not whether the
information alleged the time with sufficiently certainty. The question in the case was whether the
allegations of the complaint sufficiently notified the defendant "of the transaction from which it
is claimed the crime results, so that he can prepare his defense." The discussion in that case

turned on whether the defendant, after reading the complaint, was able to tell "to what acts of his
done in the past the complaint refers." In determining the question the court discussed, among
other things, the allegation with reference to the time when the estafa was committed. In the
connection it was said:
In this complaint the estafa is alleged to have been committed on November 20, 1897.
Time, however, was not a material ingredient in the offense of estafa here charged, and
under the provisions of article 7 of General Orders, No. 58, that date need not have been
alleged.
After discussing the various elements of an information charging estafa necessary to identify the
acts which constitutes the crime, thereby notifying the defendant of the precise act of his
complained of, the court concluded: "It is plain that the complaint did not restrict the
Government to proof of any defined specific transaction, and consequently that the defendant
had no notice of the transaction which was to be investigated."
In the Cardona case the theft of a carabao was alleged in the information to have taken place on
the 25th of March of a certain year. The evidence introduced showed that the crime was
committed on the 5th day or 6th of March of the same year. The defendant in his brief claimed
that the evidence introduced should have been restricted to the date mentioned in the
information, or the 25th of March.
The court in response to this contention said: "The testimony as to the whereabouts of the
defendant on March 25 was unimportant, as the evidence shows that the robbery was committed
about the 5th or 6th of March. The defendant in his briefs claimed that the evidence should be
restricted to the date mentioned in the complaint, which was the 25th of March. In this case,
however, the date was not a material ingredient of the offense, and under the provisions of
section 7 of General Orders, No. 58, the Government was not limited in its proof to the date
stated therein."
In these two cases, therefore, different questions are presented from those found in the case
before us. In the first case the question of time is alleged in the information was discussed in an
accidental way for the sole purpose of determining whether it of itself, or in connection with the
other allegations, sufficiently identified the transaction which it was claimed constituted the
estafa, so as to notify the defendant of the transaction referred to. the other allegations of the
information not being sufficient of themselves to do so. In the Cardona case the question was
raised by demurrer. The allegation in the information as to the time when the crime was
committed was definite and certain. The only question raised on the appeal related to the alleged
variance between the date of the crime as alleged in the information and that proved on the trial.
In that case, as we have seen, the court said that, the time alleged not being, under section 7, a
material ingredient of the offense, it did not have to proved as laid. It did not hold that, if it had
appeared to the trial court, on the trial, that the variance between the allegation of the information
and the proof on the trial had been such as to surprise the defendant and prejudice him in his
defense, the court would not have been authorized to amend the information and to grant an
adjournment, if necessary, to give the defendant an opportunity to meet the charge as amended.

The same remarks apply to the case of United States vs. Arcos (11 Phil. Rep., 555), where the
information alleged "that between the 2d and the 15th of August, 1906," the accused committed
the crime described therein; and the case of United States vs. Smith (3 Phil. Rep., 20), in which
the information charged "that the accused, in the month of December last," committed the crime
therein set forth.
The question whether the allegations of the information are sufficiently definite as to time and
question which arises on a variance between the allegations and the proof are different in nature
and legal effect, and are decided on different principles.
In the case before us the statement of the time when the crime is alleged to have been committed
is so indefinite and uncertain that it does not give the accused the information required by law. To
allege in an information that the accused committed rape on a certain girl between October,
1910, and August, 1912, is too indefinite to give the accused an opportunity to prepare his
defense, and that indefiniteness is not curd by setting out the date when a child was born as a
result of such crime. Section 7 of the Code of Criminal 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 actual date as the information of the prosecuting officer will permit, and when that has
been done by any date may be prove which does not surprise and substantially prejudice the
defense. It does not authorize the total omission of a date of such an indefinite allegation with
reference thereto as amounts to the same thing.
As before intimated, we are not to be understood as saying that a variance between the date of
the commission of the crime as alleged in the information and that as proved on the trial warrants
necessarily the acquittal of the accused. The result of what we intend to say is that, if such a
variance occurs and it is shown to the trial court that the defendant is surprised thereby, and that,
by reason of that surprise, he is unable to defend himself properly, the court may, in the excercise
of sound discretion based n all the circumstances, order the information amended so as to set
forth the correct date and may grant an adjournment for such length of time as will enable the
defendant to prepare himself to meet the variance in the date which was the cause of surprise.
The judgment appealed from is affirmed.

