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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 90342 May 27, 1993

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
HILARIO MACASLING, JR. y COLOCADO, accused-appellant.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.

Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellant.

FELICIANO, J.:

Hilario Macasling, Jr. appeals from the Decision of the Regional Trial Court which
sentenced him to suffer life imprisonment, to pay a fine and costs of litigation.

Appellant Macasling was charged with violation of Republic Act ("R.A.") No. 6425, as
amended, in an information which reads as follows:

The undersigned accuses Hilario Macasling, Jr. y Colocado for violation of


Section 21(b) in relation to Section IV, Article II of Republic Act No. 6425,
as amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. 179 (Sale, Administration, Delivery,
Transportation & Distribution), committed as follows:

That on or about the 20th day of August 1988, in the City of Baguio,
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
named accused, not authorized by law, did then and there, wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously sell, deliver, distribute, dispatch in transit or
transport fifty (50) grams of shabu, knowing fully well that said shabu [is] a
prohibited drug, in violation of the above-mentioned provision of law. 1

Appellant entered a plea of not guilty at arraignment and the case proceeded to trial.
After trial, on 18 August 1989, the trial court rendered a decision with the following
dispositive portion:

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the Court finds the accused
Hilario Macasling, Jr. guilty beyond reasonable doubt of transporting
and/or attempting to deliver 50 grams of shabu in violation of Section
21(b), Article IV in relation to Section 15, Article III, in relation to No. 2(e),
Section 2, Article I of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, and hereby
sentences him to life imprisonment and to pay the fine of Twenty
Thousand (P20,000.00) Pesos, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency, and to pay the costs.

The 50 grams of shabu contained in the wrapped package marked Happy


Days (Exh. H and series) being the subject of the crime, is hereby
declared confiscated and forfeited in favor of the State and referred to the
Dangerous Drugs Board for immediate destruction.

The accused Hilario Macasling, Jr. being a detention prisoner is entitled to


be credited 4/5 of his preventive imprisonment in the service of his
sentence under Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code.

So Ordered. 2

The evidence of record discloses that on 19 August 1988, at about 3:00 o'clock in the
afternoon, Lt. Manuel Obrera, Chief of the Narcotics and Intelligence Division,
Integrated National Police ("INP"), Baguio City, received a telephone call from the Chief
of the Narcotics Command ("Narcom"), First Regional Unit, INP. The latter sought the
assistance of Lt. Obrera in the apprehension of appellant, who according to the Narcom
Chief, would be delivering shabu at Room No. 77 of the Hyatt Terraces Hotel in Baguio
City, on that same afternoon. Lt. Obrera quickly formed a team which include Pat.
Ramoncito Bueno, Pat. Martel Nillo and himself and hastily left for the hotel. There they
were met by the Narcom Chief who informed them that appellant Macasling had
previously agreed with a Chinese businessman in Las Pinas, Metro Manila, that
appellant would deliver about 250 grams of shabu at Room 77 of the Hyatt Terraces
Hotel.

Accordingly, Lt. Obrera and his companions waited inside Room No. 77 of the hotel, for
appellant to show up. Appellant, however, did not arrive that afternoon. Instead, he
arrived at the Hyatt Terraces Hotel at about 1:00 o'clock in the early morning of the
following day, together with one Editha Gagarin and a third person who was an
undercover Narcom agent. Lt. Obrera opened the door of Room No. 77 to let appellant
and his party in, upon noticing that the Narcom agent was combing his hair, which was
pre-arranged signal meaning that appellant had the shabu in his possession. When
appellant and his party were inside Room No. 77, Lt. Obrera and his companions
identified themselves to appellant and asked him about the shabu. Appellant handed
over a small package with a wrapper marked "Happy Days" which, upon being opened
by arresting officers, was found to contain about 50 grams of crystalline
granules. 3 Appellant and Editha Gagarin were brought to Camp Bado, Dangwa, La
Trinidad, Benguet, where the fact of their arrest was officially recorded. They were later
transferred to the Baguio City Jail as detention prisoners. The crystalline granules were
forwarded to the INP Crime Laboratory in Camp Crame, Quezon City, for examination.
The Forensic Chemist in charge of the examination subjected the granules to four (4)
different tests, namely, the color test, the melting point test, the thin layer
chromatography test, and the spectro-infra red test. All the test showed the presence of
metamphetamine hydrochloride, the scientific name of the substance popularly
called shabu. 4

The investigation by the City Prosecutor of Baguio City initially included Editha Gagarin.
However, upon the basis of a letter written by appellant Macasling admitting sole
responsibility for the acts charged in the information, Editha was excluded from the
information. In that letter, appellant stated that Editha was completely innocent, and that
she had merely come along with appellant at his invitation, to Baguio City.

Appellant Macasling made the following assignment of errors in his Brief:

1. The lower court erred in not holding that since the arresting officers
were not armed with a search warrant of arrest, the arrest and consequent
confiscation of the package with a wrapper marked 'Happy Days'
contain[ing] 50 grams of shabu (Exh. H and series) are illegal and
unlawful, hence are inadmissible in evidence.

2. The lower court erred in not acquitting the accused on the ground that
'shabu' is not of those mentioned in R.A. No. 6425, as amended.

3. The lower court erred in not acquitting the accused on the ground that
he was deprived of his constitutional right to be informed of the nature and
the cause of the accusation against him. 5

We shall consider the above alleged errors though not in the order submitted by
appellant.

