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ENBANC

[G.R.Nos.13569596.October12,2000]

PEOPLE
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES,
TUNDAG,accusedappellant.

plaintiffappellee,

vs.TOMAS

DECISION
QUISUMBING,J.:

ForautomaticreviewisthejudgmentoftheRegionalTrialCourtofMandaueCity,Branch
28, in Criminal Cases Nos.DU6186 and DU6203, finding appellant Tomas Tundag guilty of
twocountsofincestuousrapeandsentencinghimtodeathtwice.
OnNovember18,1997,privatecomplainantMaryAnnTundagfiledwiththeMandaueCity
ProsecutorsOfficetwoseparatecomplaintsforincestuousrape.Thefirstcomplaint,docketed
asCriminalCaseNo.DU6186,alleged:
Thatonoraboutthe5thdayofSeptember,1997,intheCityofMandaue,Philippines,andwithinthe
jurisdictionofthisHonorableCourt,theabovenamedaccused,beingthefatherofcomplainantMARY
ANNTUNDAG,whoisa13yearoldgirl,withdeliberateintent,didthenandtherewilfully,unlawfully
andfeloniouslyhavesexualintercoursewiththesaidoffendedpartyagainstthelatterswill.
CONTRARYTOLAW.[1]
Theother,docketedasCriminalCaseNo.DU6203,averred:
Thatonoraboutthe7thdayofNovember,1997,intheCityofMandaue,Philippines,andwithinthe
jurisdictionofthisHonorableCourt,theabovenamedaccused,beingthefatherofcomplainantMARY
ANNTUNDAG,whoisa13yearoldgirl,withdeliberateintent,didthenandtherewilfully,unlawfully
andfeloniouslyhavesexualintercoursewiththesaidoffendedpartyagainstthelatterswill.
CONTRARYTOLAW.[2]
Upon arraignment appellant, assisted by counsel de parte, pleaded Not Guilty to the
charges.
Thetwocaseswereconsolidatedandajointtrialensued.
Appellants defense was bare denial. He claimed that private complainant had fabricated
the rape charges against him since he and his daughter, had a quarrel when he accordingly
reprimandedherforgoingoutwheneverhewasnotathome.[3]
Appellantdidnotpresentanywitnesstoreinforcehistestimony.
OnAugust31,1998,thetrialcourtrendereditsdecision,thus:
WHEREFORE,foregoingpremisesconsidered,JointJudgmentisherebyrendered,towit:

I.InCriminalCaseNo.DU6186
a)FindingthehereinaccusedTOMASTUNDAGguiltybeyondreasonabledoubtforthecrimeofrape,
saidaccusedisherebysentencedtothepenaltyofdeath
b)ToindemnifytheoffendedpartyMaryAnnTundagthefollowingamounts:
(1)P50,000.00byreasonofthecommissionoftheoffenseofrapeuponherand
(2)AnotherP50,000.00asmoralandexemplarydamagesunderArticle2219inrelationtoArticles2217
and2230oftheNewCivilCodeforthepainandmoralshocksufferedbyherandforthecommissionof
thecrimeofrapewithonequalifyingaggravatingcircumstanceand
c)Topaythecosts.
II.InCriminalCaseNo.DU6203
a)FindingthehereinaccusedTOMASTUNDAGguiltybeyondreasonabledoubtforthecrimeofrape,
saidaccusedisherebysentencedtothepenaltyofdeath
b)ToindemnifytheoffendedpartyMaryAnnTundagthefollowingamounts:
(1)P50,000.00byreasonofthecommissionoftheoffenseofrapeuponherand
(2)AnotherP50,000.00asmoralandexemplarydamagesunderArticle2219inrelationtoArticles2217
and2230oftheNewCivilCodeforthepainandmoralshocksufferedbyherandforthecommissionof
thecrimeofrapewithonequalifyingaggravatingcircumstanceand
(3)Topaythecosts.
SOORDERED.[4]
In its judgment, the court below gave credence to complainants version of what accused
didtoher.
Theevidencefortheprosecutionasadducedduringthetrialonthemeritsclearlyshowsthatprivate
complainantMaryAnnTundagisa13yearoldgirlwhodoesnotknowhowtoreadandwriteandhasan
IQof76%whichisaverylowgeneralmentalabilityandwaslivingwithherfather,thehereinaccused,
atGalaxyCompound,MandaueCity.
xxx
ThatonSeptember5,1997atabout10:00oclockintheevening,shewasinthehousetogetherwithher
father.Butbeforeshewenttosleep,herfatherwasalreadylyingdownonthematwhileherself(sic)just
lieddownathisheadsidewhichwasnotnecessarilybesidehim.However,whenshewasalready
sleeping,shenoticedthatherfatherwhowasalreadyundressedwasbesideherandwasembracing
her.Then,heundressedherwhichsheresistedbutherfatherusedaknifeandtoldherthathewouldkill
herifsheshoutsandafterthat,heinsertedhispenisintohervaginaandtoldhernottoshoutortell
anyone.Ineffect,hispenispenetratedhergenital,whichmadehervaginableedandwasverypainful.
Thatwhenthepenisofherfatherwasalreadyinsertedinhervagina,herfatherwasallthetimeaskingby
saying(sic):Doesitfeelgood?Andatthesametime,hewaslaughingandfurther,toldherthata