G.R. No. 137762-65

March 27, 2001

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
REYNALDO BARES y LONGASA, accused-appellant.
MENDOZA, J.:
These cases are here on automatic review from the decision,1 dated January 28, 1999, of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 64, Labo, Camarines Norte, finding accused-appellant Reynaldo
Bares y Longasa guilty of four counts of rape against his daughter Maribel Bares and sentencing

him to death and ordering him to pay the complainant for each count of rape the amount of
P50,000.00 as moral damages and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages and to pay the costs.
In Criminal Case No. 96-0079, the information alleged:
That on or about 1:00 oclock in the early morning of September 8, 1995 at Barangay
Dalas, municipality of Labo, province of Camarines Norte, and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused motivated by bestial lust and by means
of force and intimidation, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously have
carnal knowledge [of] one Maribel D. Bares, a minor fifteen years of age who is his own
daughter and that thereafter, the said dastardly act was repeated two more times on the
same early morning, to the damage and prejudice of the offended party.1wphi1.nt
CONTRARY TO LAW.2
In Criminal Case No. 96-0080, the information stated:
That on or about 1:00 oclock in the early morning of October 21, 1995 at Barangay
Dalas, municipality of Labo, province of Camarines Norte, and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, motivated by bestial lust and by means
of force and intimidation, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously have
carnal knowledge [of] one Maribel D. Bares, a minor fifteen years of age who is his own
daughter, to the damage and prejudice of the offended party.
CONTRARY TO LAW.3
In Criminal Case No.96-0081, the information averred:
That on or about 3:00 o'clock in the early morning of October 22, 1995, at Barangay
Dalas, municipality of Labo, province of Camarines Norte, and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, motivated by bestial lust and by means
of force and intimidation, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously have
carnal knowledge [of] one Maribel D. Bares, a minor fifteen years of age who is his own
daughter, to the damage and prejudice of the offended party.
CONTRARY TO LAW.4
In Criminal Case No.96-0082, the information asserted:
That on or about 2:00 o'clock in the early morning of October 20, 1995 Oat Barangay
Dalas, municipality of Labo, province of Camarines Norte and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused urged by his bestial lust, unlawfully,
feloniously, and criminally, did then and there, commit sexual intercourse with his own
daughter, Maribel Bares, a girl 15 years [of age] and while on [the] family way with
seven (7) months pregnancy against the will of said Maribel Bares to her damage and
prejudice.

CONTRARY TO LA W.5
When arraigned on June 3, 1996, accused-appellant pleaded not guilty to the charges against
him,6 and the cases were then jointly tried.
Three witnesses, namely, complainant Maribel Bares, her aunt Nenita Bares,7 and Dr. Marcelito
Abas, medico-legal officer of the Camarines Norte Provincial Hospital, testified for the
prosecution. Their testimonies established the following facts:
Complainant is the daughter of accused-appellant Reynaldo Bares and his wife, Predisminda
Dasco. She finished only the fourth grade of elementary school. When she was studying, her
family lived in her grandmother's house in Sta. Elena. Later on, after her mother left for Manila,
complainant and her brother lived with accused-appellant in Barangay Dalas, Labo, Camarines
Norte.8
Prior to September 8, 1995, complainant ran away with her boyfriend, Artemio Bola, and went to
Mabilo I, Labo, Camarines Norte. She stayed there until she became pregnant by him. On
September 8, 1995, accused-appellant went to Artemio Bola's house and fetched complainant so
she could go back with him to Barangay Dalas, Labo, Camarines Norte. By that time,
complainant was already eight months pregnant.9
At around 1 o'clock in the morning of September 9, 1995,10 complainant Maribel Bares was
sleeping in their house in Barangay Dalas, Labo, Camarines Norte when she was awakened by
accused-appellant. Complainant woke up to find that her hands and feet had been tied. She
noticed that she only had her panty on. Upon discovering that complainant had woken up,
accused-appellant removed her panty, went on top of her, and succeeded in having sexual
intercourse with her. As she was already eight months pregnant when she was raped by accusedappellant, complainant felt pain on her shoulder and pelvis. Complainant was raped by accusedappellant thrice that day.11
On October 20, 1995, complainant was again raped by her father in their house in Barangay
Dalas. He got angry when she did not remove her panty, and he even kicked her. Nevertheless,
accused-appellant succeeded in having sexual intercourse with complainant. The following day,
October 21, 1995, accused-appellant once more forced complainant to have sex with him.
Accused-appellant raped Maribel for the last time on October 22, 1995. She was already nine
months pregnant at that time. During the occasions she was raped by accused-appellant,
complainant was left alone with accused-appellant in their house because her mother and sister
were staying in Manila.12
On October 23, 1995, complainant went to the house of Nenita Bares, sister of accusedappellant, in Masalong, Labo, Camarines Norte and told the latter about what accused-appellant
had done to her. Complainant then asked her aunt to file a complaint against accused-appellant so
Nenita accompanied her to the Camarines Norte Provincial Command of the Philippine National
Police in Dogongan, Daet, Camarines Norte. At the police headquarters, complainant gave her
statement to the investigating officer. She also submitted herself to physical examination in the
Camarines Norte Provincial Hospital.13

