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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs.

RUFINO UMANITO

G.R. No. 172607, October 26, 2007

RESOLUTION
On appeal is the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 15 February 2006, affirming the Judgment of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bauang, La Union, Branch 67 dated 15 October 1997 finding Rufino Umanito (appellant)
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape, sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and
ordering him to indemnify the private complainant in the sum of P50,000.00.
On 9 January 1990, appellant was charged with the crime of rape in a Criminal Complaint which reads:
That on or about 9:00 P.M. of July 15, 1989, at Brgy[.] Daramuangan, Municipality of Naguilian,
Province of La Union, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused who was armed with a fan knife and by means of force and threats, did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously succeeded in having a sexual intercourse to [sic] the undersigned
who is unmarried woman of good reputation, a woman who is over 12 but below 18 years old [sic] of
age, to the damage and prejudice of the offended party.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
It was only five (5) years later, or sometime in 1995, that appellant was arrested. It took place when he went to
the Municipal Hall of Naguilian to secure a police clearance.
On arraignment, appellant pleaded not guilty.
The appellate courts chronicle of the facts is as follows:
It was around 9:00 oclock in the evening of July 15, 1989, while on her way to her
grandmothers home, when private complainant [AAA] was accosted by a young male. It was only
later when she learned the name of accused-appellant UMANITO. She recounted that accusedappellant UMANITO waited for her by the creek, and then with a knife pointed at [AAA]s left side of
the [sic] abdomen, he forced her to give in to his kisses, to his holding her breasts and stomach, and
to his pulling her by the arm to be dragged to the Home Economics Building inside the premises of the
Daramuangan Elementary School where accused-appellant UMANITO first undressed her [AAA] and
himself with his right hand while he still clutched the knife menacingly on his left hand. Private
complainant [AAA] recounted that she could not shout because she was afraid. She further recounted
that accused-appellant UMANITO laid her down on a bench, 4 meters long and 24 inches wide, set the
knife down, then mounted her, inserting his penis into her [AAAs] vagina and shortly thereafter,
accused-appellant UMANITO dressed up and threatened [AAA] while poking the knife at her neck, not
to report the incident to the police or else he said he would kill her. Accused-appellant UMANITO then
left, while the victim [AAA] went on to her grandmothers house and she noticed that it was already
around 1:00 oclock in the morning when she reached there.
In January 1990, 6 months after the incident, private complainant [AAAs] mother,
[BBB], noticed the prominence on [AAA]s stomach. It was only then when the victim, private
complainant [AAA], divulged to her mother the alleged rape and told her the details of what had
happened in July, [sic] 1989. After hearing private complainant [AAA]s story, her mother brought her
to the police station.
Appellants version on the stand was different. Denying the accusations of AAA, he claimed that on 15 July
1989, he was home the whole day, helping his family complete rush work on picture frames ordered from Baguio. He
did not step out of their house on the evening in question, he added. Concerning his relationship with AAA, appellant
admitted that he had courted her but she spurned him. He conjectured, though, that AAA had a crush on him since she
frequently visited him at his house.
Finding that the prosecution had proven appellants guilt beyond reasonable doubt, the RTC rendered
judgment against him and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to indemnify AAA in the sum
of P50,000.00. In so doing, the court a quo held that the discrepancies in AAAs testimony did not impair her credibility.
Despite some inconsistencies in her statement, the RTC observed that AAAs demeanor on the witness stand did not
indicate any falsehood in her narration.
The trial court likewise rejected appellants defense of alibi, ruling that he did not prove that it was physically
impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime given the testimonies that he and complainant were residing in the
same barrio.
Pursuant to our ruling in People v. Mate,o appellants appeal before us was transferred to the Court of Appeals
for intermediate review. On 15 February 2006, the appellate court affirmed the challenged decision. Finding AAA to be
a credible witness, the Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that the inconsistencies in her statements were too
trivial and inconsequential to impair the credibility of her testimony.
