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G.R. No. 201565. October 13, 2014.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. EX-MAYOR CARLOS ESTONILO, SR.,


MAYOR REINARIO “REY” ESTONILO, EDELBRANDO ESTONILO a.k.a. “EDEL ESTONILO,”
EUTIQUIANO ITCOBANES a.k.a. “NONONG ITCOBANES,” NONOY ESTONILO-at large,
TITING BOOC-at large, GALI ITCOBANES-at large, ORLANDO TAGALOG MATERDAM a.k.a.
“NEGRO MATERDAM,” and CALVIN DELA CRUZ a.k.a. “BULLDOG DELA CRUZ,” accused,
EX-MAYOR CARLOS ESTONILO, SR., MAYOR REINARIO “REY” ESTONILO,
EDELBRANDO ESTONILO a.k.a. “EDEL ESTONILO,” EUTIQUIANO ITCOBANES a.k.a.
“NONONG ITCOBANES,” and CALVIN DELA CRUZ a.k.a. “BULLDOG DELA CRUZ,” accused-
appellants.

Remedial Law; Evidence; Witnesses; Testimonial Evidence; The age-old rule is that the task of assigning
values to the testimonies of witnesses on the witness stand and weighing their credibility is best left to the
trial court which forms its firsthand impressions as a witness testifies before it.—The age-old rule is that
the task of assigning values to the testimonies of witnesses on the witness stand and weighing their
credibility is best left to the trial court which forms its firsthand impressions as a witness testifies before
it. It is, thus, no surprise that findings and conclusions of trial courts on the credibility of witnesses enjoy,
as a rule, a badge of respect, for trial courts have the advantage of observing the demeanor of witnesses as
they testify.

Criminal Law; Murder; Elements of.—To successfully prosecute the crime of murder, the following
elements must be established: (1) that a person was killed; (2) that the accused killed him or her; (3) that
the killing was attended by any of the qualifying circumstances mentioned in Article 248 of the Revised
Penal Code; and (4) that the killing is not parricide or infanticide.

Remedial Law; Evidence; Circumstantial Evidence; Words and Phrases; Circumstantial evidence is that
evidence which proves a fact or series of facts from which the facts in issue may be established by
inference.—Circumstantial evidence is that evidence which proves a fact or series of facts from which the
facts in issue may be established by inference. It consists of proof of collateral facts and circumstances
from which the existence of the main fact may be inferred according to reason and common experience.
Here, the circumstantial evidence consists of the testimonies of Servando and Serapion. Servando was
present when Mayor Carlos, Sr. ordered his men to kill Floro. Whether this order was executed can be
answered by relating it to Antipolo’s eyewitness account as well as Serapion’s testimony.

Criminal Law; Aggravating Circumstances; Treachery; For treachery to be present, two elements must
concur: (1) at the time of the attack, the victim was not in a position to defend himself; and (2) the accused
consciously and deliberately adopted the particular means, methods, or forms of attack employed by him.—
Treachery also attended the killing of Floro. For treachery to be present, two elements must concur: (1) at
the time of the attack, the victim was not in a position to defend himself; and (2) the accused consciously
and deliberately adopted the particular means, methods, or forms of attack employed by him. The essence
of treachery is that the attack is deliberate and without warning, done in a swift and unexpected way,
affording the hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim no chance to resist or escape. In this case,
accused-appellant Nonoy and accused Negro successively fired at Floro about seven times — and the
victim sustained 13 gunshot wounds all found to have been inflicted at close range giving the latter no
chance at all to evade the attack and defend himself from the unexpected onslaught. Accused-appellants
Edel and Nonong were on standby also holding their firearms to insure the success of their “mission”
without risk to themselves; and three others served as lookouts. Hence, there is no denying that their
collective acts point to a clear case of treachery.

Same; Alibi; Denials; Alibi and denial are inherently weak defenses and must be brushed aside when the
prosecution has sufficiently and positively ascertained the identity of the accused as in this case.—The twin
defenses of denial and alibi raised by the accused-appellants must fail in light of the positive
identification made by Antipolo and Serapion. Alibi and denial are inherently weak defenses and must be
brushed aside when the prosecution has sufficiently and positively ascertained the identity of the accused
as in this case. It is also axiomatic that positive testimony prevails over negative testimony. The accused-
appellants’ alibis that they were at different places at the time of the shooting are negative and self-
serving and cannot be given more evidentiary value vis-à-visthe affirmative testimony of credible
witnesses. The accused-appellants, the victim, and the prosecution witnesses reside in the same
municipality and are, therefore, familiar with one another. More so, that the two principal accused in this
case are prominent political figures. Therefore, the prosecution witnesses could not have been mistaken
on the accused-appellants’ identity including those who remained at large.

Same; Same; It has been held that for the defense of alibi to prosper, the accused must prove the following:
(i) that he was present at another place at the time of the perpetration of the crime; and (ii) that it was
physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime during its commission.—It has been held that
for the defense of alibi to prosper, the accused must prove the following: (i) that he was present at another
place at the time of the perpetration of the crime; and (ii) that it was physically impossible for him to be
at the scene of the crime during its commission. Physical impossibility involves the distance and the
facility of access between the crime scene and the location of the accused when the crime was committed;
the accused must demonstrate that he was so far away and could not have been physically present at the
crime scene and its immediate vicinity when the crime was committed. Here, the accused-
appellantsutterly faled to satisfy the above quoted requirements. In fact, Mayor Carlos, Sr. and his other
co-accused, except for Nonong, admitted that they were near the school before the incident and at the
school minutes after the killing took place. Certainly, the distance was not too far as to preclude the
presence of accused-appellants at the school, and/or for them to slip away from where they were supposed
to be, unnoticed.

Same; Penalties; Death Penalty; The imposition of death penalty has been prohibited by Republic Act (RA)
No. 9346, entitled “An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines.”—The offense is
a complex crime, the penalty for which is that for the graver offense, to be imposed in the maximum
period. Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, provides for the
penalty of reclusion perpetua to death for the felony of murder; thus, the imposable penalty should have
been death. Plus the fact that there exists an aggravating circumstance, pursuant to Article 63,
paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code, the proper penalty is death. But the imposition of death penalty
has been prohibited by Republic Act No. 9346, entitled “An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death
Penalty in the Philippines”; thus, the RTC, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals, properly imposed upon
accused-appellants the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

Same; Damages; Exemplary Damages; When a crime is committed with an aggravating circumstance
either as qualifying or generic, an award of exemplary damages is justified under Article 2230 of the New
Civil Code.—When a crime is committed with an aggravating circumstance either as qualifying or
generic, an award of exemplary damages is justified under Article 2230 of the New Civil Code. Thus,
conformably with the above, the legal heirs of the victim are also entitled to an award of exemplary
damages in the amount of P100,000.00.

Same; Same; Interest Rates; An interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum shall be imposed on all
the damages awarded, to earn from the date of the finality of this judgment until fully paid, in line with
prevailing jurisprudence.—An interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum shall be imposed on all
the damages awarded, to earn from the date of the finality of this judgment until fully paid, in line with
prevailing jurisprudence.
DIVISION

[ GR No. 201565, Oct 13, 2014 ]

PEOPLE v. EX-MAYOR CARLOS ESTONILO +

DECISION

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:


In this appeal, accused-appellants Ex-Mayor Carlos Estonilo, Sr. (Carlos, Sr.), Mayor
Reinario Estonilo (Rey), Edelbrando Estonilo (Edel), Eutiquiano Itcobanes
(Nonong), and Calvin Dela Cruz (Bulldog) seek liberty from the judgment[1] of
conviction rendered by the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 45, Manila, which
found them guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the complex crime of Murder with
Direct Assault in Criminal Case No. 05-238607.

The above-named accused-appellants, along with four others, namely: Nonoy Estonilo
(Nonoy),[2] Titing Booc (Titing),[3] and Gali Itcobanes (Gali),[4] and Orlando Tagalog
Materdam (Negro)[5] were all charged in an Information dated July 30, 2004 that
reads:

That on or about April 5, 2004 at 8:00 o'clock in the evening thereof, at Celera
Elementary School,[6]Brgy. Villa Inocencio, Municipality of Placer, Province of
Masbate, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
named accused, with intent to kill, armed with firearms, conspiring, confederating and
mutually helping one another, with evident premeditation and treachery, did then and
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and shoot one FLORO A.
CASAS, while in the performance of his duty being the District Supervisor of public
schools, hitting the latter on the different parts of his body which caused his
instantaneous death.[7]

On November 8, 2005, the prosecutor filed an Amended Information,[8] which


provides:

That on or about April 5, 2004, at Celera Elementary School, Brgy. Villa Inocencio,
Municipality of Placer, Province of Masbate, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of
the Honorable Court of Masbate, the above-named accused EX-MAYOR CARLOS
ESTONILO, SR. and MAYOR REINARIO "REY" ESTONILO, conspiring and
confederating together and helping one another, with intent to kill, and with evident
premeditation and treachery, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
induce their co-accused, EDELBRANDO ESTONILO AL[I]AS "EDEL ESTONILO[,]"
EUTIQUIANO ITCOBANES AL[I]AS "NONONG ITCOBANES[,]" NONOY ESTONILO,
TITING BOOC, GALI ITCOBANES, ORLANDO MATERDAM Y TAGALOG ALIAS
"NEGRO MATERDAM[,]" [and] CALVIN DELA CRUZ AL[I]AS "BULLDOG DELA
CRUZ[,]" who were all armed with firearms, to attack, assault and use personal
violence upon the person of one FLORO A. CASAS, while in the performance of his
duty being a District Supervisor of public schools, by then and there shooting the latter,
hitting said FLORO A. CASAS on the different parts of his body which were the direct
and immediate cause of his death thereafter.[9]

When they were arraigned on November 9, 2005, the accused-appellants pleaded not
guilty to the crime charged. On the same date, the RTC issued a pre-trial order which
stated, among others:

a) Upon request by the prosecution, the defense admitted the following:


1. The identities of the five (5) accused present;
2. As to the jurisdiction of this Court, there was an Order from the Honorable
Supreme Court as to the transfer of venue;
3. The fact of death of Floro A. Casas;
4. That the victim Floro A. Casas at the time of his death was a District
Supervisor of the Department of Education.