On the same day, October 23, 1995, Dr. Marcelito Abas conducted a physical examination of
complainant Maribel Abas which yielded the following results:
Genital Exam:
= Multiple hymenal lacerations;
= Admits two fingers with ease;
= Pregnant nine (9) months;
= Negative for Physical injuries;14
Dr. Abas testified that the multiple hymenal lacerations meant that complainant had sexual
intercourse several times. He explained that the opening of the vagina is closed when a woman is
a virgin, but when the vagina admits two fingers with ease, as in complainant's case, this could
only mean that penetration of the vagina had already occurred. As the victim was already nine
months pregnant at the time of the examination, Dr. Abas confirmed that the pregnancy was not
caused by the rapes that began in September 1995. However, he said that a woman would still be
capable of engaging in sexual intercourse even if she was already eight months pregnant. He
added that the presence of lacerations in the vagina does not preclude voluntariness on the part of
the woman in engaging in sexual intercourse.15
The defense then presented as witnesses accused-appellant himself, his son Reynaldo Bares, Jr.,
and his landlady Lydia Espina.
Accused-appellant admitted that complainant Maribel Bares is his daughter but denied that he
raped her. He claimed that he was working as a driver and helper at the Uniphil at the time of the
alleged rapes. At around 1 o'clock in the morning of September 8, 1995, he said he and his son
Reynaldo Bares, Jr., went to the warehouse of Uniphil to load copra and later proceeded to San
Pedro, Panganiban. On October 20, 1995, he went to the worksite at San Pedro, Panganiban and,
upon arriving there, loaded copra. He finished loading copra only at 12 noon of the same day. He
went back to Labo, Camarines Norte at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. The next day, October 21,
1995, he again went to San Pedro, Panganiban and returned to the Uniphil compound in Labo,
Camarines Norte at around 4 o'clock in the afternoon. At 1 o'clock in the early morning of
October 22, 1995, he went to San Pedro, Panganiban to load copra and came back to Labo,
Camarines Norte at around 3 o'clock in the afternoon of October 23, 1995. He testified that his
wife and daughter were angry at him because he discovered that they had been fooling around
with other men as a result of which both became pregnant. He claimed that because of this, he
maltreated his wife and daughter. He likewise stated that his sister Nenita Bares was angry at him
because she tolerated and even helped cover up his wife's and daughter's activities. Accusedappellant testified that his sister was also interested in appropriating for herself a piece of land
left by their parents.16