We consider first appellant's argument that he cannot be convicted of the offense


charged in the information considering that shabu the term in the information is
not a dangerous drug, since it is not one of those enumerated as such in R.A. No. 6425
(The Dangerous Drugs Act).

R.A. No. 6425, as amended, distinguishes between "prohibited drugs" and "regulated
drugs." Article I, Section 2 (e) defines the term "dangerous drugs" as referring either to
"prohibited drugs" or to "regulated drugs" in the following manner:

(e) "Dangerous drugs" refers to either:

(1) "Prohibited drug" which includes opium and its active components and
derivatives, such as heroin and morphine; coca leaf and its derivativeness;
principally cocaine; alpha and beta eucaine, hallucinogenic drugs, such as
mescaline, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and other substances
producing similar effects; Indian hemp and its derivatives; all preparations
made from any of the foregoing; and other drugs and chemical
preparations, whether natural or synthetic, with the physiological effects of
a narcotic or a hallucinogenic drug; or (As amended by B.P. Blg. 179,
March 12, 1982.)

(2) "Regulated drug" which includes self-inducing sedatives, such as


secobarbital, phenobarbital, pentobarbital, barbital, amobarbital and any
other drug which contains a salt or derivative of a salt of barbituric acid;
and salt, isomer or salt of an isomer, of amphetamine, such as benzedrine
or dexedrine, or any drug which produces a physiological action similar to
amphetamine; and hypnotic drugs, such as methaqualone, nitrazepam or
any other compound producing similar physiological effects (as amended
by P.D. No. 1683, March 14, 1980.)

xxx xxx xxx

(Emphasis supplied)

The statute penalizes the sale, administration, delivery, distribution and transportation of
both "prohibited drugs" and "regulated drugs:"

Article II
Prohibited Drugs

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 4. Sale, Administration, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of


Prohibited Drugs. The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine
ranging from twenty thousand to thirty thousand pesos shall be imposed
upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, administer,
deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any
prohibited drug, or shall act as broker in any of such transactions. If the
victim of the offense is a minor, or should a prohibited drug involved in any
offense under this Section be the proximate cause of the victim thereof,
the maximum penalty herein provided shall be imposed. (As amended by
P.D. No. 1675, February 17, 1980.)

xxx xxx xxx

Article III
Regulated Drugs

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 15. Sale, Administration, Dispensation, Delivery, Transportation and


Distribution of Regulated Drugs. The penalty of life imprisonment to
death and a fine ranging from twenty thousand to thirty thousand pesos
shall be imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall
sell, dispense, deliver, transport or distribute any regulated drug. If the
victim of the offense is a minor, or should a regulated drug involved in any
offense under this section be the proximate cause of the death of the
victim thereof, the maximum penalty herein provided shall be imposed.
(As amended by P.D. No. 1683, March 14, 1980.)

xxx xxx xxx

(Emphasis supplied)

The trial court after noting the above-quoted provisions of the statute, went on to say
that:

From the above provisions of law, it is clear that shabu which is the street
name of metamphetamine hydrochloride, is not among those enumerated
as prohibited drugs under No. 1 (e), Section 2, Article I on Definition of
Terms of Republic Act 6425, as amended.

Obviously, metamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) is a derivative of


amphetamine or a compound thereof, meaning to say, amphetamine in
combination with other drugs or elements which, if one looks closer, is
actually enumerated among the regulated drugs under No. 2(e), Section 2,
Article I on Definition of Terms of Republic Act 6425, as amended.

Note that the law says when it defines regulated drugs as those "which
includes self inducing sedatives such as . . . of amphetamine such as
benzedrine or dexedrine, or any other drug which produces a
physiological action similar to amphetamine, and hypnotic drugs, such as
methaqualone or any other compound producing similar physiological
effect." Since shabu is actually metamphetamine hydrochloride, it would
then be obvious that its component parts would be the compound of
amphetamine with other elements to form metamphetamine hydrochloride.
In other words, among the elements contained in metamphetamine
hydrochloride is amphetamine, a regulated drug.

xxx xxx xxx 6

(Emphasis supplied)

We agree with the above ruling of the trial court. This Court has in fact taken judicial
notice that shabu is a "street name" for metamphetamine hydrochloride (or "methyl
amphetamine hydrochloride"). 7 Considering the chemical composition of shabu, the
Court has declared that shabu is a derivative of a regulated drug, 8 the possession, sale,
transportation, etc. of which is subject to the provisions of R.A. No. 6425 as amended. It
remains only to point out that, in the case at bar, the laboratory examination conducted
on the crystalline granules recovered from appellant in fact yielded the compound
metamphetamine hydrochloride. The use in the criminal information of the casual or
vulgar term shabu rather than the scientific term metamphetamine hydrochloride, does
not affect the legal responsibility of appellant under the relevant provisions of R.A. No.
6425 as amended.

