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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

FIRSTDIVISION

G.R.No.181246March20,2009

PEOPLEOFTHEPHILIPPINES,Appellee,
vs.
REMEIASBEGINOyGRAJO,Appellant.

DECISION

CARPIO,J.:

TheCase

ThisisanappealfromtheDecision1dated18September2007oftheCourtofAppealswhichaffirmedtheDecision2
dated13December2005oftheRegionalTrialCourtofLabo,CamarinesNorte,Branch64,(RTCBranch64)finding
appellantRemeiasBeginoyGrajo(appellant)guiltybeyondreasonabledoubtofthecrimeofrape,withmodification
reducingthepenaltyofdeathtoreclusionperpetua.

TheFacts

Appellantwasformallychargedon29January1999inanInformationwhichreads,asfollows:

ThatsometimeintheearlyafternoonofAugust2,1994inSitioWWW,BarangayXXX,YYY,ZZZ,Philippines,and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, being then the stepfather of private
complainantAAA,3withlewddesign,andbyusingforceandintimidation,didthenandtherewillfully,unlawfullyand
feloniouslyhavecarnalknowledgeofsaidAAA,an8yearoldgirl,againstherconsent,toherdamage.4

Uponarraignment,appellant,assistedbycounsel,pleadednotguiltytotheoffensecharged.5Trialensued.

TheprosecutionpresentedDr.VirginiaBarasona(Dr.Barasona),theRuralHealthOfficerinYYY,ZZZ,andMelinda
Reyes(Melinda),thesocialworkerofDepartmentofSocialWelfareandDevelopment(DSWD)whoconductedthe
socialcasestudyonAAA.

Atthetimeshetestified,AAAwas14yearsold.Shetestifiedthatshewasbornon28February1986.AAAstated
thatintheafternoonof2August1994,sheandappellantwerealoneintheirhouse.Appellantwassharpeninghis
bolowhilehermother,BBB,wasoutgetting"talapang."Shewasnotawarethatappellanthadclosedthedoorand
windowsofthehouse.AppellantapproachedAAAandremovedhershirt,pantiesandbra.Appellantremovedhis
shortsandbriefsandlaidAAAdownonthebamboobench.Withtheboloplacedonhisrightside,appellantplaced
himselfontopofAAAandinsertedhispenisintohervagina.AAAtriedtofightbackandresistedbutappellantwas
too strong. Appellant kissed her and touched her breasts. AAA felt pain and blood oozed out of her vagina. After
satisfyinghimself,appellantwarnedAAAthathewouldkillherandhermotherBBBifshewouldtellanybodyabout
theincident.6

Sometime in November 1998, AAA mustered enough courage to narrate her ordeal to her mother. AAA claimed
appellantrapedherfourtimeswhenshewasstilleightyearsold,thenwhenshewasinGradeIII,inGradeIVand
in Grade V. BBB brought her daughter to the DSWD where AAA was interviewed and assisted in executing her
swornstatementbeforethePhilippineNationalPoliceofYYY.7AAAwaslaterbroughttoDr.Barazonaformedical
examinationwhichrevealedthefollowing:

PHYSICALFINDINGS:

GeneralSurvey:conscious,coherent,ambulatory,notincardiorespiratorydistress,cooperative

Pertinentfindings:
nippleispinkish,measures.5cm.indiameter

areolaispinkish,1.8cm.indiameter

withdevelopingbreasts

lanugohairispresent

withhymenallaceration(healed)at9:00o'clockand6:00o'clockposition(s)

nonparousintroitus

labiaminoraisnotgaping

fouchetteisvshaped

admitstipoffingerupto1cm.with
resistance.8

Dr.BarasonaexplainedthatthelacerationsonAAA'shymenwerecausedbypenetrationsofanerectedandturgid
sexorgan.9

AAA testified that she stopped studying since 1998. She felt ashamed of what happened to her that she even
transferredtoDaetbecauseshewasscornedbypeople.10

Thedefensepresentedappellanthimself,CamiloBegino(Camilo)andReynaldoEsturas(Reynaldo)aswitnesses.