womanwhodoesnotmarrycanneverenterheavenandhegotangrywithherwhenshecontradictedhis
statement.
Thatwhilethepenisofherfatherwasinsidehervaginaand(he)washumpingoverher,shefeltintense
painthatshecriedandtoldhimtopullitoutbutdidnotaccedeandinfact,said:WhywillIpullitout
whenitfeelssogood(?)
Thatafterremovinghispenisfromhervaginaandaftertellingherthatshecouldnotgotoheavenifshe
didnotgetmarried,herfatherjuststayedthereandcontinuedsmokingwhileshecried.
ThatintheeveningofNovember7,1997,shewasathomewashingthedisheswhileherfatherwasjust
smokingandsquatting.Thataftershefinishedwashingthedishes,shelied(sic)downtosleepwhenher
fatherembracedherandsinceshedoesnotlikewhathedidtoher,sheplacedastoolbetweenthembut
hejustbrusheditasideandlaiddownwithherandwasabletotakeherwomanhoodagainbyusinga
verysharpknifewhichhewasholdingandwaspointingitattherightsideofherneckwhichmadeher
afraid.
Thatintheearlymorningofthefollowingday,sheleftherfathersplaceandwenttoherneighborbythe
nameofBebieCabahugandtoldherwhathadhappenedtoher,who,inturn,advisedhertoreportthe
mattertothepolice,whichshedidandaccompaniedbythepolicemen,shewenttotheSouthernIslands
Hospitalwhereshewasexaminedandafterhermedicalexamination,shewasbroughtbackbythepolice
andwasinvestigatedbythem.[5]
Appellantsclaimthatthecomplainantschargesweremanufactureddidnotimpressthetrial
court, which found him twice guilty of rape. Now before us, appellant assails his double
conviction,simplycontendingthat:[6]
THETRIALCOURTHASCOMMITTEDANERRORINNOTABSOLVINGTHEACCUSED
APPELLANTOFTHECRIMESCHARGEDINTHEINFORMATIONSDESPITETHEPRESENCE
OFREASONABLEDOUBTTOEXCULPATEHIMOFTHESAME.
Appellantflatlydeniesthattheincidentscomplainedofevertookplace.He contends that
on September 5, 1997, he was working as a watch repairman near Gals Bakery in Mandaue
City Market and went home tired and sleepy at around 11:00 oclock that evening. On
November7,1997,heclaimshewasatwork.Inhisbrief,hearguesthatitwasimpossiblefor
him to have raped his daughter because when the incidents allegedly transpired, he went to
workandnaturally,beingexhaustedandtired,itisimpossibleforhimtodosuchwrongdoings.
[7]