It is true, as pointed out by the trial court, that the preambular portion of the criminal
information in this case referred to violation of "Section 21 (b) in relation to Section 4,
Article II of R.A. No. 6425 as amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. 179." Section 21 (b) of
the statute reads as follows:

Sec. 21. Attempt and Conspiracy. The same penalty prescribed by this
Act for the commission of the offense shall be imposed in case of any
attempt or conspiracy to commit the same in the following case:

xxx xxx xxx

(b) Sale, Administration, delivery, distribution and transportation of


dangerous drugs;

xxx xxx xxx

(Emphasis supplied)

Section 4, Article II of the statute deals with "sale, administration, distribution and
transportation of prohibited drugs." Upon the other hand, Section 15 of the statute is
concerned with the "sale, administration, dispensation, delivery, transportation and
distribution of regulated drugs." It will be recalled that the term "dangerous drugs" as
used in the statute covers both "prohibited drugs" and "regulated drugs." Thus, again as
pointed out by the trial court, the opening clause of the information should, more
precisely, have referred to Section 15 which deals with "regulated drugs" rather than to
Section 4 which refers to "prohibited drugs." This imprecision in the specification of the
appropriate section of R.A. No. 6425 as amended has, however, no consequences in
the case at bar. For it is the character of the acts charged in the criminal information and
proven at the trial that is important, rather than the correctness of the designation of the
section and article of the statute violated. It should also not escape notice that the
penalty provided in Section 4: "life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from
P20,000.00 to P30,000.00," is exactly the same penalty imposed in Section 15 of the
statute.

In much the same way, appellant's contention that he had been deprived of his right to
be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, is bereft of merit.
The acts with which he was charged are quite plainly set out in the operative portion of
the criminal information: that appellant "did willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sell,
deliver, distributed, dispatch in transit or transport 50 grams of shabu, knowing fully well
that said shabu [is] a prohibited drug . . .". We agree with the trial court that the use of
the term "prohibited drug" was merely a conclusion of law, something which is for the
Court to determine; in the circumstances of this case, the inaccurate use of the term
"prohibited drug" was also merely a falsa descriptio. The trial court said:

The Court stressed this point as in the body of the Information what is
alleged as the offense committed is that the accused unlawfully and
feloniously sell, deliver, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport 50 grams
of shabu knowing fully well that said shabu is a prohibited durg in violation
of the law.

It can readily be seen that the subject matter of the offense, as recited in
the body of the Information, is the transport or sale or delivery of the 50
grams of shabu. This is the allegation of fact in respect to the acts
consituting the offense. This is the offense that would need to be proved.
However, the allegationthat shabu is a prohibited drug is a conclusion of
law. Apparently, the prosecutor, who filed the Inforamtion considered
shabu a prohibited drug. Thus, the prosecutor designated the offense as a
violation of Section 21 (b) in relation to Section 4, Article II of Republic Act
No. 6425, as amended. The Court pointed this out as should shabu, which
really is the street name of metamphetamine hydrochloride be, in fact,
a regulated drug, the the designation of the offense should have been
Violation of Section 21 (b), Article IV in relation to Section 15, Article III of
Republic Act 6425, as amended. But note, despite the mistaken
designation of he offense for as recited in the body of the Information,
what is charged is still the sale, transport or delivery of 50 grams of
shabu. That is the one important. Only the designation of the offense was
a mistake from regulated drug to prohibited drug which is a conclusion of
law.

This would not violate the constitutional right of the accused to be


informed of the nature and cause of the accuasation against him. As in
fact, the accused is still informed of the offense charged, that is, the
unlawful, transport, sale or delivery of 50 grams of shabu.

xxx xxx xxx 9

(Emphasis partly in the original and partly supplied)

Appellant's next contention is that because he was not lawfully arrested, the package
with a "Happy Days" wrapper containing 50 grams of shabu, taken from him was
inadmissible in evidence. Appellant's claim that he was unlawfully arrested is anchored
on the fact that the arresting officers had neither warrant of arrest nor a search warrant.

The basic difficulty with appellant's contention is that it totally disregards the
antecedents of the arrest of the appellant inside Room No. 77 of the Hyatt Terraces
Hotel. It will be recalled that the arresting officers had been informed by the Chief of the
Narcom Regional Office that a transaction had been agreed upon by appellant in Las
Pinas, Metro Manila, involving delivery of shabu, which delivery was, however, to take
place in Room No. 77 at the Hyatt Terraces Hotel in Baguio City. Only appellant with
Editha Gagarin and the undercover Narcom agent showed up at Room No. 77 at the
Hyatt Terraces Hotel and the Narcom undercover agent had signalled that appellant
had with him the shabu. The reception prepared by the arresting officers for appellant
inside Room No. 77 was in fact an entrapment operation. The sale of
the shabu (understood as the meeting of the minds of seller and buyer) did not, of
course, take place in the presence of the arresting officers. The delivery or attempted
delivery of the subject matter did, however, take place in their presence. The trial court
explained:

The situation at hand is no different from a buy bust operation and is in


fact part of a buy bust operation. It must be stressed that the sale was
transacted and closed in Las Pinas, Metro Manila by a Chinese
businessman but the delivery was directed to be made in Room 77, Hyatt
Terraces, Baguio. And instead of the Chinese businessman being inside
Room 77 to receive the delivery, the Narcom elements took his place to
entrap the party that will deliver.

Normally, the buy bust operation may take the form of both the negotiation
for the sale and delivery being made in the same place between the seller
and the poseur buyer. And when the sale is agreed upon, on the same
occasion the drug is delivered upon the payment being given. And it is at
this juncture that the police or the Narcom elements close in to arrest the
offender in the act of selling and delivering. This is the classic case of a
"buy-bust" operation, to bust drug pushing.

But surely, there are variations of a "buy-bust" operation, where the sale is
agreed upon in one place like on the street and then the delivery is to be
made in another place as when the buyer and the seller proceed to the
house where the drug is stored for the delivery. And upon the delivery of
the drug by the seller to the buyer, the police elements will arrest the seller
in the act of delivering.