In this appeal, appellant seeks his acquittal on reasonable doubt by reason of the belated filing of the case
against him and the questionable credibility of AAA with respect to her varying allegations.
Appellant asserts that the court a quo erred in giving full faith and credence to the testimony of the
complaining witness and in not acquitting him on reasonable doubt. He avers that apparently AAA filed the complaint
against him only upon the prodding of her mother. This aspect, appellant insists, negates AAAs claim that he was the
one who raped her but rather supports his assertion that the sexual congress AAA engaged in was with another man,
her real lover who was married to another woman. Appellant further puts in issue the long delay in AAAs filing of the
complaint.
Appellant capitalizes on the alleged serious inconsistencies in AAAs assertions, and further characterizes her
actions and contentions as incredible and unnatural. In particular, appellant highlights AAAs contradictory
declarations on when she met appellant and the nature of their relationship. He also alludes to AAAs purportedly

inconsistent statements on whether it was appellant or she herself, upon his orders, who took off her clothes. Finally,
appellant points out the supposedly conflicting assertions of AAA on whether it was at the creek or in the school
building that he kissed her face and other parts of her body.
Once again, this Court is called upon to determine whether the prosecution has successfully met the level of
proof needed to find appellant guilty of the crime of rape.
Among the many incongruent assertions of the prosecution and the defense, the disharmony on a certain point
stands out. Appellant, on one hand, testified that although he had courted AAA, they were not sweethearts. Therefore,
this testimony largely discounts the possibility of consensual coitus between him and AAA. On the other, AAA made
contradictory allegations at the preliminary investigation and on the witness stand with respect to the nature of her
relationship with appellant. First, she claimed that she met appellant only on the day of the purported rape; later, she
stated that they were actually friends; and still later, she admitted that they were close.
Amidst the slew of assertions and counter-assertions, a happenstance may provide the definitive key to the
absolution of the appellant. This is the fact that AAA bore a child as a result of the purported rape. With the advance in
genetics and the availability of new technology, it can now be determined with reasonable certainty whether appellant
is the father of AAAs child. If he is not, his acquittal may be ordained. We have pronounced that if it can be
conclusively determined that the accused did not sire the alleged victims child, this may cast the shadow of
reasonable doubt and allow his acquittal on this basis. If he is found not to be the father, the finding will at least weigh
heavily in the ultimate decision in this case. Thus, we are directing appellant, AAA and AAAs child to submit
themselves to deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing under the aegis of the New Rule on DNA Evidence (the Rules),
which took effect on 15 October 2007, subject to guidelines prescribed herein.
DNA print or identification technology is now recognized as a uniquely effective means to link a suspect to a
crime, or to absolve one erroneously accused, where biological evidence is available. For purposes of criminal
investigation, DNA identification is a fertile source of both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence. It can aid immensely
in determining a more accurate account of the crime committed, efficiently facilitating the conviction of the guilty,
securing the acquittal of the innocent, and ensuring the proper administration of justice in every case. Verily, as we
pointed out in People v. Yatar, the process of obtaining such vital evidence has become less arduous
The U.P. National Science Research Institute (NSRI), which conducted the DNA tests in this
case, used the Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification method by Short Tandem Repeat (STR)
analysis. With PCR testing, tiny amounts of a specific DNA sequence can be copied exponentially within
hours. Thus, getting sufficient DNA for analysis has become much easier since it became possible to
reliably amplify small samples using the PCR method.
The ground work for acknowledging the strong weight of DNA testing was first laid out in Tijing v. Court of
Appeals, where the Court saidx x x Parentage will still be resolved using conventional methods unless we adopt the modern
and scientific ways available. Fortunately, we have now the facility and expertise in using DNA test for
identification and parentage testing. The University of the Philippines Natural Science Research
Institute (UP-NSRI) DNA Analysis Laboratory has now the capability to conduct DNA typing using short
tandem repeat (STR) analysis. The analysis is based on the fact that the DNA of a child/person has two
(2) copies, one copy from the mother and the other from the father. The DNA from the mother, the
alleged father and child are analyzed to establish parentage. Of course, being a novel scientific
technique, the use of DNA test as evidence is still open to challenge. Eventually, as the appropriate
case comes, courts should not hesitate to rule on the admissibility of DNA evidence. For it was said,
that courts should apply the results of science when competently obtained in aid of situations
presented, since to reject said result is to deny progress. Though it is not necessary in this case to
resort to DNA testing, in future it would be useful to all concerned in the prompt resolution of
parentage and identity issues.