The Office of the Solicitor General disagrees with appellant and urges the Court to affirm
thetrialcourtsdecision,withtherecommendationthattheawardofdamagesandindemnityex
delictobemodifiedtoconformtoprevailingjurisprudence.
Consideringthegravityoftheoffensechargedasaheinouscrimeandtheirreversibilityof
the penalty of death imposed in each of these cases before us, the Court leaves no stone
unturnedinitsreviewoftherecords,includingtheevidencepresentedbyboththeprosecution
andthedefense.Convictionmustrestonnothinglessthanamoralcertaintyofguilt.[8]Buthere
we find no room to disturb the trial courts judgment concerning appellants guilt, because his
defenseisutterlyuntenable.
Appellants defense of alibi and denial is negative and selfserving. It hardly counts as a
worthyandweightygroundforexculpationinatrialinvolvinghisfreedomandhislife.Against

thetestimonyofprivatecomplainantwhotestifiedonaffirmativematters,[9]suchdefenseisnot
onlytritebutpathetic.Denialisaninherentlyweakdefense,whichbecomesevenweakerinthe
face of the positive identification by the victim of the appellant as the violator of her honor.
[10] Indeed, we find that private complainant was unequivocal in charging appellant with
ravishing her. The victims account of the rapes complained of was straightforward, detailed,
andconsistent.[11]Her testimony never wavered even after it had been explained to her that
herfathercouldbemetedoutthedeathpenaltyiffoundguiltybythecourt.[12]
In a prosecution for rape, the complainants credibility is the single most important issue.
The determination of the credibility of witnesses is primarily the function of the trial
court.Therationaleforthisisthatthetrialcourthastheadvantageofhavingobservedatfirst
handthedemeanorofthewitnessesonthestandand,therefore,isinabetterpositiontoform
anaccurateimpressionandconclusion.[14]Absentanyshowingthatcertainfactsofvaluehave
clearlybeenoverlooked,whichifconsideredcouldaffecttheresultofthecase,orthatthetrial
courts finding are clearly arbitrary, the conclusions reached by the court of origin must be
respectedandthejudgmentrenderedaffirmed.[15]
[13]

Moreover, we note here that private complainants testimony is corroborated by medical


findingsthatlacerationswerepresentinherhymen.TheexaminationconductedbyDr.Bessie
Acebesupontheprivatecomplainantyieldedthefollowingresults:
Genitalia:grosslyfemale
PubicHairs:scanty
LabiaMajora:coaptated
LabiaMinora:do
Fourchette:Ushaped
Vestibule:pinkish
Hymen:+oldhealedlacerationat3and9oclockposition(s).
Orifice:admits2fingerswithease
Vagina:
Walls:pinkish
Ruganities:prominent
Uterus:small
Cervix:closed
Discharges:Mucoid,minimal
Smears:

Conclusions:spermidentification()
Gramstainingofvaginaldisc.[16]
Dr. Acebes testified that her findings of healed hymenal lacerations in the complainants
private parts meant a history of sexual congress on her part.[17] According to her, the
lacerations may have been caused by the entry of an erect male organ into complainants
genitals. The examining physician likewise pointed out that previous coitus may be inferred
from complainants Ushaped fourchette since the fourchette of a female who has not yet
experienced sexual intercourse is Vshaped.[18] While Dr. Acebes conceded under cross
examination,thattheexistenceofthedatumUshape(d)fourchettedoesnotconclusivelyand
absolutely mean that there was sexual intercourse or contact because it can be caused by
masturbation of fingers or other things,[19] nonetheless, the presence of the hymenal
lacerationstendstosupportprivatecomplainantsclaimthatshewasrapedbyappellant.
Appellantnextcontendsthathisdaughterpressedtherapechargesagainsthimbecause
she had quarreled with him after he had castigated her for misbehavior.He stresses that the
prosecutiondidnotrebuthistestimonyregardinghisquarrelormisunderstandingwithprivate
complainant.Heurgesustoconsiderthechargesfiledagainsthimastheresultofhisfrequent
castigationofherdelinquentbehavior.[20]
Suchallegationofafamilyfeud,however,doesnotexplainthechargesaway.Filingacase
forincestuousrapeisofsuchanaturethatadaughtersaccusationmustbetakenseriously.It
goesagainsthumanexperiencethatagirlwouldfabricateastorywhichwoulddragherselfas
wellasherfamilytoalifetimeofdishonor,unlessthatisthetruth,foritishernaturalinstinctto
protectherhonor.[21]Moreso,whereherchargescouldmeanthedeathofherownfather,as
inthiscase.
Appellantlikewisepointsoutthatitwasveryunlikelyforhimtohavecommittedthecrimes
imputedtohimconsideringthatheandhiswifehadtenchildrentoattendtoandcarefor.This
argument,however,isimpertinentandimmaterial.Appellantwasestrangedfromhiswife,and
private complainant was the only child who lived with him.[22] As pointed out by the Solicitor
General,appellantwasthusfreetodoashewishedtosatisfyhisbestiallustonhisdaughter.
[23]