And in the case at bar, the situation is but an extension of the second
variation above illustrated where the sale is agreed upon in one place but
the delivery is to be made in another place. As here the sale was agreed
upon in Las Pinas but the delivery is to be made in a far away place, in
Hyatt Terraces, Baguio City. Surely, the above is still part and parcel of a
buy bust operation although as we said it is more a "buy the delivery"
operation.

xxx xxx xxx


The fact that the Narcom got to know beforehand the delivery to be made
thru their intelligence sources must be given credence by the Court. Like
any other organization fighting the crime on drugs, the Narcom must have
intelligence sources or it cannot perform its functions well and fulfill its
mission.

Thus, to wait for the delivery, the Narcom elements deployed themselves
inside Room 77 in place of the Chinese businessman to entrap the party
who will appear to deliver the shabu which they would be in his
possession thru a pre-arranged signal of their undercover
agent. Whosoever comes and appear at Room 77 would be it. All other
persons are unexpected (sic) to come to Room 77 and have no business
appearing there except to deliver the shabu unless explained. And
ultimately their waiting paid off as accused Hilario Macasling, Jr. appeared
in Room 77 to deliver the shabu and from whom it was taken by the
Narcom. The lack of warrant of arrest is not fatal as this would be covered
by the situation provided for warrantless arrests under Section 5, Rule 113
of the Rules of Court where an offender is arrested while actually
committing and offense or attempting to commit the offense in the
presence of a peace officer.

xxx xxx xxx

The Court must stressed that the situation in the case at bar is very
different from a situation where the law enforcing agents or elements will
simply accost people at random on the road, street, boat, plane or bus
without any pre-arranged transaction and without warrant of arrest or
search warrant and by chance find drugs in the possession of a passerby.
This latter situation is clearly not permissible and would be in violation of
the constitutional rights of a person against unreasonable searches and
seizures. This would be a fishing expedition. You search first, and if you
find anything unlawful you arrest.

But here it is not at random. There was a previous unlawful transaction.


There is a designated place for delivery, Room 77 and a specified time
frame, that very day of August 19, 1988 or thereabouts, and limited to a
particular person, in the sense that whoever would appear thereat would
be it. Those who don't knock at Room 77 and don't go inside Room 77 will
not certainly be arrested. But those who will there at that time and in that
place will surely be arrested because of the advance information, thru the
intelligence sources, on the delivery and the prior transaction made. This
makes a lot of difference.

xxx xxx xxx


But in the case at bar, accused Hilario Macasling, Jr., at the time of his
arrest, was actually in the act of committing a crime or attempting to
commit a crime in the presence of the peace officers as he appeared there
in Room 77 to deliver 50 grams of shabu, a regulated drug, which was
previously bought but directed to be delivered thereat.

The accused had no reason to be at Room 77, knocking therein, and


going inside, if he was not the party to deliver the shabu, and indeed he
was. And the Narcom elements have the right to pounce on him
immediately lest he gets away, or is tipped off, or can sense something is
amiss or wrong. Unless, of course, accused can explain then and there
that he knocked on the door and went inside Room 77 by mistake like
being an innocent hotel boy, room boy or hotel employee who is going
inside the room to fix the room. Or that accused is a hotel guest who
committed a mistake as to his correct room. but this is not the situation at
hand as no such explanation was immediately made by the accused. On
the contrary, accused went inside the room when let in indicating beyond
reasonable doubt that he was the party to deliver, and indeed he was, as
the shabu was taken from his person after the pre-arranged signal was
given by the undercover agent. These circumstances speak for
themselves. Res Ipsa Loquitor. The accused was caught in flagrante
delicto.

xxx xxx xxx 10

(Emphasis supplied)

We consider that under the total circumstances of this case, the warrantless arrest of
appellant inside Room No. 77 was merely the culmination of an entrapment operation
and that the taking of shabu from appellant was either done immediately before, or was
an incident of, a lawful arrest. 11

As his principal factual defense, appellant denied knowledge of the fact that the
package bearing the "Happy Days" wrapper contained a quantity of a dangerous drug,
claiming that he has merely been instructed by his employer, Mr. Ben Diqueros, to bring
the package to Baguio City as a gift for Mrs. Diqueros. Appellant sought to explain his
trip to Baguio by insisting that he has been asked by Mr. Diqueros to drive the latter's
Toyota Celica car to the Diqueros Residence in Tranco Ville, Baguio City, as Mrs.
Diqueros was planning to sell the car. Macasling had in turn invited Editha Gagarin,
together with the latter's children and mother, to join him in Baguio City. They reached
Baguio City later in the evening of 19 August 1988 and stayed temporarily at the Castilla
Monte. Appellant contended that he had left the Castilla Monte to see Mrs. Diqueros at
their residence in Tranco Ville but was informed by one Mario and a domestic helper
that Mrs. Diqueros was at the Hyatt Terraces Hotel. Appellant then had Mario
accompany him to the hotel where they found Mrs. Diqueros playing in the casino.
Appellant, however, decided not to bother Mrs. Diqueros and so returned to the Castilla
Monte.