Appellant denied the accusation and asserted that he treated AAA and her siblings as his own children since he
startedlivingwiththeirmotherin1991.HeclaimedBBBwantedtogetridofhimasshewasalreadyromantically
linkedwiththeChiefoftheDepartmentofAgrarianReforminDaet.

Appellant further testified that from 6:00 in the morning of 2 August 1994 until 6:00 in the afternoon of the same
date, he was at the coconut plantation of Apolinario Malaluan (Apolinario) together with Camilo and Reynaldo
huskingcoconuts.Thedistancebetweenhishouseandthecoconutplantationistwokilometers,moreorless,and
would require a 30minute walk. There was never a time that he left the workplace since he took his lunch and
snacksthere.11

Defense witnesses Camilo and Reynaldo substantially corroborated appellant's testimony that appellant was with
themthewholedayfromsunrisetosunsetof2August1994andthattherewasneveratimethatappellantleftthe
workplace.12Camiloandappellantarefirstcousins,astheirfathersarebrothers.13

TheRulingoftheTrialCourt

Aftertrial,theRTCBranch64renderedjudgmenton13December2005findingappellantguiltybeyondreasonable
ofthe"crimeofstatutoryrapeaggravatedbythefactthatthevictimisbeloweighteen(18)yearsold"andthatthe
offender is the common law husband of BBB. Appellant was sentenced to suffer the penalty of death. He was
likewise ordered to pay the victim P75,000 as civil indemnity, P75,000 as moral damages, and P30,000 as
exemplarydamages.

Thetrialcourtfoundinconsistenciesinthetestimoniesofthedefensewitnesses.Camilotestifiedthatheownedthe
coconutplantationwhereappellantworkedbuthewasnotcertainastotheexactdateappellantwenttoworkatthe
coconut plantation. Reynaldo testified that appellant worked at the coconut plantation of Apolinario and not in the
allegedcoconutplantationofCamilo.

Thetrialcourtfurtherrejectedappellant'sdefenseofalibi.Thetrialcourtfoundthatittookonly30minutestowalk
goingtoappellant'shousefromthecoconutplantationwherehewashusking.Thetrialcourtruledthatitwasnot
physicallyimpossibleforappellanttohavebeenatthesceneofthecrimeatthetimeofitscommission.

TheRulingoftheCourtofAppeals

Onappeal,theCourtofAppealsaffirmedthejudgmentofconvictionbutreducedthepenaltyofdeathtoreclusion
perpetuainviewofRepublicActNo.9346(RA9346)proscribingtheimpositionofthedeathpenalty.

TheCourtofAppealsruledthatdenialandalibicouldnotprevailoverthepositiveidentificationbythevictim.The
Court of Appeals further ruled that the findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses enjoy a badge of
respectasthelatterisinabetterpositiontoobservethedemeanorofwitnessesastheytestify.
TheCourt'sRuling

Weagreewiththefindingsandconclusionofthetrialcourt,asaffirmedbytheappellatecourt,that,astheevidence
undoubtedlyproved,rapewascommittedbyappellantagainstAAA.

Thetrialcourtfoundappellantguiltyof"statutoryrapeaggravatedbythefactthatthevictimisbeloweighteen(18)
yearsold"and"theoffenderisthecommonlawhusband"ofthemotherofthevictim.Thus,itimposedthedeath
penalty pursuant to paragraph 1 of Article 266B. The appellate court agreed with the trial court but reduced the
penalty imposed from death to reclusion perpetua. However, we hold that appellant could not be indicted for
qualifiedrapeandpenalizedunderparagraph1ofArticle266B.

WhilethedeathpenaltyisnolongerimposableinviewofRA9346,thetechnicalflawcommittedbythelowercourts
isamatterthatcannotbeignored.