Nor does appellants assertion that private complainant has some psychological problems
andalowIQof76inanywayfavorhisdefense.Thesemattersdidnotaffectthecredibilityof
her testimony that appellant raped her twice. We note that the victim understood the
consequences of prosecuting the rape charges against her own father, as shown by the
followingtestimonyofthevictimoncrossexamination:
Q:Wereyouinformedthatif,andwhenyourfatherwillbefoundguilty,yourfatherwillbesentencedto
death?
A:Yes.
Q:Untilnowyouwantedthatyourfatherwillbesentencedbydeath?
A(Witnessnodding.)

xxx
Q:Iwillinformyou,MissWitness,thatyouhavefiledtwocasesagainstyourfatherandincaseyour
fatherwouldbefoundguilty,twodeathsentenceswillbeimposedagainsthim?

A:Yes.
Q:Withthatinformation,doyoustillwantthiscasewouldproceed?
A:Iwantthistoproceed.[24]

Indeed,appellantisguilty.Butisthepenaltyofdeathimposedonhimcorrect?
Section 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 11 of R.A. No. 7659,
[25] penalizes rape of a minor daughter by her father as qualified rape[26] and a heinous
crime.Inprovingsuchfelony,theprosecutionmustallegeandprovetheelementsofrape:(1)
sexualcongress(2)withwoman(3)byforceorwithoutherconsent[27]andinordertowarrant
the imposition of capital punishment, the additional elements that: (4) the victim is under 18
yearsofageatthetimeoftherapeand(5)theoffenderisaparentofthevictim.[28]
Inthiscase,itwassufficientlyallegedandproventhattheoffenderwasthevictimsfather.
[29]Butthevictimsagewasnotproperlyandsufficientlyprovedbeyondreasonabledoubt.She
testified that she was thirteen years old at the time of the rapes.However, she admitted that
shedidnotknowexactlywhenshewasbornbecausehermotherdidnottellher.Shefurther
saidthatherbirthcertificatewaslikewisewithhermother.Inherownwords,thevictimtestified
[30]
COURTTOWITNESS
Q:Whenwereyouborn?
A:Idonotknow.
Q:Youdonotknowyourbirthday?
A:MymamadidnottellmeexactlywhenIaskedher.
COURT:Proceed.
FISCALPEREZ:For our failure to secure the Birth Certificate Your Honor, may we just request for
judicialnoticethatthevictimhereisbelow18yearsold.
ATTY.SURALTA:Admitted.

Judicialnoticeisthecognizanceofcertainfactswhichjudgesmayproperlytakeandacton
without proof because they already know them.[31] Under the Rules of Court, judicial notice
mayeitherbemandatoryordiscretionary.Section1ofRule129oftheRulesofCourtprovides
whencourtshalltakemandatoryjudicialnoticeoffacts
SECTION1.Judicialnotice,whenmandatory.Acourtshalltakejudicialnoticewithoutthe
introductionofevidence,oftheexistenceandterritorialextentofstates,theirpoliticalhistory,formsof
governmentandsymbolsofnationality,thelawofnations,theadmiraltyandmaritimecourtsofthe
worldandtheirseals,thepoliticalconstitutionandhistoryofthePhilippines,theofficialactsofthe
legislative,executiveandjudicialdepartmentsofthePhilippines,thelawsofnature,themeasureoftime,
andthegeographicaldivisions.
Section 2 of Rule 129 enumerates the instances when courts may take discretionary
judicialnoticeoffacts
SEC.2.Judicialnotice,whendiscretionary.Acourtmaytakejudicialnoticeofmatterswhichareof
publicknowledge,orarecapableofunquestionabledemonstrationoroughttobeknowntojudges
becauseoftheirjudicialfunctions.