While at the Castilla Monte, appellant continued, he received a telephone call from
Mario informing him that Mrs. Diqueros had finished playing at the casino. Although it
was then midnight, appellant together with Editha Gagarin proceeded to the Hyatt
Terraces Hotel. There they were met at the hotel lobby by Mario who informed them
that Mrs. Diqueros was at Room. No. 77. Appellant claimed that he was, in Room No.
77, searched at gunpoint and that the package he was carrying for Mrs. Diqueros was
seized. Unknown to him , he insisted, the gift package contained "shabu." 12

The trial court was not persuaded by appellant's elaborate disclaimer of knowledge
about the shabu, finding such disclaimer as contrived and improbable and not worthy of
credence. 13 The rule, of course, is that testimony to be believed must not only originate
from a credible witness, but must also itself be credible. 14 We see no reason, and we
have been pointed to none, why the Court should overturn the appraisal of the trial court
of the credibility (or rather lack of credibility) of the long story offered by the appellant.
We find no basis for departing from the basic rule that the appraisal by the trial court of
the credibility of witnesses who appeared before it is entitled to great respect from
appellate courts who do not deal with live witnesses but only with the cold pages of a
written record.

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court Baguio City, in Criminal Case
No. 5936-R is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

Bidin, Davide, Jr., Romero and Melo, JJ., concur.


Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 91261 February 19, 1991

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
REY FRANCIS YAP TONGSON @ REY, accused-appellant.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.


Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellant.

GRIO-AQUINO, J.:

Appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Maasin, Southern Leyte, Branch
25 in Criminal Case No. 1178 finding the accused, Rey Francis Yap
Tongson, alias Rey, guilty of the crime of rape committed against 13-year-old Glenda
Laplana.

As found by the trial court, the facts of the case are as follows:

. . . In the evening of May 21,1987, while the offended party was on her way
home from the house of Emerenciana Aberasturi at Malitbog, Southern Leyte,
she was held by the accused and forcibly dragged towards the sea. She shouted
for help but to no avail.

Upon reaching the seashore, the accused held her hair and immersed her in the
sea. The place of immersion was knee-deep. Her whole body wet, she was
dragged ashore by him. He then pushed her and she fell down. While she was
lying down, he gagged her with his T-shirt and then boxed her thrice on her
abdomen.

Thereafter, the accused removed her panty, inserted his fingers into her vagina,
and after pulling them out, had sexual intercourse with her. She tenaciously
resisted the lustful designs of the accused by moving her body, pushing him and
even boxing him while he was sexually abusing her. Her efforts at resistance,
however, proved futile as he was much stronger than she. (p. 19, Rollo.)

What happened afterwards are as follows:


. . . After he had performed the act, he warned her not to divulge it or else he
would kill her. The accused then brought her towards the house of Tiu Tiam Su
where he was then working.

When they reached near the house of Tiu Tiam Su alias Onjo, the accused told
her to wait because he would get a pump boat. She did not, however, wait for
him. As soon as he was at a distance from the house of Tiu Tiam Su, she ran
towards the house of her aunt, Estela.

Upon arriving at Estela's house she called for the people upstairs. Estela
responded to her call. They met at the stairway. Estela asked her why she was
wet and crying. She told Estela she (victim) was raped by the laborer of Tiu Tiam
Su. She then went up the house after telling Estela about the incident.

Later that evening she was brought to the office of the Chief of Police, Guerillito
Lura. There were policemen and civilians (among them being the accused) in
that office. When the Chief of Police asked her who among those men raped her,
she pointed to the accused. After identifying the accused she went to the hospital
for examination.

Corroborating certain parts of the victim's testimony, Estela Aberasturi declared


that at about 9:00 o'clock in the evening of May 21, 1987, Arleta Espera (a maid
of Emerenciana Aberasturi, Estela's mother-in-law) went to her house in the
poblacion of Malitbog. Arleta asked her where Glenda Laplana was. She told
Arleta that Glenda was at Emerenciana's house. Arleta said Glenda went ahead
of her as she (Glenda) felt sleepy.

When she (Estela) went downstairs, she felt surprised to see Glenda crying and
her whole body wet. She had no more slippers. She asked her why she was
crying. Glenda answered she was raped by the laborer of Tiu Tiam Su. She
further noticed that Glenda's hair was sandy and she had bruises on her arms
and feet. After questioning Glenda, she told her parents-in-law and also her
brother-in-law about the incident. And, they called for a policeman.

Guerillito Lura, the Station Commander of the Malitbog Police, testified that in the
evening of May 21, 1987 the guard of the Police Station sent for him, informing
him there was a rape incident. He immediately went to the police station. He
found many people there. He asked the guard what transpired. The guard told
him that Pat. Claro Faelnar and Pfc. Macario Lagatierra were in pursuit of the
perpetrator, a laborer of Tiu Tiam Su.

He followed the policemen to Tiu Tiam Su's residence. When he arrived there he
asked Lando (a son of Tiu Tiam Su) where Pat. Faelnar and Pfc. Lagatierra
were. He was told that they were looking for Rey. The policemen were then in the
bodega of Tiu Tiam Su searching for Rey. They could not find Rey at that instant.
Pat. Lagatierra followed Rey as he evaded the police and managed to jump out
of the bodega.

He summoned other policemen and some people around to help apprehend the
culprit. Among them were Fernando Aberasturi, his brother (Rico), and a younger
brother, Fernando apprehended Rey at the wharf about 50 meters away from the
bodega of Tiu Tiam Su. Rey was brought to him immediately.

When the victim (whom he had summoned) arrived, he asked her to pinpoint the
person who raped her. She immediately pointed to the accused, Rey Tongson,
from among some twenty persons present. The accused just bowed his head
when the victim identified him. Before the victim (Glenda Laplana) arrived at his
office, he asked the accused if it was true that he raped her. He admitted without
hesitation.