The leading case of Herrera v. Alba, where the validity of a DNA test as a probative tool to determine filiation
in our jurisdiction was put in issue, discussed DNA analysis as evidence and traced the development of its admissibility
in our jurisdiction. Thus:
DNA is the fundamental building block of a persons entire genetic make-up. DNA is found in
all human cells and is the same in every cell of the same person. Genetic identity is unique. Hence, a
persons DNA profile can determine his identity.
DNA analysis is a procedure in which DNA extracted from a biological sample obtained from an
individual is examined. The DNA is processed to generate a pattern, or a DNA profile, for the individual
from whom the sample is taken. This DNA profile is unique for each person, except for identical
twins. We quote relevant portions of the trial courts 3 February 2000 Order with approval:
Everyone
is
born
with
a
distinct
genetic
blueprint
called DNA
(deoxyribonucleic acid). It is exclusive to an individual (except in the rare
occurrence of identical twins that share a single, fertilized egg), and DNA is unchanging
throughout life. Being a component of every cell in the human body, the DNA of an
individuals blood is the very DNA in his or her skin cells, hair follicles, muscles, semen,
samples from buccal swabs, saliva, or other body parts.
The chemical structure of DNA has four bases.
They are known
as A (adenine), G (guanine), C (cystosine) and T(thymine). The order in which the four
bases appear in an individuals DNA determines his or her physical makeup. And since
DNA is a double-stranded molecule, it is composed of two specific paired bases, AT or T-A and G-C or C-G. These are called genes.
Every gene has a certain number of the above base pairs distributed in a
particular sequence. This gives a person his or her genetic code. Somewhere in the

DNA framework, nonetheless, are sections that differ. They are known as
polymorphic loci, which are the areas analyzed in DNA typing (profiling, tests,
fingerprinting, or analysis/DNA fingerprinting/genetic tests or fingerprinting). In other
words, DNA typing simply means determining the polymorphic loci.
How is DNA typing performed? From a DNA sample obtained or extracted, a
molecular biologist may proceed to analyze it in several ways. There are five (5)
techniques to conduct DNA typing. They are: the RFLP (restriction fragment length
polymorphism); reverse dot blot or HLA DQ a/Pm loci which was used in 287 cases
that were admitted as evidence by 37 courts in the U.S. as of November 1994; mtDNA
process; VNTR (variable number tandem repeats); and the most recent which is known
as the PCR-([polymerase] chain reaction) based STR (short tandem repeats) method
which, as of 1996, was availed of by most forensic laboratories in the world. PCR is the
process of replicating or copying DNA in an evidence sample a million times through
repeated cycling of a reaction involving the so-called DNA polymerize enzyme. STR, on
the other hand, takes measurements in 13 separate places and can match two (2)
samples with a reported theoretical error rate of less than one (1) in a trillion.
Just like in fingerprint analysis, in DNA typing, matches are determined. To
illustrate, when DNA or fingerprint tests are done to identify a suspect in a criminal
case, the evidence collected from the crime scene is compared with the known
print. If a substantial amount of the identifying features are the same, the DNA or
fingerprint is deemed to be a match. But then, even if only one feature of the DNA or
fingerprint is different, it is deemed not to have come from the suspect.