Reynaldo Bares, Jr. corroborated accused-appellant's testimony that he was with the latter during
the time of the alleged rapes.17 On cross-examination, however, he admitted that he testified
accordingly only because he had been asked to do so by accused-appellant.18
Lydia Espina likewise corroborated accused-appellant's testimony. According to her, accusedappellant was not in the house during the times of the alleged rapes as he left for work early in
the morning. She also testified that Maribel Bares was not staying in their house on October 21,
1995 as the latter lived in the house of her supposed sister-in- law in front of the Camarines
Norte College.19
On January 28, 1999, the trial court rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which states:
WHEREFORE, IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING PREMISES, JUDGMENT is
hereby rendered finding accused REYNALDO BARES, SR. Y LONGASA, GUILTY
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of four (4) counts of rape as defined and penalized
under par. 3, Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Sec. 11 of Republic Act
No. 7659 (Death Penalty Law) and accordingly, sentencing him to suffer the supreme
penalty of DEA TH in each of the four (4) separate crimes of rape committed on
September 8, 1995 and October 21, 22 and 23, respectively, all in 1995, and to pay the
victim in the amount of P50,000.00 each for four (4) separate crimes of rape with a total
of P200,000.00 as moral damages pursuant to Article 2219 (3) in relation to Article 2217
of the New Civil Code and P30,000.00 each for four (4) separate crimes of rape or a total
of P120,000.00 as exemplary damages; and to pay the costs.
SO ORDERED:
Accused-appellant now makes the following assignment of errors:
I. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN ACCORDING WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO
THE TESTIMONIES OF THE TWO KEY PROSECUTION WITNESSES, MARIBEL
BARES AND NENITA [BARES], DESPITE THERE BEING ILL MOTIVE ON THEIR
PART TO IMPUTE ACCUSATORY CHARGES AGAINST THE A CCUSEDAPPELLANT.
II. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT
GUILTY OF RAPE IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT THE MEDICAL FINDINGS DO
NOT CLEARLY SUPPORT SUCH A CONCLUSION AND THE ALLEGATIONS
RAISED BY THE SUPPOSED VICTIM ARE INHERENTLY FLA WED.
III. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN SENTENCING ACCUSED-APPELLANT TO
DEATH, ALTHOUGH THE MINORITY OF THE ALLEGED VICTIM WAS NEVER
DULY PROVEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DOCTRINE LAID DOWN IN
PEOPLE VS. AMADO SANDRIAS JAVIER.21
First. Accused-appellant questions the probative value of the testimonies of Nenita Bares and Dr.
Marcelito Abas. He claims that Dr. Abas' testimony does not establish that he (accused-appellant)

had raped complainant as she was already pregnant at the time Dr. Abas examined her. Nor can
Nenita Bares' testimony be given evidentiary weight, accused-appellant argues, because Nenita
had only been told about the rape incidents by complainant.22
To be sure, a medical certificate is not necessary to prove the commission of rape. Indeed, the
purpose of Nenita Bares' testimony is not to corroborate complainant as to the commission of the
rapes but only to prove that the latter told her aunt what had happened to her and that she and her
aunt reported the matter to the authorities afterwards.
The prosecution of rape cases is anchored mainly on the credibility of the complaining witness.
Generally, the nature of the offense is such that the only evidence that can prove the guilt of the
accused is the testimony of the complainant herself.23 Hence, in deciding rape cases, this Court
has been guided by the following principles: (1) an accusation for rape can be made with facility;
it is difficult to prove but more difficult for the person accused, though innocent, to disprove it;
(2) in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime, where two persons are usually involved, the
testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with extreme caution; and (3) the evidence for
the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits and cannot be allowed to draw strength from
the weakness of the evidence for the defense.24
It is well settled that the accused in a rape case may be convicted solely on the testimony of the
complaining witness, provided that such is credible, natural, convincing, and otherwise
consistent with human nature and the normal course of things.25 In this case, Maribel testified in
a direct, unequivocal, and consistent manner with regard to the rapes committed by accusedappellant:
Q Sometime on September 8, 1995, while you and your father were staying in Dalas,
Labo, Camarines Norte, in the morning at around 1:00 o'clock, do you remember [an]
unusual incident that happened to you?
A Yes, sir.
Q What happened to you?
A I was raped, sir.
Q Who raped you?
A My father, sir.
Q What is his name?
A Reynaldo Bares, sir.
Q At that time, where was your mother then?
A In Manila, sir.

Q How did the accused, Reynaldo Bares, your own father , raped you?
A I was asleep, sir.
Q Then, while you were asleep, what happened to you?
A I noticed that I was already tied, sir.
Q What part of your body was tied?
A My two hands were tied and separated and my two feet were also tied and separated,
sir.
Q What were you wearing then at that time?
A I was wearing my panty, sir.
(The witness' answer to the question is punctuated by sobs and cries.)
Q After you were tied by your father, what did your father do to you?
A He immediately went on top of me, sir.
Q Were you still wearing your panty?
A No longer, sir.
Q Who removed your panty?
A My father, sir.
Q While your father was on top of you, what did you do?
A I was already raped, sir.
Q How did he rape you?
A He was already on top of me and he was so heavy , sir.
Q Did you feel pain?
A Yes, sir.
Q What part of your body was painful?
A My shoulder and my pelvis, sir.