However, upon request by the defense, the prosecution did not admit that Ex-
b) Mayor Carlos Estonilo, Sr. and Mayor Reinario Estonilo were not at the scene of
the incident during the incident.[10]

The prosecution presented nine witnesses, namely: Elsa Q. Casas (Elsa), the victim's
wife; Felix Q. Casas (Felix), the victim's son; Dr. Ulysses P. Francisco (Dr. Francisco),
the Municipal Health Officer, Placer, Masbate; Senior Police Officer 4 Restituto L.
Lepatan, Sr. (SPO4 Lepatan), Placer Police Station; Serapion M. Bedrijo (Serapion),
employee of Municipal Councilor candidate Boy dela Pisa; Carlo S. Antipolo (Antipolo),
a resident of Placer, Masbate; Diego L. Casas (Diego), cousin of the victim; Rosalinda
V. Dahonan (Rosalinda), a resident of Placer, Masbate; and Servando P. Rosales
(Servando), former employee of Ex-Mayor Carlos, Sr.[11]

The testimonies of the foregoing witnesses consisted of the following:

Felix narrated that on April 4, 2005, the day before his father, Floro Casas (Floro), was
gunned down, he was with the latter and some teachers at the Celera Inocencio
Elementary School, Placer, Masbate; that they were working on the closing ceremonies
to be held the following day; that one Ranio Morales called on Floro and told him that
Mayor Carlos, Sr. wanted to see him at his (Ranio) house; that Floro and Felix went to
see Mayor Carlos, Sr.; that when they saw Mayor Carlos, Sr., he showed them (Floro
and Felix) a program of a celebration of the Federation of 7th Day Adventist that
contained the names of the governor, the congressman, and Placer mayoralty candidate
Vicente Cotero (Cotero), as guests of the said activity; that Felix asked his father why
Cotero's picture was so big while Mayor Carlos, Sr.'s name was not mentioned in the
program; that Floro replied that he cannot help it because Cotero paid for the program;
that the answer angered Mayor Carlos, Sr. and he scolded Floro; that Mayor Carlos, Sr.
said "you are now for Cotero but you're only Estonilo when you ask for my signature
to sign the voucher. This is up to now that you will be the supervisor of Celera"; that
Floro responded "when are you a superintendent when you don't have any scholastic
standing. Just look if I will still vote for your son"; that Mayor Carlos, Sr. replied "let's
see if you can still vote"; and that the following day, Floro was shot to death.[12]

But prior to the April 4, 2005 incident, Felix recounted that on December 10, 2003,
upon invitation of Nonoy, he joined the latter's group for a drinking spree at a videoke
bar; that they talked about the death of one Titing Villester; that Nonoy told Felix
that "brod, do not be afraid, because others are supposed to be afraid [of] us because
they believe that we were the ones who killed Titing Villester"; that afterwards Felix
and the group were fetched at the videoke bar by Edel, a messenger of Mayor Carlos,
Sr.; that they were brought to the house of one Bobong Baldecir (a nephew of Mayor
Carlos, Sr.) in Daraga; that upon arriving thereat, Rey uttered "it's good that Dodong
(Felix's nickname) is with you; that Nonoy then said "who would not [be] otherwise,
his father would be the next victim after Titing Villester";[13] that Rey then turned to
Felix and said, "it's very important that your father is with us because a District
Supervisor has a big [role] in the Comelec's choice for those teachers who would
become members of the Board of Election Inspectors"; that Felix clarified that Rey was
then the 2004 mayoralty candidate for Placer, Masbate; and that Felix went along with
him since he was in Daraga, the bailiwick of the Estonilos.[14]

On cross examination, the counsel for the accused tried to discredit Felix by
questioning him on why it took him a long time to execute an affidavit relative to his
father's killing. Felix explained that he went to Cebu to stay away from Placer, which is
under the Estonilo's jurisdiction.[15] The defense confronted Felix of a criminal case
against him for illegal use of prohibited drugs, for which he was out on bail.[16]

On March 28, 2006, the prosecution presented two witnesses, Dr. Ulysses Francisco y
Pedrano and SPO4 Restituto Lepatan, Sr. The prosecution and the defense entered
into stipulation of facts relative to their testimonies.

[Stipulation of Facts on Dr. Ulysses P. Francisco's testimony:]


1. That Dr. Ulysses P. Francisco, a Municipal Health Officer of Placer, Masbate, is
expert in medicine;

2. That he was the one who conducted the Post-Mortem Examination on the dead
body of Floro Casas y Baronda on April 6, 2004 at Katipunan, Placer, Masbate;

3. That in connection with his examination, he prepared the Post-Mortem


Examination Report, marked as Exhibit "F," the printed name and signature of
Dr. Ulysses P. Francisco, marked as Exhibit "F-1";

4. That he also prepared the Certificate of Death, marked as Exhibit "G" and the
Sketch of a Human Body, marked as Exhibit "H";

5. The veracity and truthfulness of the Post-Mortem Findings indicated in the Post-
Mortem Examination Report; and

6. In the course of the examination of the victim, the said witness recovered three
slugs: the 1st slug was marked as Exhibit "I," the fragmented slug as Exhibit "I-1,"
and the metallic object consisting of two pieces of Exhibit "I-2."

[Stipulation of Facts on SPO4 Restituto L. Lepatan, Sr.'s testimony:]

1. That there exists a Police Blotter in the Record/Blotter Book of the Placer,
Masbate Police Station relative to the shooting incident that occurred on April 5,
2004 at Celera Elementary School. Said Police Blotter was requested to be
marked by the prosecution as Exhibit "J";

2. That said witness prepared the Police Report dated April 17, 2004 relative to the
blotter written on the Blotter Book. Said Police Report was requested to be
marked as Exhibit "J-1" and the signature of Sr. Police Officer IV Restituto L.
Lepatan, Sr. as Exhibit "J-1-a";

3. The existence of the Police Blotter as appearing in the Blotter Book page number
325. Said Police Blotter book page 325 was requested to be marked as Exh. "K"
and the bracketed portion thereof as Exh. "K-1."[17]

According to Dr. Francisco, Floro sustained gunshot wounds caused by more than one
firearm based on the sizes of the slugs recovered and that some of them were fired at
close range. The counsel for the accused waived his cross examination.[18]

Prosecution witness Serapion testified that while he was printing the name of
Municipal Councilor candidate Boy dela Pisa on the street facing the Celera Elementary
School on the night of April 5, 2004, he heard gunshots coming from inside the
compound of the school; that after two or three minutes, he saw more or less six
persons coming out of the school; that he was able to identify three of them as present
in the courtroom: Edel, Nonoy, and Nonong; that he saw the six men approach Mayor
Carlos, Sr.'s vehicle, which was parked near the school; that Mayor Carlos, Sr. and Rey
came out of a house nearby; that upon reaching the vehicle, Serapion heard Nonoy say
to Mayor Carlos, Sr. "mission accomplished, sir"; that Mayor Carlos, Sr. ordered Nonoy
and his group to escape, which they did using two motorbikes towards the direction of
Cataingan; and thereafter, that Mayor Carlos, Sr. and Rey drove towards the direction
of Daraga.[19]

During his cross examination, the defense tried to discredit Serapion by confronting
him with the fact that he has a pending criminal case for frustrated murder and that he
was out on bail.[20]

Antipolo testified that on April 5, 2004, he was riding his motorcycle and passing by
the gate of the Celera Elementary School when he heard gunshots and someone
shouted that Floro was shot; that he stopped, alighted from his motorcycle, went to the
gate, and saw four persons holding short firearms; that he identified Nonoy and Negro
as the two who fired at Floro about seven times; that he identified Edel and Nonong as
the two other gun holders; that at that moment, Gali shouted "sir, that's enough,
escape!"; that Gali was accompanied by someone named Ace, Titing and Bulldog; that
right after Gali shouted for them to escape, all of them hurriedly left the school
compound; that he saw Mayor Carlos, Sr.'s pick-up vehicle arrive soon thereafter; that
Mayor Carlos, Sr., Rey and Negro alighted from the vehicle and watched the
proceedings; that he heard Mayor Carlos, Sr. say "leave it because it's already dead";
and that afterwards, the police officers arrived.[21]

In an attempt to discredit Antipolo, the defense counsel confronted him with a criminal
case against him for homicide of one Edgardo Estonilo (brother of accused-appellant
Edel) that happened on October 30, 2005.[22]

Elsa was presented to testify on the probable motive for the killing of Floro, the
circumstances surrounding the killing and its discovery, their family background, her
husband's line of work, how she felt on their loss, and the expenses relative to his
killing. She testified that she heard there were people who were jealous of Floro's
position because he could bring voters to his side during election time; that Placer
mayoralty candidate Cotero donated medals for the 2003-2004 closing ceremony of
the entire district of public schools; that during the closing ceremony, the donor's name
was announced, which angered then Mayor Carlos, Sr.;[23] that when Floro was
processing a voucher worth P70,000.00, Mayor Carlos, Sr. refused to sign the same
and even threw the voucher on the floor saying "let this be signed by Vicente Cotero";
and that Floro's cousin, Diego Casas, helped Floro secure the Mayor's signature by
ensuring Mayor Carlos, Sr. that Floro was for him, and only then did Mayor Carlos, Sr.
agree to sign the voucher.[24]

Diego L. Casas corroborated Elsa's testimony relative to the fact that he helped Floro
secure Mayor Carlos, Sr.'s signature on the voucher.[25]

Rosalinda testified that at 7:00 a.m. on April 10, 2004, Mayor Carlos, Sr. went to her
house and told her that he would kill her husband following Floro; that she was
shocked and scared, thus, she went to the Placer Police Station and reported the
incident; that she went to see her husband, who was then campaigning for mayoralty
candidate Cotero, and informed him of what happened; and that she went to Elsa's
house and informed the latter of the threat.[26]

Servando attested that at about 7:00 a.m. on April 1, 2004, he was in the house of
Mayor Carlos, Sr. together with said Mayor, Nonong, Edgar Estonilo, the group of
Bulldog, Negro, Alias "S" [Ace], Rollie, Nonong, Edel, and Gali; that he witnessed
Mayor Carlos, Sr. say "ipatumba si Floro Casas"; that Servando later learned that the
mayor's men were unsuccessful in their goal because Floro was no longer in Barangay
Taberna, where they intended to execute the mayor's order; and that Mayor Carlos, Sr.
and his men again planned to kill Floro at Celera Elementary School on April 4,
2004.[27]

During cross examination, the defense confronted Servando with the latter's Affidavit
of Retraction, which he executed on June 14, 2004. The affidavit contained a
withdrawal of his Sinumpaang Salaysay taken on May 30, 2004 at the Philippine
National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) Camp Bonny
Serrano, Masbate City relative to the criminal complaint for direct assault with murder
filed against Mayor Carlos, Sr. and his company. He was also asked about two criminal
charges filed against him in Cebu relative to violation of Republic Act No. 9165, illegal
sale and illegal possession of dangerous drugs.[28]

On re-direct examination, Servando narrated that Mayor Carlos, Sr.'s nephew, Bobong
Baldecir, fetched him from his house and he was brought to the house of Mayor Carlos,
Sr. in Daraga; that from there, he was brought to Atty. Besario in Cebu; that Atty.
Besario informed him about the Affidavit of Retraction that he was supposed to sign,
which he did not understand as it was written in English; and that he clarified that the
contents of the affidavit was not his but those of Bobong.[29]

The defense on its part called to the witness stand Jesus Baldecir, Jr. (Jesus/Bobong),
Quirino D. Calipay (Quirino), and the five accused-appellants.