As earlier stated, certain regions of human DNA show variations between
people. In each of these regions, a person possesses two genetic types called allele,
one inherited from each parent. In [a] paternity test, the forensic scientist looks at a
number of these variable regions in an individual to produce a DNA profile. Comparing
next the DNA profiles of the mother and child, it is possible to determine which half of
the childs DNA was inherited from the mother. The other half must have been
inherited from the biological father. The alleged fathers profile is then examined to
ascertain whether he has the DNA types in his profile, which match the paternal types
in the child. If the mans DNA types do not match that of the child, the man
is excluded as the father. If the DNA types match, then he is not excluded as the
father (Emphasis in the original).
xxxx
The 2002 case of People v. Vallejo discussed DNA analysis as evidence. This may be considered
a 180 degree turn from the Courts wary attitude towards DNA testing in the 1997 Pe Lim case, where
we stated that DNA, being a relatively new science, x x x has not yet been accorded official
recognition by our courts. In Vallejo, the DNA profile from the vaginal swabs taken from the rape
victim matched the accuseds DNA profile. We affirmed the accuseds conviction of rape with homicide
and sentenced him to death.
xxxx
Vallejo discussed the probative value, not admissibility, of DNA evidence. By 2002,
there was no longer any question on the validity of the use of DNA analysis as evidence. The
Court moved from the issue of according official recognition to DNA analysis as evidence to
the issue of observance of procedures in conducting DNA analysis.
In 2004, there were two other cases that had a significant impact on jurisprudence on DNA
testing: People v. Yatar and In re: The Writ of Habeas Corpus for Reynaldo de Villa. In Yatar, a match
existed between the DNA profile of the semen found in the victim and the DNA profile of the blood
sample given by appellant in open court. The Court, following Vallejos footsteps, affirmed the
conviction of appellant because the physical evidence, corroborated by circumstantial evidence,
showed appellant guilty of rape with homicide. In De Villa, the convict-petitioner presented DNA test
results to prove that he is not the father of the child conceived at the time of commission of the rape.
The Court ruled that a difference between the DNA profile of the convict-petitioner and the DNA profile
of the victims child does not preclude the convict-petitioners commission of rape.
The 2004 case of Tecson v. Commission on Election likewise reiterated the acceptance of DNA testing in our
jurisdiction in this wise: [i]n case proof of filiation or paternity would be unlikely to satisfactorily establish or would be
difficult to obtain, DNA testing, which examines genetic codes obtained from body cells of the illegitimate child and
any physical residue of the long dead parent could be resorted to.
It is obvious to the Court that the determination of whether appellant is the father of AAAs child, which may
be accomplished through DNA testing, is material to the fair and correct adjudication of the instant appeal. Under
Section 4 of the Rules, the courts are authorized, after due hearing and notice, motu proprio to order a DNA testing.
However, while this Court retains jurisdiction over the case at bar, capacitated as it is to receive and act on the matter
in controversy, the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts and does not, in the course of daily routine, conduct
hearings. Hence, it would be more appropriate that the case be remanded to the RTC for reception of evidence in
appropriate hearings, with due notice to the parties.
What should be the proper scope of such hearings? Section 4 of the Rules spells out the matters which the trial
court must determine, thus:
SEC. 4. Application for DNA Testing Order.The appropriate court may, at any time, either motu
proprio or on application of any person who has a legal interest in the matter in litigation, order a DNA
testing. Such order shall issue after due hearing and notice to the parties upon a showing of the
following:
(a) A biological sample exists that is relevant to the case;

(b) The biological sample: (i) was not previously subjected to the type of DNA testing now
requested; or (ii) was previously subjected to DNA testing, but the results may require confirmation for
good reasons;
(c) The DNA testing uses a scientifically valid technique;
(d) The DNA testing has the scientific potential to produce new information that is relevant to
the proper resolution of the case; and
(e) The existence of other factors, if any, which the court may consider as potentially affecting
the accuracy or integrity of the DNA testing.
The Rule shall not preclude a DNA testing, without need of a prior court order, at the behest of
any party, including law enforcement agencies, before a suit or proceeding is commenced.
Given our earlier pronouncements on the relevance of the DNA testing, it would be unbecoming of the RTC to
conclude otherwise, Section 4 (d) notwithstanding. The hearing should be confined to ascertaining the feasibility of
DNA testing with due regard to the standards set in Section 4 (a), (b), (c) and (e) of the Rules.