Dr. Leonardo S. Gimeno told the court he examined the victim, Glenda Laplana,
at about 11:00 o'clock in the evening of May 21, 1987. He issued a medico-legal
certificate containing his findings (Exh. A). He found all those multiple contusions
and abrasions indicated in Item No. 1 of Exh. "A". These injuries could have been
caused by fistic blows or by some pressure on the victim after she fell down.

With reference to Item No. 2, he told the victim to undress because he wanted to
examine her vagina. Upon taking off her panty, he saw blood on the front portion
of her panty. There was blood also on the vaginal orifice. The blood came from
the first-degree laceration. One cause of this laceration is the forced entry into
the vagina of a man's penis.

As he examined the victim further, he found traces of sand and grass in the
vaginal canal. The injuries sustained by the victim indicate signs of struggle by
her during the incident. His examination, however, proved negative for
spermatozoas. (pp. 16-18, Rollo.)

The records do not reveal when the victim filed a complaint, but the information based
on the complaint was filed with the Regional Trial Court on June 30, 1987.

After the trial, the lower court found Tongson guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of rape.1wphi1 It sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and
ordered him to indemnify the offended party in the amount of thirty thousand pesos
(P30,000.00). Petitioner-appellant was given credit for his preventive imprisonment.

In this appeal, the accused-appellant alleges that the trial court erred: (1) in giving much
weight and credit to the evidence of the prosecution without considering that of the
defense, and (2) in finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape.

Contrary to appellant Tongson's claim that the offended party voluntarily submitted to
his sexual advances, the trial court found that the victim Laplana resisted vigorously so
that he had to drag her towards the seashore. She testified that she shouted for help
many times but nobody was on the road at the time, so no one came to help her. She
described how she struggled against the appellant, causing him to box her three (3)
times in the abdomen, and her futile efforts to attract the attention of the persons
attending a public dance some 120 to 130 meters from the seashore where she was
sexually assaulted.

The alleged "public setting" of the rape is not an indication of consent. For, as pointed
out by the Solicitor General, rape may be committed at a place where people
congregate such as parks (People vs. Vidal, 127 SCRA 171), by the roadside (People
vs. Aragona, 138 SCRA 569), or on a passageway at noontime (People vs. Lopez, 141
SCRA 385). In the case of People vs. Barcelona, G.R. No. 82589, October 31, 1990, we
took judicial notice of the fact that a man overcome by perversity and beastly passion
chooses neither time, place, occasion, nor victim.

That no spermatozoa was present in the specimen that was taken from the vagina of
the victim did not disprove the rape. Presence or absence of spermatozoa is immaterial
since it is penetration, however slight, and not ejaculation that constitutes rape (People
vs. Paringit, G.R. No. 83947, September 13, 1990; People vs. Barro, Jr., G.R. No.
86385, August 2, 1990).

Appellant's contention that he did not have sexual intercourse with the complainant but
merely inserted his light middle finger into her vagina was correctly found by the trial
court to be incredible:

The claim of the accused that he merely inserted his middle right finger into the
victim's vagina does not appear credible. He admitted though that he did it
without her permission. His demonstration of how it was done defies our
imagination. Here is the reactment (sic) of the fantastic scene;

Sitting side by side with her, he placed his right thigh over the victim's left thigh,
holding her right hand with his left, and at the same time inserting his middle right
finger into her vagina, while the victim was holding his right lap with her left hand.
The situation described by him appears awkward and improbable.

Moreover, it does not jibe with his pre-demonstration testimony that he was
embracing the victim with his left hand, face to face with her, when he inserted
his right middle finger into her vagina. Furthermore, by demonstrating that the
victim held his right lap with her left hand while he was inserting his finger, he
wanted to imply that she voluntarily consented to such insertion. And yet
according to him, she got mad. Is this not absurd? (p. 45, Rollo.)

That the complainant was raped was established by the medical findings, to wit: "blood
in the vaginal orifice, first degree laceration of one inch or more at 6:00 o'clock position
of the vaginal orifice" (p. 61, Rollo). Dr. Leonardo Gimeno, the physician who examined
the victim after the incident, declared that the injury to her vaginal orifice was "caused
by the forced entry into the vagina of a man's penis" (p. 62, Rollo). The doctor's other
findings support complainant's testimony that she was raped on the seashore. Sand and
grass were found in her vagina. The multiple abrasions and contusions on the victim's
lips, right face, lower back including both buttocks, left elbow, left thigh, both knees, legs
and feet, are mute testimonies giving credence to her claim that the appellant dragged
her on the shore and forcibly had sexual intercourse with her.

When a woman testifies that she was raped, she says all that is necessary to show its
commission, for no young and decent Filipino in this case only thirteen (13) years old
would publicly admit having been ravished unless it is the truth, for her natural
instinct is to protect her honor (People vs. Manago, G.R. No. 90669, November 21,
1990; People vs. Barcelona, G.R. No. 82589, October 31, 1990). The testimony of a
rape victim is credible where no motive to testify against the accused is shown except
the desire to vindicate her honor (People vs. Lutanez, G.R. No. 78854, December 21,
1990; People vs. Fabro, G.R. No. 79673, November 15, 1990).