Jesus denied Servando's allegation that he (Jesus) forced him to sign the Affidavit of
Retraction. Jesus narrated that Servando gave word that he (Servando) wanted to meet
him (Jesus); that upon their meeting, Servando told him that he wanted to retract his
sworn statement because Mayor Carlos, Sr. and his company did nothing wrong; that
Jesus, Servando and Servando's wife went to Cebu to meet Atty. Besario; that while
traveling, Servando told him that was evading the men of Governor Go, Vicente Cotero
and Casas because he feared for his life; that during the meeting Atty. Besario prepared
the affidavit and translated it to Cebuano dialect; that afterwards, Jesus, Servando and
Servando's wife went to the Capitol so that Servando could sign it before the
prosecutor; that Jesus, Atty. Besario, Servado and his wife, and Dante Estonilo
(another nephew of Mayor Carlos) went to Manila to meet with the media; that the
media asked Servando whether he was forced to sign, or was given money or reward to
sign the affidavit of retraction, Servando replied in the negative; and that the purpose
of the press meeting was to present Servando and show that he was not kidnapped.[30]

But during his cross examination, Jesus admitted that his nickname was Bobong, and
that Mayor Carlos, Sr. is his uncle; that he is one of the accused in the criminal case for
the kidnapping of Servando; and that it was Dante (Dante) Estonilo who arranged for
the meeting with the media, and who served as Servando's and his wife's companion,
while he was with Atty. Besario.[31]

During his turn, accused-appellant Mayor Carlos, Sr. testified that in the early evening
of April 5, 2004 he was in a house near the Celera Elementary School attending a
birthday party; that while thereat, he heard successive gunshots and went out to ride
his vehicle so he could check the source of the gunshots; that when he reached the
school gate someone informed him that Floro was gunned down; that he did not see the
victim because according to the people it was boarded in a jeep and brought to the
hospital; and that he and his son, Rey, confirmed that they were at the school minutes
after the incident.[32]

During cross examination, Mayor Carlos said that he and Floro were close friends; that
he learned that he and his son were suspects in Floro's killing five months after the
incident; that he confirmed that Rey and Calvin dela Cruz were with him while
inquiring about the shooting at the school; and that he denied having met Felix on
April 4, 2004, seeing Rosalinda after April 5, 2004, or that Servando was his
bodyguard.[33]

Accused-appellant Rey testified that in the early evening of April 5, 2004 he was in his
house and was planning to campaign at Barangay Matagantang, Placer, Masbate; that
on his way to said barangay, he passed by Celera Elementary School and noticed his
father's vehicle, and that there were several people thereat; that he stopped and stayed
in the school for a few minutes, and then proceeded to meet his candidates for
counselors at Ranio's house; and that afterwards, they all went to Barangay
Matagantang.[34]

On cross examination, Rey expressed that this criminal case may be politically
motivated because his opponents could not attribute anything to him since he won as
mayor.[35]

Quirino narrated that in the evening of April 5, 2004, he and his family were having
supper at their house located in front of Celera Elementary School's guardhouse, when
they heard gunshots; that they immediately laid down, while Quirino ran across the
road and took cover at the school fence; that he peeped through the fence and saw
three persons firing a gun; that he could not identify them or their victim because it
was a bit dark; that after 10 to 20 seconds, he went back home; that a certain Joel
Alcantara and his companions went to him asking him to go with them inside the
school, once inside the school, they saw Floro lying face down; that he took the liberty
to go to the police headquarters located five minutes away; and that when he and the
Placer Chief of Police arrived at the school, he noticed Mayor Carlos, Sr. standing near
the gate.[36]

For his part, accused-appellant Nonong testified that in the evening of April 5, 2004 he
was engaged in a drinking spree in Nining Berdida's house at Barangay Pili, Placer,
Masbate; and that he stayed in her place until 11:00 p.m.[37]

During his cross examination, accused-appellant Nonong acknowledged that Mayor


Carlos, Sr. is his uncle and Rey is his second cousin; that he was not Mayor Carlos, Sr.'s
bodyguard, but admitted that he handled the latter's fighting cocks; and admitted that
Barangay Pili is 40 to 45 minutes away from the poblacion of Placer.[38]

Edel related that in the evening of April 5, 2004, he was sleeping in his house when Rey
called him to go to Ranio's house in Placer, Masbate for a meeting; that their group
passed by Celera Elementary School and saw that there were plenty of people, one of
whom was Mayor Carlos, Sr.; that their group stopped to inquire about what happened,
and learned that Floro was gunned down; and that he and his group stayed for about
five minutes and left.[39]

Accused-appellant Bulldog was also presented in court and confirmed that he was with
Mayor Carlos, Sr. and his wife attending a birthday party near the Celera Elementary
School; that they went to the school to check on what happened and learned that Floro
was shot; and that they did not stay long and went home to Daraga.[40]

During cross examination, he denied that he was the bodyguard of Mayor Carlos, Sr.;
and that he was merely accompanying the latter to help in pushing his vehicle in case
the starter failed to work.[41]

After trial, the RTC found the accused-appellants guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime charged. The fallo of its March 30, 2009 Decision provides:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court finds the accused EX-MAYOR


CARLOS ESTONILO, SR., MAYOR REINARIO "REY" ESTONILO, EDELBRANDO
ESTONILO alias "EDEL ESTONILO," EUTIQUIANO ITCOBANES alias "NONONG
ITCOBANES," and CALVIN DELA CRUZ alias BULLDOG DELA CRUZ" GUILTY
BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT of the crime of Murder with Direct Assault under
Article 248 and Article 148 in relation to Article 48 all of the Revised Penal Code and
each of said accused are hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of
twenty (20) years and one (1) day to forty (40) years of reclusion perpetua.

As civil liability pursuant to Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, the aforesaid
sentenced the accused are all hereby ordered to solidarily indemnify the family of the
victim Floro Casas in the amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00). Likewise, by
way of moral damages, the said accused are furthermore ordered to solidarily pay the
said family the amount of One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00).

The accused are, however, credited in the service of their sentence the full time during
which they have been denied.

Let this case be archived as against the accused NONOY ESTONILO, TITING BOOC,
and GALI ITCOBANES who have warrants of arrest issued against them but still
remain at large, pending their arrest/s.

As to the accused ORLANDO TAGALOG MATERDAM ALIAS "NEGRO MATERDAM,"


separate trial is necessary considering that he was only recently arrested when the trial
of this case as to the other accused was already about to end.[42]

The RTC gave credence to the eyewitness account of Antipolo and the corroborating
testimony of Serapion, who were both present at the school grounds during the
shooting incident. The RTC pronounced that the evidence on record showed unity of
purpose in the furtherance of a common criminal design, that was the killing of
Floro. Accused-appellants Nonoy and Negro were the gunmen, while accused-
appellants Edel and Nonong served as backup gunmen. Accused-appellant Bulldog,
and accused Gali, Titing and one alias Ace served as lookouts.[43]

The RTC found accused-appellants Mayor Carlos, Sr. and Rey to have ordered their co-
accused to kill Floro based on the testimony of Servando, who was present when the
group planned to kill Floro. Thus, the RTC concluded that Ex-Mayor Carlos, Sr. is a
principal by inducement. And accused-appellant Rey conspired with his father. In
sum, the prosecution was able to establish conspiracy and evident premeditation
among all the accused-appellants.[44]

The accused-appellants' defense of alibi and denial did not withstand the positive
identification of the prosecution witnesses. The accused-appellants claimed that they
were somewhere else in Placer, Masbate when the shooting took place. However, they
were not able to establish the physical improbability of their being in the crime scene at
the time of the shooting. The RTC was convinced that the motive for the murder was
due to Floro's support for mayoral candidate Vicente Cotero. Since the victim was a
district supervisor of public schools, the RTC convicted the accused-appellants of the
complex crime of murder with direct assault.[45]
All five accused-appellants appealed the foregoing RTC decision to the Court of Appeals
alleging that the RTC erred in concluding that motive was duly established, in
appreciating the prosecution evidence and disregarding the salient points of the
defense evidence, and in convicting the accused.[46]

In its May 12, 2011 Decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed with modification the RTC
decision.[47] The dispositive part thereof reads:

WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing, the instant appealed is denied. The Decision
dated 30 March 2009 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 45 is
hereby AFFIRMED with modification in that the penalty imposed upon accused-
appellants shall simply be reclusion perpetuawith its accessory penalties and that the
award of civil indemnity is increased to Seventy[-]Five Thousand Pesos
(P75,000.00).[48]

The Court of Appeals sustained the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the RTC
considering that the RTC had observed and monitored at close range the conduct,
behavior and deportment of the witnesses as they testified. The Court of Appeals
corrected the penalty imposed, and explained that reclusion perpetua is an indivisible
penalty which should be imposed without specifying the duration.

On June 29, 2011, the accused-appellants moved for reconsideration,[49] which the
Court of Appeals denied in its November 8, 2011 Resolution.[50] Unsatisfied, the
accused-appellants appealed their case before this Court.[51]

This Court's Ruling

The accused-appellants pray for the reversal of the judgment of conviction in the
criminal case on the following assignment of errors: the RTC and the Court of Appeals
erred in (1) giving credence and weight to the prosecution evidence, (2) finding that
there was conspiracy among the accused-appellants, and (3) finding the accused-
appellants guilty beyond reasonable doubt based on the prosecution evidence.

In essence, the defense disagrees with the disposition of the Court of Appeals affirming
their conviction for murder with direct assault on the ground that some of the
testimonies of the prosecution witnesses constitute circumstantial evidence, and that
the prosecution was not able to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

The appeal fails.

After a review of the record of the case, this Court sustains the conviction of the
accused-appellants for murder with direct assault.

The age-old rule is that the task of assigning values to the testimonies of witnesses on
the witness stand and weighing their credibility is best left to the trial court which
forms its first-hand impressions as a witness testifies before it. It is, thus, no surprise
that findings and conclusions of trial courts on the credibility of witnesses enjoy, as a
rule, a badge of respect, for trial courts have the advantage of observing the demeanor
of witnesses as they testify.[52]

This Court had nevertheless carefully scrutinized the records but found no indication
that the trial and the appellate courts overlooked or failed to appreciate facts that, if
considered, would change the outcome of this case. The trial court and the appellate
court did not err in giving credence to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses,
particularly of Antipolo who was an eyewitness to the crime.

Antipolo's testimony did not suffer from any serious and material inconsistency that
could possibly detract from his credibility. He identified the accused-appellant Nonoy
and accused Negro as those who fired at Floro about seven times, while accused-
appellants Edel and Nonong were on standby also holding their firearms. He also
witnessed accused Gali shouting to the gunmen to stop and escape. He narrated that
after all the accused left, Mayor Carlos, Sr., Rey and Materdam arrived aboard the
mayor's vehicle. He also heard Mayor Carlos said "leave it because it's already
dead." From his direct and straightforward testimony, there is no doubt as to the
identity of the culprits.

To successfully prosecute the crime of murder, the following elements must be


established:[53] (1) that a person was killed; (2) that the accused killed him or her; (3)
that the killing was attended by any of the qualifying circumstances mentioned in
Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code; and (4) that the killing is not parricide or
infanticide.[54]

In this case, the prosecution was able to clearly establish that (1) Floro was killed; (2)
Ex-Mayor Carlos, Sr., Rey, Edel, Nonong, and Calvin were five of the nine perpetrators
who killed him; (3) the killing was attended by the qualifying circumstance of evident
premeditation as testified to by prosecution eyewitnesses, Servando and Antipolo, as
well as treachery as below discussed; and (4) the killing of Floro was neither parricide
nor infanticide.