(At this point [in] time, the witness is already crying.)


Q How about your sexual organ, what did you feel?
A It's painful, sir.
Q Why was it painful?
A It's painful, sir.
Q What was the cause of the pain?
A My father put his penis [into] my vagina, sir.
Q How long did your father place his penis inside your vagina?
A Thrice within a night, sir.
Q How do you call your father?
A I would not call him anything, sir. ("Wala po akong itatawag d'yan.")
(The witness answered in a [sarcastic] voice.)
Q Now, while your father was on top of you and his penis penetrated your vagina, what
did you tell your father?
A I told him to remove it, .but he did not, sir.
Q Now, how about on October 20, 1995, while you were in your house in Brgy. Dalas, do
you remember anything out of ordinary that happened to you?
A Yes, sir.
Q What happened to you?
A I was raped, sir.
Q Who sexually abused you?
A My father, sir.
Q What's his name?
A Reynaldo Bares, sir.

Q How did the accused, your own father, sexually abuse you?
A He was always angry with me if I do not remove my panty. He used to kick me, sir.
(At this point [in] time, the witness is again crying.)
Q Can you continue testifying?
A Yes, sir.
Q On October 20, 1995, where was your mother then at that time?
A She was in Manila together with my sister, sir.
Q When your mother left for Manila, who was left in your house at Brgy. Dalas?
A My father and I, sir.
Q On October 21, 1995, also in the morning at around 1:00 o'clock, do you remember
what happened to you in your house at Brgy. Dalas?
A Yes, sir.
Q What happened to you?
A He raped me, sir.
Q How did your father sexually abuse you?
A I was tied by my father, sir.
Q Was your father able to penetrate his penis [into] your vagina?
A Yes, sir.
Q How about on October 22, 1995 in the morning also, what happened to you in your
house in Brgy. Dalas?
A I was raped by my father, sir.
Q Was your father able to penetrate his penis into your vagina?
A Yes, sir. It's big, sir.
Q At that time on October 22, 1995, where was your mother then at that time?

A She was in Manila, sir.


Q Whenever your father sexually abused you, what did you tell him, if any?
A I don't like it, sir, but he insisted.
Q When did your mother arrive from Manila?
A It was a long time already, sir.
Q Do you know who filed a complaint against your father by reason of the sexual ordeal
that you have suffered from your own father?
A I myself, sir.
Q Who initiated in filing the complaint?
A I was accompanied by my auntie, sir.
Q Where?
A To the Provincial Command in Dogongan, sir.
Q What is the name of your auntie?
A Nenita Bares, sir.
Q By the way, after your father have sexually abused you on different occasions, did you
submit yourself for genital examination of your genital organ?
A Yes, sir.
Q To what hospital did you go?
A Camarines None Provincial Hospital, sir.26
Thus, with tears in her eyes, Maribel told of how accused-appellant, her own father, bound her
hands and legs, removed her underwear, and forced himself upon her the first time he raped her.
She described how accused-appellant, by employing force and instilling fear in her, succeeded in
having repeated sexual intercourse with her. Lastly, Maribel narrated how she, unwilling to
endure more of her father's abuse, finally told her aunt what accused-appellant had been doing to
her and willingly subjected herself to medical examination.
Indeed, Maribel's tale of accused-appellant's sexual abuse bears the earmarks of truth and candor.
The tears she shed during her testimony further enhance her credibility as they indicate the
outrage and distress she felt over what accused-appellant had done to her.27 This Court is hard put