Article266AandArticle266Bprovide:

ART.266A.Rape,WhenandHowCommitted.Rapeiscommitted

1.Byamanwhoshallhavecarnalknowledgeofawomanunderanyofthefollowingcircumstances:

a.Throughforce,threatorintimidation

b.Whentheoffendedpartyisdeprivedofreasonorotherwiseunconscious

c.Bymeansoffraudulentmachinationorgraveabuseofauthorityand

d.Whentheoffendedpartyisundertwelve(12)yearsofageorisdemented,eventhoughnoneofthe
circumstancesmentionedaboveispresent

xxx

ART. 266B. Penalties. Rape under paragraph 1 of the next preceding article shall be punished by reclusion
perpetua.

xxx

The death penalty shall be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the following
aggravating/qualifyingcircumstances:

1.Whenthevictimisundereighteen(18)yearsofageandtheoffenderisaparent,ascendant,stepparent,
guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common law spouse of the
parentofthevictim.

xxx(Emphasissupplied)

Under Article 266B, paragraph 1, the death penalty shall be imposed if the crime of rape is committed when the
victim is under 18 years old and the offender is a "parent, ascendant, stepparent, guardian, relative by
consanguinityoraffinitywithinthethirddegree,orthecommonlawspouseoftheparentofthevictim."ThisCourt
hasruledthatthecircumstancesthatqualifyacrimeshouldbeallegedandprovedbeyondreasonabledoubtasthe
crimeitself.Theseattendantcircumstancesalterthenatureofthecrimeofrapeandincreasethepenalty.Assuch,
they are in the nature of qualifying circumstances.14 The age of the victim and her relationship with the offender
must be both alleged in the information and proven during the trial, otherwise, the death penalty cannot be
imposed.15

Theageofthevictimwassufficientlyproved.AAAwasundeniablybelow18yearsoldatthetimeshewasraped.
Althoughsheclaimedshewasbornon28February1986,herbirthcertificate16andtheSocialCaseStudyReport17
showedthatshewasbornon28March1986.Therapewascommittedon2August1994orwhenAAAwaseight
yearsandfourmonthsold.

However, the Information stated that appellant is the "stepfather" of AAA. A "stepfather" is the husband of one's
motherbyvirtueofamarriagesubsequenttothatofwhichthepersonspokenofistheoffspring.Itpresupposesa
legitimaterelationshipbetweentheappellantandthevictim'smother.18Theevidenceadducedbytheprosecution
showedthatappellantisnotthestepfatherofAAAbutthecommonlawspouseofBBB,motherofAAA.Infact,the
trial court itself, in its decision,19 found that appellant and BBB were not married and therefore he is not the
stepfatherofAAA.Duringthetrial,AAA,whenaskedwhyshekeptcallingappellant"Tiyo,"testifiedthatappellantis
thethirdhusbandofhermotherandthatthenameofherrealfatherisCCC,whoatthattimewasinManila.She
explainedthathermotherlivedseparatelyfromCCCsinceshewaseightmonthsoldandon2August1994,her
motherwaslivingwithappellant.20HerbirthcertificateandtheSocialCaseStudyReportlikewiseshowedthather
father is CCC, not appellant. CCC was married to BBB and appellant was never married to BBB. There was no
proofofmarriagebetweenBBBandappellant. 1avvphi1

Since appellant is not the stepfather of AAA, the prosecution's failure to prove the qualifying circumstance bars
convictionforrapeinitsqualifiedform.21

WhattheprosecutionclearlyprovedwasthatappellantwasthecommonlawspouseofBBB,butsuchcircumstance
wasnotallegedintheInformation.AndaswehaveruledinPeoplev.Garcia,22qualifyingcircumstancesmustbe
properly pleaded in the indictment. If the same are not pleaded but proved, they shall be considered only as
aggravatingcircumstancessincethelatteradmitofproofevenifnotpleaded.Itwouldbeadenialoftherightofthe
accusedtobeinformedofthechargesagainsthimandconsequently,adenialofdueprocess,ifheischargedwith
simplerapeandbeconvictedofitsqualifiedform,althoughtheattendantcircumstancequalifyingtheoffenseand
resultinginthecapitalpunishmentwasnotallegedintheindictmentonwhichhewasarraigned.