Of the four elements, the second and third elements are essentially contested by the
defense. The Court finds that the prosecution unquestionably established these two
elements.

For the second element, the prosecution presented pieces of evidence which when
joined together point to the accused-appellants as the offenders. Foremost, there is
motive to kill Floro. It was Floro's support for Vicente Cotero, who was Rey's opponent
for the position of mayor in Placer, Masbate. Second, the prosecution was able to
establish that the accused-appellants planned to kill Floro on two separate
occasions. The prosecution witness, Servando, was present in Mayor Carlos, Sr.'s
house when they were plotting to kill Floro. He also heard Mayor Carlos, Sr. say
"ipatumba si Floro Casas." Third, Antipolo was an eyewitness to the killing. His
testimony was corroborated by another witness, Serapion, who testified having seen
the accused-appellants leaving the school a few minutes after he heard the
gunshots. Serapion also recounted having heard one of them said "mission
accomplished sir," after which, Mayor Carlos, Sr. ordered them to leave.

Essentially, the prosecution evidence consists of both direct evidence and


circumstantial evidence. The testimony of the eyewitness Antipolo is direct evidence of
the commission of the crime.

Circumstantial evidence is that evidence which proves a fact or series of facts from
which the facts in issue may be established by inference.[55] It consists of proof of
collateral facts and circumstances from which the existence of the main fact may be
inferred according to reason and common experience.[56] Here, the circumstantial
evidence consists of the testimonies of Servando and Serapion. Servando was present
when Mayor Carlos, Sr. ordered his men to kill Floro. Whether this order was executed
can be answered by relating it to Antipolo's eyewitness account as well as Serapion's
testimony.

As for the third element of qualifying circumstance, the prosecution witness, Servando,
testified that he was present on the two occasions when the accused-appellants were
planning to kill Floro. His categorical and straightforward narration proves the
existence of evident premeditation.

Treachery also attended the killing of Floro. For treachery to be present, two elements
must concur: (1) at the time of the attack, the victim was not in a position to defend
himself; and (2) the accused consciously and deliberately adopted the particular
means, methods, or forms of attack employed by him. The essence of treachery is that
the attack is deliberate and without warning, done in a swift and unexpected way,
affording the hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim no chance to resist or
escape. In this case, accused-appellant Nonoy and accused Negro successively fired at
Floro about seven times and the victim sustained 13 gunshot wounds all found to have
been inflicted at close range giving the latter no chance at all to evade the attack and
defend himself from the unexpected onslaught. Accused-appellants Edel and Nonong
were on standby also holding their firearms to insure the success of their "mission"
without risk to themselves; and three others served as lookouts. Hence, there is no
denying that their collective acts point to a clear case of treachery.

Defense of denial and alibi

The twin defenses of denial and alibi raised by the accused-appellants must fail in light
of the positive identification made by Antipolo and Serapion. Alibi and denial are
inherently weak defenses and must be brushed aside when the prosecution has
sufficiently and positively ascertained the identity of the accused as in this case. It is
also axiomatic that positive testimony prevails over negative testimony.[57] The
accused-appellants' alibis that they were at different places at the time of the shooting
are negative and self-serving and cannot be given more evidentiary value vis-à-vis the
affirmative testimony of credible witnesses. The accused-appellants, the victim, and
the prosecution witnesses reside in the same municipality and are, therefore, familiar
with one another. More so, that the two principal accused in this case are prominent
political figures. Therefore, the prosecution witnesses could not have been mistaken on
the accused-appellants' identity including those who remained at large.

Further, it has been held that for the defense of alibi to prosper, the accused must prove
the following: (i) that he was present at another place at the time of the perpetration of
the crime; and (ii) that it was physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the
crime during its commission. Physical impossibility involves the distance and the
facility of access between the crime scene and the location of the accused when the
crime was committed; the accused must demonstrate that he was so far away and could
not have been physically present at the crime scene and its immediate vicinity when the
crime was committed.[58] Here, the accused-appellants utterly failed to satisfy the
above-quoted requirements. In fact, Mayor Carlos, Sr. and his other co-accused, except
for Nonong, admitted that they were near the school before the incident and at the
school minutes after the killing took place. Certainly, the distance was not too far as to
preclude the presence of accused-appellants at the school, and/or for them to slip away
from where they were supposed to be, unnoticed.

Penalties

On the offense committed by accused-appellants, the RTC correctly concluded that


they should be held accountable for the complex crime of direct assault with
murder. There are two modes of committing atentados contra la autoridad o sus
agentes under Article 148 of the Revised Penal Code. Accused-appellants committed
the second form of assault, the elements of which are that there must be an attack, use
of force, or serious intimidation or resistance upon a person in authority or his agent;
the assault was made when the said person was performing his duties or on the
occasion of such performance; and the accused knew that the victim is a person in
authority or his agent, that is, that the accused must have the intention to offend, injure
or assault the offended party as a person in authority or an agent of a person in
authority.

In this case, Floro was the duly appointed District Supervisor of Public Schools, Placer,
Masbate, thus, was a person in authority. But contrary to the statement of the RTC that
there was direct assault just because Floro was a person in authority, this Court
clarifies that the finding of direct assault is based on the fact that the attack or assault
on Floro was, in reality, made by reason of the performance of his duty as the District
Supervisor.

When the assault results in the killing of that agent or of a person in authority for that
matter, there arises the complex crime of direct assault with murder or homicide.

The offense is a complex crime, the penalty for which is that for the graver offense, to
be imposed in the maximum period. Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended
by Republic Act No. 7659, provides for the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death for
the felony of murder; thus, the imposable penalty should have been death. Plus the fact
that there exists an aggravating circumstance, pursuant to Article 63, paragraph 2 of
the Revised Penal Code, the proper penalty is death. But the imposition of death
penalty has been prohibited by Republic Act No. 9346, entitled "An Act Prohibiting the
Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines"; thus, the RTC, as affirmed by the
Court of Appeals, properly imposed upon accused-appellants the penalty of reclusion
perpetua.

The Proper Indemnities

As to the proper monetary awards imposable for the crime charged, modifications must
be made herein. The award of P100,000.00 each as civil indemnity and moral
damages is proper to conform with current jurisprudence. [59]

Further, when a crime is committed with an aggravating circumstance either as


qualifying or generic, an award of exemplary damages is justified under Article
2230[60] of the New Civil Code. Thus, conformably with the above, the legal heirs of the
victim are also entitled to an award of exemplary damages[61] in the amount of
P100,000.00.

Lastly, an interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum shall be imposed on all the
damages awarded, to earn from the date of the finality of this judgment until fully paid,
in line with prevailing jurisprudence.[62]

At this point, notice must be made that on January 28, 2014, the Superintendent, New
Bilibid Prison informed this Court of the death of accused-appellant Ex-Mayor Carlos,
Sr. on January 9, 2013. In view thereof, the case against deceased Ex-Mayor Carlos, Sr.
is hereby ordered dismissed.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court of Appeals Decision dated May 12,
2011 in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 04142, affirming the Decision dated March 30, 2009,
promulgated by the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 45, in Criminal Case
No. 05-238607, finding accused-appellants REINARIO "REY" ESTONILO,
EDELBRANDO "EDEL" ESTONILO, EUTIQUIANO "NONONG" ITCOBANES, and
CALVIN "BULLDOG" DELA CRUZ GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of Murder with
Direct Assault, is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS, the award of civil
indemnity and moral damages is increased to P100,000.00 each, in addition to
P100,000.00 as exemplary damages, and the imposition of 6% thereon as legal interest
upon finality of this Court's Decision.

SO ORDERED.

Sereno, CJ., (Chairperson), Bersamin, Perez, and Perlas-Bernabe, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 202692. November 12, 2014.*

EDMUND SYDECO y SIONZON, petitioner, vs.PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.

Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure; Appeals; The rule according great weight, even finality at times, to the
trial court’s findings of fact does hold sway when it appears in the record that facts and circumstances of
weight and substance have been overlooked, misapprehended or misapplied in a case under appeal.—
Prefatory, the rule according great weight, even finality at times, to the trial court’s findings of fact does
hold sway when, as here, it appears in the record that facts and circumstances of weight and substance
have been overlooked, misapprehended or misapplied in a case under appeal. Corollary, it is basic that an
appeal in criminal prosecutions throws the whole case wide open for review, inclusive of the matter of
credibility and appreciation of evidence. Peace officers and traffic enforcers, like other public officials and
employees are bound to discharge their duties with prudence, caution and attention, which careful men
usually exercise in the management of their own affairs.

Criminal Law; Land Transportation and Traffic Code; Traffic Violations; Reckless Driving; Swerving;
Words and Phrases; “Swerving,” as ordinarily understood, refers to a movement wherein a vehicle shifts
from a lane to another or to turn aside from a direct course of action or movement. The act may become
punishable when there is a sign indicating that swerving is prohibited or where swerving partakes the
nature of reckless driving, a concept defined under Republic Act (RA) No. 4136.—In fine, at the time of his
apprehension, or when he was signaled to stop, to be precise, petitioner has not committed any crime or
suspected of having committed one. “Swerving,” as ordinarily understood, refers to a movement wherein a
vehicle shifts from a lane to another or to turn aside from a direct course of action or movement. The act
may become punishable when there is a sign indicating that swerving is prohibited or where swerving
partakes the nature of reckless driving, a concept defined under RA 4136, as: SECTION 48. Reckless
Driving.—No person shall operate a motor vehicle on any highway recklessly or without reasonable
caution considering the width, traffic, grades, crossing, curvatures, visibility and other conditions of the
highway and the conditions of the atmosphere and weather, or so as to endanger the property or the
safety or rights of any person or so as to cause excessive or unreasonable damage to the highway.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Swerving is not necessarily indicative of imprudent behavior let alone
constitutive of reckless driving. To constitute the offense of reckless driving, the act must be something more
than a mere negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle, and a willful and wanton disregard of the
consequences is required.—Swerving is not necessarily indicative of imprudent behavior let alone
constitutive of reckless driving. To constitute the offense of reckless driving, the act must be something
more than a mere negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle, and a willful and wanton disregard of
the consequences is required. Nothing in the records indicate that the area was a “no swerving or
overtaking zone.” Moreover, the swerving incident, if this be the case, occurred at around 3:00 a.m. when
the streets are usually clear of moving vehicles and human traffic, and the danger to life, limb and
property to third persons is minimal. When the police officers stopped the petitioner’s car, they did not
issue any ticket for swerving as required under Section 29 of RA 4136. Instead, they inspected the vehicle,
ordered the petitioner and his companions to step down of their pick-up and concluded that the petitioner
was then drunk mainly because of the cases of beer found at the trunk of the vehicle.
Same; Resistance and Serious Disobedience; The two (2) key elements of resistance and serious
disobedience punished under Art. 151 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) are: (1) That a person in authority
or his agent is engaged in the performance of official duty or gives a lawful order to the offender; and (2)
That the offender resists or seriously disobeys such person or his agent.—Going over the records, it is fairly
clear that what triggered the confrontational stand-off between the police team, on one hand, and
petitioner on the other, was the latter’s refusal to get off of the vehicle for a body and vehicle search
juxtaposed by his insistence on a plain view search only. Petitioner’s twin gestures cannot plausibly be
considered as resisting a lawful order. He may have sounded boorish or spoken crudely at that time, but
none of this would make him a criminal. It remains to stress that the petitioner has not, when flagged
down, committed a crime or performed an overt act warranting a reasonable inference of criminal
activity. He did not try to avoid the road block established. He came to a full stop when so required to
stop. The two key elements of resistance and serious disobedience punished under Art. 151 of the RPC
are: (1) That a person in authority or his agent is engaged in the performance of official duty or gives a
lawful order to the offender; and (2) That the offender resists or seriously disobeys such person or his
agent.