to dismiss the testimony of a girl who is a victim of sexual assault, particularly if it constitutes
incestuous rape, as a mere concoction. For normally, no person would disclose the fact that she
had been raped, subject herself to medical examination, and willingly undergo the humiliation of
a public trial and testify on the details of her ordeal, especially at the hands of her father, were it
not the truth.28
Accused-appellant, however, questions the veracity of complainant's testimony by pointing out
the inconsistency in her testimony as to when she was first raped. He argues that it was
physically impossible for her to have been raped early in the morning of September 8, 1995 as
she stated that she was fetched by him on the same day in the house of Artemio Bola.29
We have time and again ruled that it is not unnatural for a rape victim, especially one who is of
tender age, to make inconsistent statements. But so long as the testimony is consistent on
material points, slightly conflicting statements will not undermine the witness' credibility nor the
veracity of her testimony. They in fact tend to buttress, rather than impair, her credibility as they
erase any suspicion of a rehearsed testimony.30
In this case, Maribel's testimony made it clear that she was raped by accused-appellant for the
first time after the latter had fetched her from her boyfriend's house on September 8, 1995. When
the rape occurred at around 1 o'clock early the following morning, it was still dark and
complainant had just been awakened by accused-appellant. It is thus understandable for her to be
disoriented and think, however erroneously, that the first rape occurred on the day she was
fetched by accused-appellant.31
A witness is not expected to remember with perfect recollection every minute detail of her
harrowing experience. A minor mistake as to the exact time of the commission of the rape is
immaterial and cannot discredit the testimony of a witness.32 We have repeatedly held that the
exact date of the commission of the rape is not an essential element of the crime. What is
decisive in a rape charge is that the commission of the rape by accused-appellant against
complainant has been sufficiently proven. Inconsistencies and discrepancies as to minor matters
which are irrelevant to the elements of the crime cannot be considered grounds for acquittal.
Thus, accused-appellant can be validly convicted under the information in Criminal Case No. 960079 alleging that he committed rape on September 8, 1995 even if it appears that the actual date
is September 9, 1995.33
Neither can accused-appellant's attempt to cast aspersions on complainant's moral character free
him from criminal liability. In rape cases, the moral character of the victim is immaterial. Rape
may be committed not only against single women and children but also against those who are
married, middle-aged, or pregnant. Even a prostitute may be a victim of rape.34 Nor is it relevant
to discuss the paternity of Maribel's child. The question of who fathered complainant's child has
no bearing on rape cases, pregnancy not being an element of the crime.35
Accused-appellant likewise contends that he could not have raped complainant on October 20,
21, and 22, 1995 as the latter was already nine months pregnant at that time. He states that Dr.
Marcelito Abas, the medico-legal officer who conducted the examination of the complainant,

testified that a pregnant woman could engage in sexual intercourse only up to the eighth month
of her pregnancy.36
This contention must fail. That complainant was already pregnant before the commission of the
first rape does not belie her testimony that accused-appellant raped her.37 Indeed, while married
couples may abstain from contact after the eighth month of pregnancy of the wife, no such rule
applies to rape which may still be committed despite the fact that the victim is already eight
months pregnant.38
Furthermore, contrary to accused-appellant's representation, Dr . Marcelito Abas testified:
Q Doctor, if a woman is on the family way at around eight (8) months, is the woman still
susceptible to have a sexual intercourse?
A Yes, sir.39
Accused-appellant claims, however, that complainant bore a grudge against him because he left
her mother and often maltreated her. He contends that complainant, with hatred in her heart,
fabricated lies against him and implicated him for crimes he did not commit.40
Accused-appellant's contention is without merit. It strains credulity for accused-appellant to say
that his maltreatment of his daughter and separation from his wife propelled complainant to
accuse him of crimes that could possibly cost him his life. Moreover, no woman, especially one
who is of tender age, would concoct a story of defloration, allow an examination of her private
parts, and thereafter make herself subject to a public trial if she was not motivated solely by the
desire to have the guilty brought to justice.41 Furthermore, a rape victim's testimony against her
father is entitled to greater weight because it is deeply ingrained in our culture to revere and
respect our elders. Hence, absent any evidence to show that complainant had an improper motive
to falsely testify against accused-appellant, her testimony is deemed credible and trustworthy.42
In contrast to complainant's credible and consistent testimony, accused-appellant could only offer
the defenses of denial and alibi. Denial is an intrinsically weak defense which must be supported
by strong evidence of non-culpability to merit credibility.43 It is negative self-serving evidence
which cannot be given greater weight than the testimony of a credible witness who testified on
affirmative matters. Between the positive declarations of a prosecution witness and the negative
statements of the accused, the former deserve more credence.44
With respect to accused-appellant's alibi, we hold that such defense cannot prevail over
complainant's positive identification of accused- appellant as her rapist.45
It is noteworthy that the witnesses who corroborated accused-appellant's alibi are his son and
landlady, who are evidently biased witnesses. A witness is considered biased when his relation to
the cause or to the parties is such that he has an incentive to exaggerate or give false color to his
statements, to suppress or to pervert the truth, or to state what is false.46 In this case, Reynaldo
Bares, Jr. admitted that accused-appellant had instructed him to testify in these cases and that he
did so out of filial obedience.47 On the other hand, Lydia Espina testified that she usually went to