In any case, whether or not carnal knowledge is voluntary and free is a question of
credibility (People vs. Mercado, G.R. No. 72726, October 15, 1990). Since the
witnesses to rape are often only the victim and the offender, the trial judge's evaluation
of the witnesses' credibility deserves utmost respect in the absence of arbitrariness,
considering the trial judge's advantage of observing the witnesses' demeanor in court
(People vs. Felipe, G.R. No. 90390, October 31, 1990. We find no reason to reverse the
trial court's conviction of Tongson for rape.

WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of the Regional Trial Court in Criminal Case No.
1178 is affirmed in all respects except the award of damages to the victim Glenda
Laplana which is increased from P30,000 to P40,000 in accordance with the latest
policy of the Court.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, Cruz, Gancayco and Medialdea, JJ., concur.


Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 82589 October 31, 1990

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
GIDEON BARCELONA y DEQUITO, defendant-appellant.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.

Jose P. Villanueva counsel de oficio for accused-appellant.

PADILLA, J.:

In Criminal Case No. 6026 of the Regional Trial Court of Palawan, Gideon Barcelona y
Dequito was charged with the crime of Rape committed as follows:

That on or about the 7th day of November, 1985 at Barangay IV,


Poblacion, Municipality of Roxas, Province of Palawan, Philippines and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused with lewd
design, by means of force, threat and intimidation, did then and there,
wilfully, unlawfully and felonously have carnal knowlege, with one Sylina
Rodriguez against her wil and consent to her damage and predice. 1

When arraigned, the acused, assisted by counsel, pleaded "Not Guilty" to the
commission of the crime. 2 After trial, however, he was found guilty, as charged, and
sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, to pay the offended party the
amount of P30,000.00, and to pay the cost. 3

From this judgment, the accused appealed to this Court.

The incrimatory facts of the case, according to the People's counsel, are as follows:

Around 6:30 p.m. of November 7, 1985, Sylina Rodriguez, a sixteen-year


old high scholl student of the Roxas National Comprehensive High School
in Roxas, Palawan, was walking on her way home (July 2, 1986 tsn, p. 7.).
Upon reaching a point in the diversion road near the Medicare Hospital of
the new townsite, she looked back and say a male person jogging (Ibid.,
p.8). She continued walking (Ibid.). The jogger overtook her and, upon
doing so, suddenly turned back and took hold of her hands and started
pulling her towards the bushes (Ibid.). She resisted and hit him with fist
blows on his chest (Ibid.). As he was pulling her, he threatened to kill her
by making a motion to pull something from his back (Ibid.. p. 9). He was
finally able to pull her to the bushes (Ibid.).

In the bushes, he forcibly undressed her, removing both her skirt and
panty (Ibid., p. 10). He also undressed and forced her to lay down on her
back (Ibid.). He then lay on top of her and began to kiss her cheeks and
lips (Ibid., pp. 9-10). At this point, she was in tears (Ibid., p, 11). Then he
inserted his organ into her private part (Ibid., p. 1 0). She immediately felt
a stab of pain (Ibid., p. 11). When he was finished he allowed her to dress
up but warned her not to report the incident to the police authorities (Ibid,
p. 12). The victim then went home (Ibid., p. 13).

The following day, November 8, 1985, accompanied by her uncle and


auntie, she reported the matter to the police authorities (Ibid., p. 14).
Thereafter, she was brought to the Medicare Community Hospital where
she was examined (Ibid.).

Upon information from Hernando Cayaon that he saw accused-appellant,


Gideon Barcelona jogging near the diversion road in the late afternoon of
November 7, 1985, the police authorities invited the latter on November 9,
1985 for questioning (November 18, 1986, tsn, p. 3). Upon confrontation,
the victim positively Identified accused-appellant as the person who raped
her (July 2, 1986, tsn, p. 14). Thereafter, accused-appellant was placed
under arrest. 4

The accused Gideon Barcelona, however, denied that he committed the crime imputed
to him and interposed the defense of alibi. The trial court summarized the evidence for
the defense as follows:

The accused in his defense testified that he is presently 19 years old


having been born on November 7, 1968. He was employed since October
1985 in the finishing outfit of Paning Paner and has their base at Cabugan
Island, Roxas, Palawan. Normally, they go to the Poblacion of Roxas
every Saturday to haul water and supplies. Sometime in the afternoon of
November 9, 1985, he was fetched by P/Sgt. Eriberto Castillo of Roxas
Police Station and taken to the Municipal Building. In the said place he
saw Melchor Cayaon as well as his brothers and sisters. He alleged since
complainant saw him, she did not positively Identified (sic) him but
entertained doubts as the person who raped her.

Supporting in part his testimony was the statement of Roger a detainee at


the municipal jail of Roxas, Palawan at the time who alleged that he saw
suspect Melchor Cayaon in the early morning of 8 November, 1985. He
stated that at about 8:00 A.M. of the same day when victim saw Melchor
Cayaon, the former identified the latter as the one who raped her. He
further heard the complainant describe that the person who raped her had
curly hair. Suspect Melchor Cayaon had curly hair while accused Gideon
Barcelona had no curly hair.