Land Transportation and Traffic Code; Checkpoints; There is, to stress, nothing in Republic Act (RA) No.
4136 that authorized the checkpoint-manning policemen to order petitioner and his companions to get out
of the vehicle for a vehicle and body search.—There is, to stress, nothing in RA 4136 that authorized the
checkpoint-manning policemen to order petitioner and his companions to get out of the vehicle for a
vehicle and body search. And it bears to emphasize that there was no reasonable suspicion of the
occurrence of a crime that would allow what jurisprudence refers to as a “stop and frisk” action. As SPO4
Bodino no less testified, the only reason why they asked petitioner to get out of the vehicle was not
because he has committed a crime, but because of their intention to invite him to Station 9 so he could
rest before he resumes driving. But instead of a tactful invitation, the apprehending officers, in an act
indicative of overstepping of their duties, dragged the petitioner out of the vehicle and, in the process of
subduing him, pointed a gun and punched him on the face. None of the police officers, to note,
categorically denied the petitioner’s allegation about being physically hurt before being brought to the
Ospital ng Maynila to be tested for intoxication. What the policemen claimed was that it took the three (3)
of them to subdue the fifty-five-year-old petitioner. Both actions were done in excess of their authority
granted under RA 4136.

Criminal Law; Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013; Drunk Driving; The Anti-Drunk and
Drugged Driving Act of 2013 (Republic Act [RA] No. 10586) which also penalizes driving under the
influence of alcohol (DUIA), a term defined under its Sec. 3(e) as the “act of operating a motor vehicle while
the driver’s blood alcohol concentration level has, after being subjected to a breath analyzer test reached the
level of intoxication as established jointly by the (Department of Health [DOH]), the (National Police
Commission [NA-POLCOM]) and the (Department of Transportation and Communications [DOTC]).—It
cannot be emphasized enough that smelling of liquor/alcohol and be under the influence of liquor are
differing concepts. Corollarily, it is difficult to determine with legally acceptable certainty whether a
person is drunk in contemplation of Sec. 56(f) of RA 4136 penalizing the act of driving under the influence
of alcohol. The legal situation has of course changed with the approval in May 2013 of the Anti-Drunk and
Drugged Driving Act of 2013 (RA 10586) which also penalizes driving under the influence of alcohol
(DUIA), a term defined under its Sec. 3(e) as the “act of operating a motor vehicle while the driver’s blood
alcohol concentration level has, after being subjected to a breath analyzer test reached the level of
intoxication as established jointly by the [DOH], the [NAPOLCOM] and the [DOTC]. And under Sec. 3(g)
of the IRR of RA 10586, a driver of a private motor vehicle with gross vehicle weight not exceeding 4,500
kilograms who has BAC [blood alcohol concentration] of 0.05% or higher shall be conclusive proof that
said driver is driving under the influence of alcohol. Viewed from the prism of RA 10586, petitioner
cannot plausibly be convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol for this obvious reason: he had not
been tested beyond reasonable doubt, let alone conclusively, for reaching during the period material the
threshold level of intoxication set under the law for DUIA, i.e., a BAC of 0.05% or over. Under Art. 22 of
the RPC, penal laws shall be given retroactive insofar as they are favorable to the accused. Section 19 of
RA 10586 expressly modified Sec. 56(f) of RA 4136. Verily, even by force of Art. 22 of the RPC in relation
to Sec. 3(e) of RA 10586 alone, petitioner could very well be acquitted for the charge of driving under the
influence of alcohol, even if the supposed inculpatory act occurred in 2006.

Same; Same; Same; The absence of conclusive proof being under the influence of liquor while driving
coupled with the forceful manner the police yanked petitioner out of his vehicle argues against or at least
cast doubt on the finding of guilt for drunken driving and resisting arrest.—Conviction must come only
after it survives the test of reason. It is thus required that every circumstance favoring one’s innocence be
duly taken into account. Given the deviation of the police officers from the standard and usual procedure
in dealing with traffic violation by perceived drivers under the influence of alcohol and executing an
arrest, the blind reliance and simplistic invocation by the trial court and the CA on the presumption of
regularity in the conduct of police duty is clearly misplaced. As stressed in People v. Ambrosio, 427 SCRA
312 (2004), the presumption of regularity is merely just that, a presumption disputable by contrary proof
and which when challenged by the evidence cannot be regarded as binding truth. And to be sure, this
presumption alone cannot preponderate over the presumption of innocence that prevails if not overcome
by proof that obliterates all doubts as to the offender’s culpability. In the present case, the absence of
conclusive proof being under the influence of liquor while driving coupled with the forceful manner the
police yanked petitioner out of his vehicle argues against or at least cast doubt on the finding of guilt for
drunken driving and resisting arrest.

Same; Criminal Liability; In case of doubt as to the moral certainty of culpability, the balance tips in favor
of innocence or at least in favor of the milder form of criminal liability.—In case of doubt as to the moral
certainty of culpability, the balance tips in favor of innocence or at least in favor of the milder form of
criminal liability. This is as it should be. For, it is basic, almost elementary, that the burden of proving
the guilt of an accused lies on the prosecution which must rely on the strength of its evidence and not on
the weakness of the defense.

DIVISION

[ GR No. 202692, Nov 12, 2014 ]

EDMUND SYDECO Y SIONZON v. PEOPLE +

DECISION

VELASCO JR., J.:


Assailed and sought to be set aside in this petition for review under Rule 45 are the
December 28, 2011 Decision[1] and July 18, 2012 Resolution[2] of the Court of Appeals
(CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 33567. The assailed issuances affirmed the decision[3] of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 12, in Criminal Case Nos. 09-270107-
08which, in turn, affirmed that of the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) in Manila
adjudging petitioner Edmund Sydeco (Sydeco) guilty of drunk driving and resisting
arrest.[4]

The factual backdrop:

On July 20, 2006, separate Informations, one for Violation of Section 56(f) of Republic
Act No. (RA) 4136[5] and another, for Violation of Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code
(RPC)[6] were filed against petitioner Sydeco with the MeTC in Manila and eventually
raffled to Branch 14 of that court. The accusatory portions of the interrelated
informations, docketed as Crim. Case No. 052527-CN for the first offense and Crim.
Case No. 052528-CN for the second, respectively read:

1. Crim. Case No. 052527-CN

That on or about June 11, 2006, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused,
being then the driver and owner of a car, did then and there willfully and unlawfully,
drive, manage and operate the same along Roxas Blvd. cor. Quirino Avenue, Malate, in
said city, while under the influence of liquor, in violation of Section 56(f) of Republic
Act 4136.

Contrary to law.

2. Crim. Case No. 052528-CN

That on or about June 11, 2006, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, did
then and there willfully and unlawfully resist and disobey P/INSP Manuel Aguilar,
SPO2 Virgilio Paulino, SPO4 Efren Bodino and PO3 Benedict Cruz III, bona fide
member of the Philippine National Police, Malate Police Station-9, duly qualified and
appointed, and while in the actual performance of their official duties as such police
officers, by then and there resisting, shoving and pushing, the hands of said officers
while the latter was placing him under arrest for violation of Article 151 of the Revised
Penal Code.

Contrary to law.

By Order of September 19, 2006, the MeTC classified the cases as falling under, thus to
be governed by, the Rule on Summary Procedure.

When arraigned, petitioner, as accused, pleaded "Not Guilty" to both charges.

During the trial of the two consolidated cases, the prosecution presented in evidence
the oral testimonies of SPO4 Efren Bodino (Bodino),[7] PO2 Emanuelle Parungao[8] and
Ms. Laura Delos Santos,[9] plus the documents each identified while in the witness box,
among which was Exh. "A", with sub-markings, the Joint Affidavit of
Arrest[10] executed by SPO2 Bodino and two other police officers. The defense's
witnesses, on the other hand, consisted of Sydeco himself, his wife, Mildred, and
Joenilo Pano.

The prosecution's version of the incident, as summarized in and/or as may be deduced


from, the CA decision now on appeal is as follows:

On or about June 11, 2006, P/Insp. Manuel Aguilar (Aguilar), SPO4 Bodino, PO3
Benedict Cruz III and another officer were manning a checkpoint established along
Roxas Boulevard corner Quirino Ave., Malate, Manila when, from about twenty (20)
meters away, they spotted a swerving red Ford Ranger pick up with plate number XAE-
988. Petitioner was behind the wheel. The team members, all in uniform, flagged the
vehicle down and asked the petitioner to alight from the vehicle so he could take a rest
at the police station situated nearby, before he resumes driving.[11] Petitioner, who the
policemen claimed was smelling of liquor, denied being drunk and insisted he could
manage to drive. Then in a raised voice, petitioner started talking rudely to the
policemen and in fact yelled at P/Insp. Aguilar blurting: "P...g ina mo, bakit mo ako
hinuhuli." At that remark, P/Insp. Aguilar, who earlier pointed out to petitioner that
his team had seen him swerving and driving under the influence of liquor, proceeded to
arrest petitioner who put up resistance. Despite petitioner's efforts to parry the hold on
him, the police eventually succeeded in subduing him who was then brought to the
Ospital ng Maynila where he was examined and found to be positive of alcoholic breath
per the Medical Certificate issued by that hospital, marked as Exh. "F". Petitioner was
then turned over to the Malate Police Station for disposition.[12]

Petitioner, on the other hand, claimed to be a victim in the incident in question, adding
in this regard that he has in fact filed criminal charges for physical injuries, robbery
and arbitrary detention against P/Insp. Aguilar et al. In hisCounter-Affidavit[13] and
his Complaint-Affidavit[14] appended thereto, petitioner averred that, in the early
morning of June 12, 2006, he together with Joenilo Pano and Josie Villanueva, cook
and waitress, respectively, in his restaurant located along Macapagal Ave., Pasay City,
were on the way home from on board his pick-up when signaled to stop by police
officers at the area immediately referred to above. Their flashlights trained on the
inside of the vehicle and its occupants, the policemen then asked the petitioner to open
the vehicle's door and alight for a body and vehicle search, a directive he refused to
heed owing to a previous extortion experience. Instead, he opened the vehicle window,
uttering, "plain view lang boss, plain view lang." Obviously irked by this remark, one
of the policemen, P/Insp. Aguilar, as it turned out, then told the petitioner that he was
drunk, pointing to three cases of empty beer bottles in the trunk of the vehicle.
Petitioner's explanation about being sober and that the empty bottles adverted to came
from his restaurant was ignored as P/Insp. Aguilar suddenly boxed him (petitioner) on
the mouth and poked a gun at his head, at the same time blurting, "P...g ina mo gusto
mo tapusin na kita dito marami kapang sinasab." The officers then pulled the
petitioner out of the driver's seat and pushed him into the police mobile car,
whereupon he, petitioner, asked his companions to call up his wife. The policemen then
brought petitioner to the Ospital ng Maynila where they succeeded in securing a
medical certificate under the signature of one Dr. Harvey Balucating depicting
petitioner as positive of alcoholic breath, although he refused to be examined and no
alcohol breath examination was conducted. He was thereafter detained from 3:00 a.m.
of June 12, 2006 and released in the afternoon of June 13, 2006. Before his release,
however, he was allowed to undergo actual medical examination where the resulting
medical certificate indicated that he has sustained physical injuries but negative for
alcohol breath. Ten days later, petitioner filed his Complaint-Affidavitagainst Dr.
Balucating, P/Insp. Aguilar and the other police officers.