sleep between 9 to 10 o'clock in the evening and woke up at around 4 o'clock in the morning.48
Hence, she could not have known if accused-appellant did not arrive home in the early morning
on the days the rapes were committed. Moreover, Espina's testimony, full of gaps and
uncertainties, cannot be deemed worthy of belief.
In sum, what accused-appellant raises are issues of credibility, which are best left for
determination by the trial court which had the opportunity of observing the behavior and
demeanor of the witnesses while testifying.49 Unless there are facts or circumstances of weight
and influence which were misconstrued or overlooked by the trial court, its findings and
conclusions concerning the credibility of witnesses must be accorded respect and should not be
disturbed on appeal.50
Second. But although accused-appellant is guilty of four counts of rape, we agree with him that
he cannot be sentenced to death because the minority of the victim, which is a special qualifying
circumstance, was not established by the prosecution.51 Art. 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended by R.A. No. 7659, provides:
The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the
following attendant circumstances:
1. When the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent,
ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third
civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim.
To justify the imposition of the death penalty, therefore, the circumstances of the minority of the
victim and her relationship with the offender must both be alleged in the information and proved
in court.52 The minority of the victim must be proved with equal certainty as the commission of
the crime itself.53
While the relationship of complainant to accused-appellant has been alleged and proved, no
proof was presented by the prosecution to establish the minority of complainant at the time of the
commission of the crime. Neither complainant nor her aunt testified as to the former's age. The
birth certificate of complainant was not offered in evidence to prove her age. Accordingly, the
death penalty cannot be imposed on accused-appellant.
In addition, the trial court erred in convicting accused-appellant only of four counts of rape,
corresponding to the number of informations filed against him. In must be noted that in Criminal
Case No. 96-0079, the information against accused-appellant alleged that "the above-named
accused motivated by bestial lust and by means of force and intimidation, did then and there,
wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously have carnal knowledge on one Maribel D. Bares, a minor
fifteen years of age who is his own daughter and that thereafter, the said dastardly act was
repeated two more times on the same early morning, to the damage and prejudice of the offended
party."54 The wording of the information is thus clear. Accused-appellant raped complainant not
once but thrice.

Under Rule 110, 13 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, "[a] complaint or information
must charge only one offense, except when the law prescribes a single punishment for various
offenses." While this may be so, accused-appellant failed to timely question the defect in the
information in Criminal Case No. 96-0079, and he may be deemed to have waived his objection
to the multiplicity of charges.55 Accused-appellant may thus be convicted of as many offenses as
are charged and proven, and the appropriate penalty may be imposed on him for each and every
one of them.56
Complainant testified that she was raped by her father three times one early September
morning.57 There being no question as to complainant's credibility, sufficient evidence exists to
prove beyond reasonable doubt that accused-appellant is guilty of three counts of rape, not
merely one, under Criminal Case No. 96-0079.
Anent the damages awarded to complainant, we find the award of P50,000.00 as moral damages
for each count of rape to be in accord with our rulings.58 Moral damages are awarded in rape
cases without need of proof other than the fact of rape itself because it is assumed that the victim
has suffered moral injuries entitling her to such an award.59 An additional award of P50,000.00 as
indemnity for each count of rape should, however, be given complainant in consonance with
current jurisprudence.60 The award of exemplary damages in the amount of P30,000.00 should
also be sustained considering that the generic aggravating circumstance of relationship has been
established.61
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 64, Labo, Camarines Norte, is
hereby AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATIONS that accused-appellant is found guilty of six (6)
counts of rape against his daughter Maribel Bares and for each count is hereby sentenced to
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay complainant P50,000.00 as civil indemnity in
addition to the awards of moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00 and exemplary damages in
the amount of P30,000.00 for each count of rape.
SO ORDERED.