Thus,itcanbeconsideredofpublicknowledgeandjudiciallynoticedthatthesceneofthe
rape is not always nor necessarily isolated or secluded for lust is no respecter of time or
place.The offense of rape can and has been committed in places where people congregate,
e.g.insideahousewherethereareoccupants,afive(5)meterroomwithfive(5)peopleinside,
oreveninthesameroomwhichthevictimissharingwiththeaccusedssister.[32]
The Court has likewise taken judicial notice of the Filipinas inbred modesty and shyness
andherantipathyinpubliclyairingactswhichblemishherhonorandvirtue.[33]
Ontheotherhand,matterswhicharecapableofunquestionabledemonstrationpertainto
fields of professional and scientific knowledge.Forexample,in People v. Alicante,[34] the trial
courttookjudicialnoticeoftheclinicalrecordsoftheattendingphysiciansconcerningthebirth
of twin baby boys as premature since one of the alleged rapes had occurred 6 to 7 months
earlier.
As to matters which ought to be known to judges because of their judicial functions, an
examplewouldbefactswhichareascertainablefromtherecordofcourtproceedings,e.g.asto
whencourtnoticeswerereceivedbyaparty.
With respect to other matters not falling within the mandatory or discretionary judicial
notice,thecourtcantakejudicialnoticeofafactpursuanttotheprocedureinSection3ofRule
129oftheRulesofCourtwhichrequiresthat
SEC.3.Judicialnotice,whenhearingnecessary.Duringthetrial,thecourt,onitsowninitiative,oron
requestofaparty,mayannounceitsintentiontotakejudicialnoticeofanymatterandallowtheparties
tobeheardthereon.
Afterthetrial,andbeforejudgmentoronappeal,thepropercourt,onitsowninitiativeoronrequestofa
party,maytakejudicialnoticeofanymatterandallowthepartiestobeheardthereonifsuchmatteris
decisiveofamaterialissueinthecase.
In this case, judicial notice of the age of the victim is improper, despite the defense
counselsadmission,thereofaccedingtotheprosecutionsmotion.AsrequiredbySection3of
Rule 129, as to any other matters such as age, a hearing is required before courts can take
judicial notice of such fact. Generally, the age of the victim may be proven by the birth or
baptismalcertificateofthevictim,orintheabsencethereof,uponshowingthatsaiddocuments
werelostordestroyed,byotherdocumentaryororalevidencesufficientforthepurpose.
Thus, in People v. Rebancos, 172 SCRA 426 (1989), the victim was below 12 and we
foundthattherapecommittedwasstatutoryrape.Themothertestifiedthatherdaughterwas
bornonOctober26,1974,andsowasonly9yearsoldatthetimeoftherapeonFebruary12,
1984.Although no birth certificate was presented because the victims birth had allegedly not
beenregistered,herbaptismalcertificatewasdulypresented.Hence,weruledthatthemothers
testimonycoupledwiththepresentationofthebaptismalcertificatewassufficienttoestablish
thatthevictimwasbelow12atthetimeoftherape.
However,inPeoplev.Vargas,257SCRA603(1996),weruledthatappellantcanonlybe
convictedofsimplerape,andnotstatutoryrape,becauseoffailureoftheprosecutiontoprove
the minority of the victim, who was allegedly 10 years old at the time of the rape. The
prosecutionfailedtopresenteitherthebirthorbaptismalcertificateofthevictim.Alsotherewas
noshowingthatthesaiddocumentswerelostordestroyedtojustifytheirnonpresentation.We
heldthattestimonyofthevictimandherauntwerehearsay,andthatitwasnotcorrectforthe
trialcourttojudgetheageofthevictimbyherappearance.