Petitioner also stated in his counter-affidavit that, under Sec. 29 of R.A. 4136, or the
Land Transportation and Traffic Code, the procedure for dealing with a traffic violation
is not to place the erring driver under arrest, but to confiscate his driver's license.

On June 26, 2009, the MeTC rendered judgment finding petitioner guilty as charged,
disposing as follows:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the prosecution having established the guilt of the
accused beyond reasonable doubt, his conviction of the offenses charges is hereby
pronounced.

Accordingly, he is sentenced to:

1. Pay a fine of two hundred fifty pesos (P250.00) for Criminal Case No. 052527-
CN; and
2. Suffer imprisonment of straight penalty of three (3) months and pay a fine of two
hundred fifty pesos (P250.00) for Criminal Case No. 052528-CN.

For lack of basis, no civil liability is adjudged.

The Branch Clerk of Court is directed to certify to the Land Transportation Office the
result of this case, stating further the data required under Section 58[15] of Republic Act
4136.

Therefrom, petitioner appealed to the RTC on the main submissions that the MeTC
erred in: 1) according credit to the medical certificate issued by Dr. Balucating,
although the records custodian of Ospital ng Maynila was presented to testify thereon
instead of the issuing physician, and 2) upholding the veracity of the joint affidavit of
arrest of P/INSP Manuel Aguilar, SPO4 Efren Bodino, and PO3 Benedict Cruz III,
considering that only SPO4 Bodino appeared in court to testify.

By Decision[16] dated February 22, 2010, the RTC affirmed the conviction of the
petitioner, addressing the first issue thus raised in the appeal in the following wise: Dr.
Balucating's failure to testify relative to petitioner's alcoholic breath, as indicated in the
medical certificate, is not fatal as such testimony would only serve to corroborate the
testimony on the matter of SPO4 Bodino, noting that under the Rules of
Court,[17]observations of the police officers regarding the petitioner's behavior would
suffice to support the conclusion of the latter's drunken state on the day he was
apprehended.[18]

Apropos the second issue, the RTC pointed out that the prosecution has the discretion
as to how many witnesses it needs to present before the trial court, the positive
testimony of a single credible witness as to the guilt of the accused being reasonable
enough to warrant a conviction. The RTC cited established jurisprudence[19]enunciating
the rule that preponderance is not necessarily with the greatest number as "[Witnesses
are to be weighed, not numbered."

Following the denial by the RTC of his motion for reconsideration, petitioner went to
the CA on a petition for review, the recourse docketed as CA-G.R. CR No. 33567. By a
Decision dated December 28, 2011, as would be reiterated in a Resolution of July 18,
2012, the appellate court affirmed that of the RTC, thus:

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision dated February 22, 2010
of the RTC, Manila, Branch 12, is AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

Hence, this petition on the following stated issues:

I. The CA erred in upholding the presumption of regularity in the performance of


duties by the police officers; and

II. The CA erred in giving weight to the Medical Certificate issued by Dr. Harvey
Balucating, in the absence of his testimony before the Court.

The petition is meritorious.

Prefatory, the rule according great weight, even finality at times, to the trial court's
findings of fact does hold sway when, as here, it appears in the record that facts and
circumstances of weight and substance have been overlooked, misapprehended or
misapplied in a case under appeal.[20] Corollary, it is basic that an appeal in criminal
prosecutions throws the whole case wide open for review, inclusive of the matter of
credibility and appreciation of evidence.[21]
Peace officers and traffic enforcers, like other public officials and employees are bound
to discharge their duties with prudence, caution and attention, which careful men
usually exercise in the management of their own affairs.[22]

In the case at bar, the men manning the checkpoint in the subject area and during the
period material appeared not to have performed their duties as required by law, or at
least fell short of the norm expected of peace officers. They spotted the petitioner's
purported swerving vehicle. They then signaled him to stop which he obeyed. But they
did not demand the presentation of the driver's license or issue any ticket or similar
citation paper for traffic violation as required under the particular premises by Sec. 29
of RA 4136, which specifically provides:

SECTION 29. Confiscation of Driver's License. - Law enforcement and peace officers of
other agencies duly deputized by the Director shall, in apprehending a driver for
any violation of this Act or any regulations issued pursuant thereto, or of local
traffic rules and regulations x x x confiscate the license of the driver concerned
and issue a receipt prescribed and issued by the Bureau therefor which
shall authorize the driver to operate a motorvehicle for a period not exceeding
seventy-two hours from the time and date of issue of said receipt. The period so fixed in
the receipt shall not be extended, and shall become invalid thereafter, x x x (Emphasis
added.)

Instead of requiring the vehicle's occupants to answer one or two routinary questions
out of respect to what the Court has, in Abenes v. Court of Appeals,[23] adverted to as
the motorists' right of "free passage without [intrusive] interruption," P/Insp. Aguilar,
et al. engaged petitioner in what appears to be an unnecessary conversation and when
utterances were made doubtless not to their liking, they ordered the latter to step out of
the vehicle, concluding after seeing three (3) empty cases of beer at the trunk of the
vehicle that petitioner was driving under the influence of alcohol. Then petitioner went
on with his "plain view search" line. The remark apparently pissed the police officers
off no end as one of them immediately lashed at petitioner and his companions as "mga
lasing" (drunk) and to get out of the vehicle, an incongruous response to an otherwise
reasonable plea. Defense witness, Joenilo Pano, graphically described this particular
event in his sinumpaang salaysay, as follows:

xxx matapos kami huminto ay naglapitan sa amin ang mga pulis, nag flash light sa loob
ng sasakyan at sa aming mga mukha.

xxx isang pulis ang nag-utos sa amin na kami ay magsi-baba at buksan ang pintuan ng
nasabing sasakyan.
xxx dahil doon sinabi ni Kuya sa mga pulis, na hindi pwede iyon at pinigilan niya ako at
ang aking kasama kong waitress na bumaba.

xxx iginiit ni Kuya sa mga pulis ang salitang "PLAIN VIEW LANG BOSS, PLAIN VIEW
LANG" pero iyon ay hindi nila pinansin. Sa halip as isang pulis ang nagsabi na "MGA
LASING KAYO HETO MAY CASE PA KAYO NG BEER".

xxx habang nagpapaliwanag si Kuya, isang pulis ang biglang kumuha ng susi ng
sasakyan habang ang isang pulis ang biglang sumuntok sa bibig ni Kuya, nagbunot ng
baril at tinutukan sa ulo si Kuya.

xxx dahil doon ay nagmakaawa ako na wag barilin si Kuya subalit ako rin ay tinutukan
ng baril.

x x x na matapos suntukin si Kuya ay pinagtulungan siya ng mga pulis na ilabas sa


sasakyan at nang mailabas siya ay pinagtulakan siya ng mga pulis sa gilid ng kalsada
habang hawak ang kanilang baril.[24]

Pano's above account ironically finds in a way collaboration from the arresting officers
themselves who admitted that they originally had no intention to search the vehicle in
question nor subject its occupants to a body search. The officers wrote in their
aforementioned joint affidavit:

xxxx

That we arrested the suspect, Edmund Sydeco y Siozon x x x for violation of RA 4136
(Driving under the influence of liquor), and violation of Article 151 of the RPC
(Resisting Arrest) x x x committed on or about 3:30A.M., June 11, 2006 along x x x
Malate, Manila, x x x He began to raise his voice and converse with us rudely without
considering that we are in uniform, on duty and performing our job. P/INSP Manuel
Aguilar pointed out that we saw him swerving and driving under the influence of liquor
that was why we are inviting him to our police station in which our intention
was to make him rest for a moment before he continue to drive, x x x
(Emphasis added.)

In fine, at the time of his apprehension, or when he was signaled to stop, to be precise,
petitioner has not committed any crime or suspected of having committed one.
"Swerving," as ordinarily understood, refers to a movement wherein a vehicle shifts
from a lane to another or to turn aside from a direct course of action or
movement.[25] The act may become punishable when there is a sign indicating that
swerving is prohibited or where swerving partakes the nature of reckless driving, a
concept defined under RA 4136, as:
SECTION 48. Reckless Driving. - No person shall operate a motor vehicle on any
highway recklessly or without reasonable caution considering the width, traffic, grades,
crossing, curvatures, visibility and other conditions of the highway and the conditions
of the atmosphere and weather, or so as to endanger the property or the safety or rights
of any person or so as to cause excessive or unreasonable damage to the highway.