Should the RTC find the DNA testing feasible in the case at bar, it shall order the same, in conformity with
Section 5 of the Rules. It is also the RTC which shall determine the institution to undertake the DNA testing and the
parties are free to manifest their comments on the choice of DNA testing center.
After the DNA analysis is obtained, it shall be incumbent upon the parties who wish to avail of the same to offer
the results in accordance with the rules of evidence. The RTC, in evaluating the DNA results upon presentation, shall
assess the same as evidence in keeping with Sections 7 and 8 of the Rules, to wit:
SEC. 7. Assessment of probative value of DNA evidence. In assessing the probative value of the
DNA evidence presented, the court shall consider the following:
(a) The chain of custody, including how the biological samples were collected, how they were
handled, and the possibility of contamination of the samples;
(b) The DNA testing methodology, including the procedure followed in analyzing the samples,
the advantages and disadvantages of the procedure, and compliance with the scientifically valid
standards in conducting the tests;
(c) The forensic DNA laboratory, including accreditation by any reputable standards-setting
institution and the qualification of the analyst who conducted the tests. If the laboratory is not
accredited, the relevant experience of the laboratory in forensic casework and credibility shall be
properly established; and
(d) The reliability of the testing result, as hereinafter provided.
The provisions of the Rules of Court concerning the appreciation of evidence shall apply
suppletorily.
SEC. 8. Reliability of DNA testing methodology.In evaluating whether the DNA testing methodology
is reliable, the court shall consider the following:
(a) The falsifiability of the principles or methods used, that is, whether the theory or technique
can be and has been tested;
(b) The subjection to peer review and publication of the principles or methods;
(c) The general acceptance of the principles or methods by the relevant scientific community;
(d) The existence and maintenance of standards and controls to ensure the correctness of data
gathered;
(e) The existence of an appropriate reference population database; and
(f) The general degree of confidence attributed to mathematical calculations used in comparing
DNA profiles and the significance and limitation of statistical calculations used in comparing DNA
profiles.
The trial court is further enjoined to observe the requirements of confidentiality and preservation of the DNA
evidence in accordance with Sections 11 and 12 of the Rules.
In assessing the probative value of DNA evidence, the RTC shall consider, among other things, the following
data: how the samples were collected, how they were handled, the possibility of contamination of the samples, the
procedure followed in analyzing the samples, whether the proper standards and procedures were followed in
conducting the tests, and the qualification of the analyst who conducted the tests.
Moreover, the court a quo must ensure that the proper chain of custody in the handling of the samples
submitted by the parties is adequately borne in the records, i.e.: that the samples are collected by a neutral third
party; that the tested parties are appropriately identified at their sample collection appointments; that the samples are
protected with tamper tape at the collection site; that all persons in possession thereof at each stage of testing
thoroughly inspected the samples for tampering and explained his role in the custody of the samples and the acts he
performed in relation thereto.
In light of the fact that this case constitutes the first known application of the Rules, the Court is especially
interested in monitoring the implementation thereof in this case, for its guidance and continuing evaluation of the
Rules as implemented. For purposes of supervising the implementation the instant resolution, the Court designates
Deputy Court Administrator Reuben Dela Cruz (DCA Dela Cruz) to: (a) monitor the manner in which the court a
quo carries out the Rules; and (b) assess and submit periodic reports on said implementation to the Court. Towards the
fulfillment of such end, the RTC is directed to cooperate and coordinate with DCA Dela Cruz.
A final note. In order to facilitate the execution of this Resolution, though the parties are primarily bound to
bear the expenses for DNA testing, such costs may be advanced by this Court if needed.
WHEREFORE, the instant case is remanded to the RTC for reception of DNA evidence in accordance with the
terms of this Resolution. The RTC is further directed to report to the Court the results of the proceedings below within
sixty (60) days from receipt hereof.

SO ORDERED.