Inseveralrecentcases,wehaveemphasizedtheneedforindependentproofoftheageof
thevictim,asidefromtestimonialevidencefromthevictimorherrelatives.InPeoplev.Javier,
[35]westressedthattheprosecutionmustpresentindependentproofoftheageofthevictim,
eventhoughitisnotcontestedbythedefense.Theminorityofthevictimmustbeprovedwith
equalcertaintyandclearnessasthecrimeitself.InPeoplev.Cula,[36] we reiterated that it is
theburdenoftheprosecutiontoprovewithcertaintythefactthatthevictimwasbelow18when
therapewascommittedinordertojustifytheimpositionofthedeathpenalty.Sincetherecord
ofthecasewasbereftofanyindependentevidencethereon,suchasthevictimsdulycertified
Certificate of Live Birth, accurately showing private complainants age, appellant could not be
convictedofrapeinitsqualifiedform.InPeoplev.Veloso,[37] the victim was alleged to have
beenonly9yearsofageatthetimeoftherape.Itheldthatthetrialcourtwascorrectwhenit
ruledthattheprosecutionfailedtoprovethevictimsageotherthanthroughthetestimonyofher
fatherandherself.
Considering the statutory requirement in Section 335 of the Revised Penal Code as
amended by R.A. No. 7659 and R.A. No. 8353, we reiterate here what the Court has held
inJavierwithoutanydissent,thatthefailuretosufficientlyestablishvictimsagebyindependent
proof is a bar to conviction for rape in its qualified form. For, in the words of Melo,J.,
independent proof of the actual age of a rape victim becomes vital and essential so as to
removeaniotaofdoubtthatthecasefallsunderthequalifyingcircumstancesfortheimposition
ofthedeathpenaltysetbythelaw.
Inthiscase,thefirstrapewascommittedonSeptember5,1997andisthereforegoverned
by the death penalty law, R.A. 7659. The penalty for the crime of simple rape or rape in its
unqualified form under Art. 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Sec. 11 of R.A.
7659,isreclusionperpetua.The second rape was committed on November 7, 1997, after the
effectivityofR.A.8353,alsoknownastheAntiRapeLawof1997,whichtookeffectonOctober
22,1997.Thepenaltyforrapeinitsunqualifiedformremainsthesame.
Astocivilindemnity,thetrialcourtcorrectlyawardedP50,000.00foreachcountofrapeas
civilindemnity.However,theawardofanotherP50,000.00as moralandexemplarydamages
under Article 2219 in relation to Articles 2217 and 2230 of the Civil Code for each count is
imprecise. In rape cases, the prevailing jurisprudence permits the award of moral damages
without need for pleading or proof as to the basis thereof.[38] Thus, pursuant to current
jurisprudence,weawardtheamountofP50,000.00asmoraldamagesforeachcountofrape.
Theawardofexemplarydamagesseparatelyisalsoinorder,butonadifferentbasisand
foradifferentamount.Appellantbeingthefatherofthevictim,afactdulyprovedduringtrial,we
find that the alternative circumstance of relationship should be appreciated here as an
aggravatingcircumstance.UnderArticle2230oftheNewCivilCode,exemplarydamagesmay
be imposed when the crime was committed with one or more aggravating
circumstances.Hence,wefindanawardofexemplarydamagesintheamountofP25,000.00
proper. Note that generally, in rape cases imposing the death penalty, the rule is that
relationship is no longer appreciated as a generic aggravating circumstance in view of the
amendments introduced by R.A. Nos. 7659 and 8353. The fatherdaughter relationship has
beentreatedbyCongressinthenatureofaspecialcircumstancewhichmakestheimposition
ofthedeathpenaltymandatory.[39]However,inthiscase,thespecialqualifyingcircumstance
ofrelationshipwasprovedbutnottheminorityofthevictim,takingthecaseoutoftheambitof
mandatorydeathsentence. Hence, relationship can be appreciated as a generic aggravating
circumstanceinthisinstancesothatexemplarydamagesarecalledfor.Inrapescommittedby
fathersontheirowndaughters,exemplarydamagesmaybeimposedtodeterotherfatherswith

perversetendencyoraberrantsexualbehaviorfromsexuallyabusingtheirowndaughters.[40]
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Mandaue City, Branch 28, in
CriminalCaseNos.DU6186andDU6203,isherebyMODIFIEDasfollows:appellantTomas
Tundag is found guilty of two (2) counts of simple rape and for each count, sentenced
to reclusion perpetua and ordered to pay the victim the amount of P50,000.00 as indemnity,
P50,000.00asmoraldamages,andP25,000.00asexemplarydamages.
Nopronouncementastocosts.
SOORDERED.
Davide,Jr.,C.J.,Bellosillo,Melo,Puno,Vitug,Kapunan,Mendoza,Panganiban,Purisima,
Pardo,Buena,GonzagaReyes,YnaresSantiago,andDeLeon,Jr.,JJ.,concur.