Swerving is not necessarily indicative of imprudent behavior let alone constitutive of


reckless driving. To constitute the offense of reckless driving, the act must be
something more than a mere negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle, and a
willful and wanton disregard of the consequences is required.[26] Nothing in the records
indicate that the area was a "no swerving or overtaking zone." Moreover, the swerving
incident, if this be the case, occurred at around 3:00 a.m. when the streets are usually
clear of moving vehicles and human traffic, and the danger to life, limb and property to
third persons is minimal. When the police officers stopped the petitioner's car, they did
not issue any ticket for swerving as required under Section 29 of RA 4136. Instead, they
inspected the vehicle, ordered the petitioner and his companions to step down of their
pick up and concluded that the petitioner was then drunk mainly because of the cases
of beer found at the trunk of the vehicle. On re-direct examination, SPO4 Bodino
testified:

On that particular date, time and place ... what exactly prompted you to arrest
Q:
the accused (sic) the charged in for Viol, of Section 56(f) of R.A. 4136?
Noong mag check-up kami, naamoy namin na amoy alak siya at yung sasakyan
A:
ay hindi maganda ang takbo.
Now you stated in your affidavit of arrest Mr. Witness that you spotted the
Q:
vehicle of the accused swerving, is that correct?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Is that also the reason why you apprehended him?
A: Yes, sir.
And what happened after Mr. Witness, when you approached the vehicle of the
Q:
accused?
A: The accused was in a loud voice. He was asking, "Bakit daw siya pinahihinto?"
xxxx
Q: How do you describe the resistance Mr. Witness?
A: He refused to ride with us going to the hospital, Your Honor.
xxx
x[27]

Going over the records, it is fairly clear that what triggered the confrontational stand-
off between the police team, on one hand, and petitioner on the other, was the latter's
refusal to get off of the vehicle for a body and vehicle search juxtaposed by his
insistence on a plain view search only. Petitioner's twin gestures cannot plausibly be
considered as resisting a lawful orders.[28] He may have sounded boorish or spoken
crudely at that time, but none of this would make him a criminal. It remains to stress
that the petitioner has not, when flagged down, committed a crime or performed an
overt act warranting a reasonable inference of criminal activity. He did not try to avoid
the road block established. He came to a full stop when so required to stop. The two key
elements of resistance and serious disobedience punished under Art. 151 of the RPC
are: (1) That a person in authority or his agent is engaged in the performance of official
duty or gives a lawful order to the offender; and (2) That the offender resists or
seriously disobeys such person or his agent.[29]

There can be no quibble that P/Insp. Aguilar and his apprehending team are persons in
authority or agents of a person in authority manning a legal checkpoint. But surely
petitioner's act of exercising one's right against unreasonable searches[30] to be
conducted in the middle of the night cannot, in context, be equated to disobedience let
alone resisting a lawful order in contemplation of Art. 151 of the RPC. As has often been
said, albeit expressed differently and under dissimilar circumstances, the vitality of
democracy lies not in the rights it guarantees, but in the courage of the people to assert
and use them whenever they are ignored or worse infringed.[31]Moreover, there is, to
stress, nothing in RA 4136 that authorized the checkpoint-manning policemen to order
petitioner and his companions to get out of the vehicle for a vehicle and body search.
And it bears to emphasize that there was no reasonable suspicion of the occurrence of a
crime that would allow what jurisprudence refers to as a "stop and frisk" action. As
SPO4 Bodino no less testified, the only reason why they asked petitioner to get out of
the vehicle was not because he has committed a crime, but because of their intention to
invite him to Station 9 so he could rest before he resumes driving. But instead of a
tactful invitation, the apprehending officers, in an act indicative of overstepping of their
duties, dragged the petitioner out of the vehicle and, in the process of subduing him,
pointed a gun and punched him on the face. None of the police officers, to note,
categorically denied the petitioner's allegation about being physically hurt before being
brought to the Ospital ng Maynila to be tested for intoxication. What the policemen
claimed was that it took the three (3) of them to subdue the fifty-five year old
petitioner. Both actions were done in excess of their authority granted under RA 4136.
They relied on the medical certificate issued by Dr. Balucating attesting that petitioner
showed no physical injuries. The medical certificate was in fact challenged not only
because the petitioner insisted at every turn that he was not examined, but also because
Dr. Balucating failed to testify as to its content. Ms. Delos Santos, the medical record
custodian of the Ospital ng Maynila, testified, but only to attest that the hospital has a
record of the certificate. The trial court, in its decision, merely stated:

At the outset, the records of the case show that the same were not testified upon by
the doctor who issued it. Instead, the Records Custodian of the Ospital ng Maynila
was presented by the Prosecution to testify on the said documents.
However, although the doctor who examined the accused was unable to testify to affirm
the contents of the Medical Certificate he issued (re: that he was found to have an
alcoholic breath), this court finds that the observation of herein private complainants
as to the accused's behavior and condition after the incident was sufficient.

Under Section 50 of Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of evidence:

The opinion of a witness for which proper basis is given, may be received in evidence
regarding

xxxx

The witness may also testify on his impressions of the emotion, behavior, condition or
appearance of a person Under Section 15 of the Revised Rules on Summary Procedure,
"at the trial, the affidavits submitted by the parties shall constitute the direct
testimonies of the witnesses who executed the same."[32]

In sum, the MeTC, as echoed by RTC and CA later, did not rely on the medical
certificate Dr. Balucating issued on June 12, 2006 as to petitioner's intoxicated state, as
the former was not able to testify as to its contents, but on the testimony of SPO4
Bodino, on the assumption that he and his fellow police officers were acting in the
regular performance of their duties. It cannot be emphasized enough that smelling of
liquor/alcohol and be under the influence of liquor are differing concepts. Corollarily, it
is difficult to determine with legally acceptable certainty whether a person is drunk in
contemplation of Sec. 56(f) of RA 4136 penalizing the act of driving under the influence
of alcohol. The legal situation has of course changed with the approval in May 2013 of
the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013 (RA 10586) which also penalizes
driving under the influence of alcohol (DUIA),[33] a term defined under its Sec. 3(e) as
the "act of operating a motor vehicle while the driver's blood alcohol concentration
level has, after being subjected to a breath analyzer test reached the level of
intoxication as established jointly by the [DOH], the NAPOLCOM] and the [DOTC].
And under Sec. 3(g) of the IRR of RA 10586, a driver of a private motor vehicle with
gross vehicle weight not exceeding 4,500 kilograms who has BAC [blood alcohol
concentration] of 0.05% or higher shall be conclusive proof that said driver is driving
under the influence of alcohol. Viewed from the prism of RA 10586, petitioner cannot
plausibly be convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol for this obvious reason:
he had not been tested beyond reasonable doubt, let alone conclusively, for reaching
during the period material the threshold level of intoxication set under the law for
DUIA, i.e., a BAC of 0.05% or over. Under Art. 22 of the RPC,[34] penal laws shall be
given retroactive insofar as they are favorable to the accused. Section 19 of RA 10586
expressly modified Sec. 56(f) of RA 4136. Verily, even by force of Art. 22 of the RPC in
relation to Sec. 3(e) of RA 10586 alone, petitioner could very well be acquitted for the
charge of driving under the influence of alcohol, even if the supposed inculpatory act
occurred in 2006.

Parenthetically, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila, per its Resolution[35] of
November 21, 2006 found, on the strength of another physical examination from the
same Ospital ng Maynila conducted by Dr. Devega on the petitioner on the same day,
June 12, but later hour, probable cause for slight physical injuries against P/Insp.
Aguilar et al. That finding to be sure tends to indicate that the police indeed
manhandled the petitioner and belied, or at least cancelled out, the purported Dr.
Balucating's finding as to petitioner's true state.

The Court must underscore at this juncture that the petitioner, after the unfortunate
incident, lost no time in commencing the appropriate criminal charges against the
police officers and Dr. Balucating, whom he accused of issuing Exh. "F" even without
examining him. The element of immediacy in the filing lends credence to petitioner's
profession of innocence, particularly of the charge of disobeying lawful order or
resisting arrest. Certainly not to be overlooked is the fact that petitioner, in so filing his
complaint, could not have possibly been inspired by improper motive, the police
officers being complete strangers to him and vice versa. Withal, unless he had a
legitimate grievance, it is difficult to accept the notion that petitioner would expose
himself to harm's way by filing a harassment criminal suit against policemen.

Conviction must come only after it survives the test of reason.[36] It is thus required that
every circumstance favoring one's innocence be duly taken into account.[37] Given the
deviation of the police officers from the standard and usual procedure in dealing with
traffic violation by perceived drivers under the influence of alcohol and executing an
arrest, the blind reliance and simplistic invocation by the trial court and the CA on the
presumption of regularity in the conduct of police duty is clearly misplaced. As stressed
in People v. Ambrosio,[38] the presumption of regularity is merely just that, a
presumption disputable by contrary proof and which when challenged by the evidence
cannot be regarded as binding truth. And to be sure, this presumption alone cannot
preponderate over the presumption of innocence that prevails if not overcome by proof
that obliterates all doubts as to the offender's culpability. In the present case, the
absence of conclusive proof being under the influence of liquor while driving coupled
with the forceful manner the police yanked petitioner out of his vehicle argues against
or at least cast doubt on the finding of guilt for drunken driving and resisting arrest.

In case of doubt as to the moral certainty of culpability, the balance tips in favor of
innocence or at least in favor of the milder form of criminal liability. This is as it should
be. For, it is basic, almost elementary, that the burden of proving the guilt of an
accused lies on the prosecution which must rely on the strength of its evidence and not
on the weakness of the defense.

WHEREFORE, in light of all the foregoing, the appealed Decision and Resolution of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 33567 are hereby REVERSED and SET
ASIDE.Petitioner is hereby acquitted of the crimes charged in Criminal Case No.
052527-CN and Criminal Case No. 052528-CN.

No pronouncement as to costs.

WE CONCUR:

Brion,* Villarama, Jr., Reyes, and Perlas-Bernabe,** JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 189833. February 5, 2014.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JAVIER MORILLA y AVELLANO,


accused-appellant.

Criminal Law; Conspiracy; A conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning
the commission of a felony and decide to commit it.—A conspiracy exists when two or more persons come
to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. To determine conspiracy,
there must be a common design to commit a felony. Morilla argues that the mere act of driving the
ambulance on the date he was apprehended is not sufficient to prove that he was part of a syndicated
group involved in the illegal transportation of dangerous drugs.

Same; Same; In conspiracy, it need not be shown that the parties actually came together and agreed in
express terms to enter into and pursue a common design.—In conspiracy, it need not be shown that the
parties actually came together and agreed in express terms to enter into and pursue a common design.
The assent of the minds may be and, from the secrecy of the crime, usually inferred from proof of facts
and circumstances which, taken together, indicate that they are parts of some complete whole. In this
case, the totality of the factual circumstances leads to a conclusion that Morilla conspired with Mayor
Mitra in a common desire to transport the dangerous drugs. Both vehicles loaded with several sacks of
dangerous drugs, were on convoy from Quezon to Manila. Mayor Mitra was able to drive through the
checkpoint set up by the police operatives. When it was Morilla’s turn to pass through the checkpoint, he
was requested to open the rear door for a routinary check. Noticing white granules scattered on the floor,
the police officers requested Morilla to open the sacks. If indeed he was not involved in conspiracy with
Mayor Mitra, he would not have told the police officers that he was with the mayor.

Same; Dangerous Drugs Act; Illegal Transportation of Shabu; The very act of transporting
methamphetamine hydrochloride is malum prohibitum since it is punished as an offense under a special
law.—Here, Morilla and Mayor Mitra were caught in flagrante delicto in the act of transporting the
dangerous drugs on board their vehicles. “Transport” as used under the Dangerous Drugs Act means “to
carry or convey from one place to another.” It was well established during trial that Morilla was driving
the ambulance following the lead of Mayor Mitra, who was driving a Starex van going to Manila. The very
act of transporting methamphetamine hydrochloride is malum prohibitum since it is punished as an
offense under a special law. The fact of transportation of the sacks containing dangerous drugs need not
be accompanied by proof of criminal intent, motive or knowledge.

Same; Same; Same; Penalties; Reclusion Perpetua; The penalty for illegal transportation of shabu was
further amended in Republic Act No. 7659, where the penalty was changed to reclusion perpetua to death
and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos.—Originally, under Section 15 of
Republic Act No. 6425, the penalty for illegal transportation of methamphetamine hydrochloride was
imprisonment ranging from six years and one day to twelve years and a fine ranging from six thousand to
twelve thousand pesos. Pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1683, the penalty was amended to life
imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from twenty to thirty thousand pesos. The penalty was further
amended in Republic Act No. 7659, where the penalty was changed to reclusion perpetua to death and a
fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos.