Consequently, since the qualifying circumstance of "common law spouse" was not alleged in the Information for
rapeagainstappellant,hecouldnotbeconvictedofrapeinthequalifiedformashewasnotproperlyinformedofthe
natureandcauseofaccusationagainsthim.Inacriminalprosecution,itisafundamentalrulethateveryelementof
the crime charged must be alleged in the complaint or information. The main purpose of this requirement is to
enabletheaccusedtoproperlypreparehisdefense.Heispresumedtohavenoindependentknowledgeofthefacts
thatconstitutetheoffense.23

Thequalifyingcircumstanceofrelationshipnothavingbeenproperlypleaded,appellantshouldbeconvictedonlyof
statutory rape under paragraph (d) of Article 266A, for having carnal knowledge of a woman "under twelve (12)
yearsofage."Statutoryrapeispunishablebyreclusionperpetua.24

As regards the award of damages and in accordance with prevailing jurisprudence, AAA should be awarded
P50,000 as civil indemnity, in addition to the award of moral damages of P50,000 for the immeasurable havoc
wrought upon AAA. In view of the peculiar relationship of the parties, appellant should likewise be made to pay
P30,000asexemplarydamages.

WHEREFORE, we find appellant REMEIAS BEGINO y GRAJO guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
statutoryrapeandsentencehimtosufferthepenaltyofreclusionperpetua.Heisfurtherorderedtopaythevictim
P50,000ascivilindemnity,P50,000asmoraldamages,andP30,000asexemplarydamages.

SOORDERED.

ANTONIOT.CARPIO
AssociateJustice

WECONCUR:

REYNATOS.PUNO
ChiefJustice
Chairperson

CONSUELOYNARESSANTIAGO* RENATOC.CORONA
AssociateJustice AssociateJustice

TERESITAJ.LEONARDODECASTRO
AssociateJustice

CERTIFICATION

PursuanttoSection13,ArticleVIIIoftheConstitution,IcertifythattheconclusionsintheaboveDecisionhadbeen
reachedinconsultationbeforethecasewasassignedtothewriteroftheopinionoftheCourt'sDivision.

REYNATOS.PUNO
ChiefJustice

Footnotes
*DesignatedmemberperSpecialOrderNo.588.
1PennedbyJusticeBienvenidoL.Reyes,withJusticesAuroraSantiagoLagmanandApolinarioD.Bruselas,
Jr.,concurring.
2PennedbyJudgeFrancoT.Falcon.

3 The real name of the victim and the immediate family members other than the accused are withheld
pursuanttothisCourt'sResolutiondated19September2006inA.M.No.041109SCaswellastheruling
inPeoplev.Cabalquinto,G.R.No.167693,19September2006,502SCRA419.
4Records,p.1

5RecordsofCriminalCaseNo.990344,pp.2930.

6TSN,18September2000,pp.211.

7Id.at1115.

8RecordsofCriminalCaseNo.990344,p.6.

9TSN,9November1999,pp.1213.

10Id.at18.

11TSN,3August2004,pp.215.

12TSN,29October2001,pp163September2003,pp.36.

13TSN,29October2001,p.7.

14Peoplev.Ferolino,386Phil.161(2000).

15Peoplev.Bayya,384Phil.519(2000)Peoplev.Maglente,366Phil.221(1999)Peoplev.Ilao,357Phil.
656(1998)Peoplev.Ramos,357Phil.559(1998).
16RecordsofCriminalCaseNo.990344,p.105.

17Id.at100.

18Peoplev.Radam,Jr.,434Phil.87(2002).

19Rollo,p.14

20TSN,18September2000,pp.56.

21Supra.

22346Phil.475(1997).

23Peoplev.Medina,360Phil.281(1998)Peoplev.Ramos,357Phil.559(1998).

24Peoplev.Rentoria,G.R. No. 175333, 21September2007,533SCRA708People v. Tampos, 455 Phil.


844(2003).

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