In addition to this, witness Jose Lagrada testified that he was the


companion of the accused at the fishing outfit of Paning Paner. In brief,
said witness testified that he knew accused Gideon Barcelona. Both of
them were employed in said fishing outfit about the latter part of October,
1985 and continued uninterruptedly until his arrest on November 9, 1985.
He stated that their schedule of fishing is from 7:00 o'clock a.m. up to 1:00
o'clock p.m. He claimed that from the last week of October 1985 up to his
arrest on November 9, 1985, accused Barcelona never went to the
Poblacion of Roxas, Palawan and continuously stayed at Cabugan Island.
Despite prior knowledge that the latter was arrested for rape, he never
informed the Police Force of Roxas, Palawan or any person for that matter
about the stay of Barcelona in their place of work nor did he visited (sic)
accused in jail despite his close friendship with him. (Test. of Jose
Lagrada, tsn: pp. 1-11, December 12, 1986) 5

In this appeal, the accused-appellant claims that the trial court erred: (1) in giving weight
to the testimony of the complainant which is allegedly materially inconsistent,
contradictory and incredible; and (2) in convicting the accused-appellant when there is
no evidence on record that his guilt has been proved beyond reasonable doubt.

We find no merit in the appeal. There is no doubt that the complainant had been raped
on 7 November 1985, in the manner testified to by her and affirmed by the trial court.
When a woman testifies that she has been raped, she says in effect all that is
necessary to show that rape was committed, for no young and decent Filipino woman
would publicly admit that she has been criminally ravished unless that is the truth, for
her natural instinct is to protect her honor. 6

Besides, complainant's testimony is confirmed by the surrounding physical facts.


Medical examination of her genitalia in the morning following the attack showed that (1)
there was a slight mucosal inflammation of the labia majora; (2) hymenal laceration at
2:00 o'clock, 5:00 o'clock, and 9:00 o'clock; and (3) whitish mucosal vaginal discharge,
scanty in amount noted. 7 Dr. Feliciano Velasco, medical officer of the Roxas Palawan
Medicare Community Hospital, who examined the complainant, opined that this was the
first time she had sexual intercourse because the lacerations on the hymen were
fresh. 8

Moreover, the outrage was immediately reported to the police authorities after its
commission, removing any doubt that the complainant may have concocted her charge
against the appellant.
The appellant contends, however, that the crime of Rape was not committed because
no force or intimidation was employed, i.e., no external injuries or bruises or scratches
were found on the complainant's body, despite her testimony that she was dragged to
the bushes, and that the complainant did not offer tenacious and spirited resistance to
the assault on her.

The absence of physical injuries on the complainant's body does not, of itself, negate
the complainant's testimony that she was raped; nor does it make the complainant a
willing partner in the sex act. The victim need not kick, bite, hit, slap or scratch with her
fingernails the offender to successfully claim that she had been raped. It is enough that
coition was undertaken against her will. It is sufficient that the carnal knowledge was
done after the woman yielded because of an authentic apprehension of a real fear of
immediate death or great bodily harm. In this case, there is evidence that the offended
girl yielded to the carnal desires of the appellant for fear that he might kill her since,
according to complainant, the appellant had threatened her with death and made
menacing gestures as if to draw a weapon. It is this same fear that must have prevented
her from making an outcry or reporting the outrage to her uncle. 9

As the Court had said in a case, 10 "the force or violence required in rape cases is
relative. When applied it need not be too overpowering or irresistible. What is essential
is that the force used is sufficient to consummate the purpose which the offender had in
mind, or to bring about the desired result. In using force, it is not even necessary that
the offender is armed with a weapon, as the use of a weapon serves only to increase
the penalty. Intimidation can be addressed to the mind as well. In sum, the absence of
external signs or physical injuries does not negate the commission of the crime of rape.

As to the identity of the perpetrator of the dastardly act, the complainant declared, and
the trial court agreed with her, that the appellant committed the crime. The complainant
positively identified the accused as the person who raped her 11 and, as the trial court
said, she had no doubt nor second thought about her identification of the accused-
appellant. Besides, it would appear that the complainant had no ill motive to falsely
against the appellant. In fact, the appellant was a complete stranger to her and she did
not know his name then; But, when they came face to face, the second time, she readily
pointed to the appellant as the person who ravished her. 12 This court consistently held
that the testimony of a rape victim as to who abused her is credible where she has no
motive to testify falsely against the accused. 13

The appellant argues that the testimony of the complainant should not be given weight
and credence because it is allegedly inconsistent, contradictory and incredible in that:
(1) on direct examination, she declared that in trying to repel the advances of the
appellant, she bit him on the left forearm, whereas, on cross examination, she denied
having stated that she bit the appellant; (2) on direct examination, the complaint that
she did not report the incident to her uncle because she was afraid but, on cross
examination, she stated that she reported the incident to her uncle who, in turn,
reported it to the police; and (3) on direct examination, the complainant testified that the
sexual act took about twenty (20) minutes and that she felt pain, but that she felt no
ejaculation, while on cross examination, she stated that there was ejaculation inside her
vagina.

These alleged contradictory statements are not fatal as they refer to relatively minor
details, and they are to be expected from uncoached witnesses. They do not affect, nor
can they prevail over the positive identification of the appellant as the rapist. As
repeatedly held by the Court, the discrepancies and inconsistencies in the testimony of
prosecution witnesses which refer to minor details do not impair the probative value of
their testimony. 14

The insinuation of the appellant that he could not have raped the complainant on 7
November 1985 because it was his birthday is, definitely, without basis for a man
overcome by perversity and beastly passion chooses neither time, place, occasion, nor
victim.

There being no error committed in the judgment appealed from, the same should be
affirmed.

WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED with costs.

SO ORDERED.

Melencio-Herrera (Chairperson), Paras, Sarmiento and Regalado JJ., concur.