Same; Same; Penalties; “Reclusion Perpetua” and “Life Imprisonment,” Distinguished; Reclusion perpetua
entails imprisonment for at least thirty (30) years after which the convict becomes eligible for pardon. It
also carries with it accessory penalties, namely: perpetual special disqualification, etc. Life imprisonment,
on the other hand, does not appear to have any definite extent or duration and carries no accessory
penalties.—We sustain the imposed penalty of fine of P10,000,000.00 to be paid by each of the accused but
amend the penalty to reclusion perpetua following the provisions of Republic Act No. 7659 and the
principle of retroactive application of lighter penalty. Reclusion perpetua entails imprisonment for at least
thirty (30) years after which the convict becomes eligible for pardon. It also carries with it accessory
penalties, namely: perpetual special disqualification, etc. Life imprisonment, on the other hand, does not
appear to have any definite extent or duration and carries no accessory penalties.

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DIVISION

[ GR No. 189833, Feb 05, 2014 ]

PEOPLE v. JAVIER MORILLA Y AVELLANO +

RESOLUTION

PEREZ, J.:
Before us is an appeal filed by accused-appellant Javier Morilla y Avellano (Morilla)
from the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals which affirmed his conviction and that of
his co-accused Ronnie Mitra y Tena (Mayor Mitra) by the trial court, sentencing
them[2] to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P10,000,000.00
each.

The Regional Trial Court Judgment


On 15 October 2001, Morilla, Mayor Mitra, Willie Yang y Yao (Yang) and Ruel Dequilla
y Regodan (Dequilla) were charged in a criminal information as follows:

That on or about October 13, 2001, in Barangay Kiloloran, Municipality of Real,


Province of Quezon, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
the above-named accused, one of them an incumbent mayor of the Municipality of
Panukulan, Quezon Province, who all belong to an organized/syndicate crime group as
they all help one another, for purposes of gain in the transport of illegal drugs, and in
fact, conspiring and confederating together and mutually aiding and abetting one
another, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously transport by means of
two (2) motor vehicles, namely a Starex van bearing plate number RWT-888 with
commemorative plate to read "Mayor" and a municipal ambulance of Panukulan,
Quezon Province, methamphetamine hydrochloride, a regulated drug which is
commonly known as shabu, and with an approximate weight of five hundred three
point sixty eight (503.68) kilos, without authority whatsoever.[3]

After trial, the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City[4] on 1 August 2007 convicted
Morilla and his co-accused Mayor Mitra, then incumbent Mayor of Panukulan, Quezon,
of illegal transport[5] of methamphetamine hydrochloride, commonly known as shabu,
with an approximate weight of five hundred three point sixty eight (503.68) kilos.
However, it absolved Dequilla and Yang due to the prosecution's failure to present
sufficient evidence to convict them of the offense charged. The dispositive of the
decision reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused


Ronnie Mitra y Tena and Javier Morilla y Avellana GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt
of the offense charged. Accordingly, both accused are hereby sentenced to suffer the
penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P10,000,000.00 each. Accused Willie
Yang y Yao and Ruel Dequilla y Regodan are hereby ACQUITTED for failure of the
prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt and are ordered immediately
released from custody unless held for some other lawful cause.

The methamphetamine hydrochloride ordered retained by the Court as representative


sample which is still in the custody of the PNP Crime Laboratory is ordered turned over
to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency for proper disposition.[6]

The trial court found valid the search conducted by police officers on the vehicles
driven by Mayor Mitra and Morilla, one with control number 888 and the other an
ambulance with plate number SFK-372, as the police officers have already acquired
prior knowledge that the said vehicles were suspected to be used for transportation of
dangerous drugs. During the checkpoint in Real, Quezon, the information turned out to
be accurate and indeed, the two accused had in their motor vehicles more than five
hundred kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride.[7]
The trial court dismissed the arguments of Mayor Mitra that he was without any
knowledge of the contents of the sacks and that he was merely requested to transport
them to Manila on board his Starex van. He explained that he only accommodated the
request of a certain Ben Tan because the latter bought his fishing boat. It likewise
dismissed the defense of ambulance driver Morilla of lack of knowledge of the illegality
of the contents. Morilla insisted that he thought that he was just transporting wooden
tiles and electronic spare parts together with Dequilla. The other passenger of the
ambulance, Yang, in his defense, did not bother to inquire about the contents of the
vehicle as he was merely an accommodated passenger of the ambulance.

The court rejected the defenses presented by Morilla and Mayor Mitra as they were
caught in flagrante delicto of transporting dangerous drugs in two vehicles driven by
each of them. Absent any convincing circumstance to corroborate their explanations,
the validity of their apprehension was sustained.[8]

The ruling of conspiracy between Mayor Mitra and Morilla was based on the
testimonies of the four accused themselves. It was found by the trial court that the two
vehicles, the Starex van driven by Mayor Mitra and the ambulance van driven by
Morilla, left Infanta, Quezon en route to Manila. The Starex van which was ahead of the
ambulance was able to pass the checkpoint set up by the police officers. However, the
ambulance driven by Morilla was stopped by police officers. Through the untinted
window, one of the police officers noticed several sacks inside the van. Upon inquiry of
the contents, Morilla replied that the sacks contained narra wooden tiles. Unconvinced,
the police officers requested Morilla to open the rear door of the car for further
inspection. When it was opened, the operatives noticed that white crystalline granules
were scattered on the floor, prompting them to request Morilla to open the sacks. At
this moment, Morilla told the police officers that he was with Mayor Mitra in an
attempt to persuade them to let him pass.[9] His request was rejected by the police
officers and upon inspection, the contents of the sacks turned out to be sacks
of methamphetamine hydrochloride.[10] This discovery prompted the operatives to
chase the Starex van of Mayor Mitra. The police officers were able to overtake the van
and Mayor Mitra was asked to stop. They then inquired if the mayor knew Morilla. On
plain view, the operatives noticed that his van was also loaded with sacks like the ones
found in the ambulance. Thus, Mayor Mitra was also requested to open the door of the
vehicle for inspection. At this instance, Mayor Mitra offered to settle the matter but the
same was rejected. Upon examination, the contents of the sacks were likewise found to
contain sacks of methamphetamine hydrochloride.[11]

The two other accused in this case, Dequilla and Yang, were acquitted by the trial court
for failure on the part of the prosecution to establish their guilt beyond reasonable
doubt. The court ruled that Dequilla's and Yang's mere presence inside the vehicle as
passengers was inadequate to prove that they were also conspirators of Mayor Mitra
and Morilla.[12]
The Court of Appeals Decision

On 13 July 2009, the appellate court affirmed the ruling of the trial court. It upheld the
finding of conspiracy between Mayor Mitra and Morilla in their common intent to
transport several sacks containing methamphetamine hydrochloride on board their
respective vehicles. The singularity of their intent to illegally
transport methamphetamine hydrochloride was readily shown when Morilla agreed to
drive the ambulance van from Infanta, Quezon to Manila together with Mayor Mitra,
who drove the lead vehicle, the Starex van.[13]

The appellate court likewise dismissed the argument of lack of knowledge of the illegal
contents of the sacks. The claim that the sacks were loaded with wooden tiles was
implausible due to the obvious disparity of texture and volume.[14]

Court's Ruling

We affirm the ruling but modify the penalty imposed.

In his supplemental brief, Morilla raised the issues: (1) whether he may be convicted
for conspiracy to commit the offense charged sans allegation of conspiracy in the
Information, and (2) whether the prosecution was able to prove his culpability as
alleged in the Information.[15]

We dismiss his arguments.

Morilla primarily cites the provision on Sec. 1(b), Rule 115 of the Rules on Criminal
Procedure[16] to substantiate his argument that he should have been informed first of
the nature and cause of the accusation against him. He pointed out that the
Information itself failed to state the word conspiracy but instead, the statement "the
above-named accused, one of them an incumbent mayor of the Municipality of
Panukulan, Quezon Province, who all belong to an organized/syndicated crime group
as they all help one another, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
transport x x x." He argued that conspiracy was only inferred from the words used in
the Information.[17]

Even assuming that his assertion is correct, the issue of defect in the information, at
this point, is deemed to have been waived due to Morilla's failure to assert it as a
ground in a motion to quash before entering his plea.[18]

Further, it must be noted that accused Morilla participated and presented his defenses
to contradict the allegation of conspiracy before the trial and appellate courts. His
failure or neglect to assert a right within a reasonable time warrants a presumption that
the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it.[19]
The finding of conspiracy by both courts is correct.

A conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the
commission of a felony and decide to commit it.[20] To determine conspiracy, there
must be a common design to commit a felony.[21]

Morilla argues that the mere act of driving the ambulance on the date he was
apprehended is not sufficient to prove that he was part of a syndicated group involved
in the illegal transportation of dangerous drugs.

This argument is misplaced.

In conspiracy, it need not be shown that the parties actually came together and agreed
in express terms to enter into and pursue a common design. The assent of the minds
may be and, from the secrecy of the crime, usually inferred from proof of facts and
circumstances which, taken together, indicate that they are parts of some complete
whole.[22] In this case, the totality of the factual circumstances leads to a conclusion
that Morilla conspired with Mayor Mitra in a common desire to transport the
dangerous drugs. Both vehicles loaded with several sacks of dangerous drugs, were on
convoy from Quezon to Manila. Mayor Mitra was able to drive through the checkpoint
set up by the police operatives. When it was Morilla's turn to pass through the
checkpoint, he was requested to open the rear door for a routinary check. Noticing
white granules scattered on the floor, the police officers requested Morilla to open the
sacks. If indeed he was not involved in conspiracy with Mayor Mitra, he would not have
told the police officers that he was with the mayor.

His insistence that he was without any knowledge of the contents of the sacks and he
just obeyed the instruction of his immediate superior Mayor Mitra in driving the said
vehicle likewise bears no merit.

Here, Morilla and Mayor Mitra were caught in flagrante delicto in the act of
transporting the dangerous drugs on board their vehicles. "Transport" as used under
the Dangerous Drugs Act means "to carry or convey from one place to another."[23] It
was well established during trial that Morilla was driving the ambulance following the
lead of Mayor Mitra, who was driving a Starex van going to Manila. The very act of
transporting methamphetamine hydrochloride is malum prohibitumsince it is
punished as an offense under a special law. The fact of transportation of the sacks
containing dangerous drugs need not be accompanied by proof of criminal intent,
motive or knowledge.[24]

In a similar case of People v. Libnao,[25]this Court upheld the conviction for illegal
transportation of marijuana of Libnao and Nunga, who were caught carrying a bag full
of marijuana leaves when they were flagged down on board a passing tricycle at a
checkpoint.
However, we modify the penalty imposed by the trial court as affirmed by the Court of
Appeals.

Originally, under Section 15 of Republic Act No. 6425,[26] the penalty for illegal
transportation of methamphetamine hydrochloride was imprisonment ranging from
six years and one day to twelve years and a fine ranging from six thousand to twelve
thousand pesos. Pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1683,[27] the penalty was amended
to life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from twenty to thirty thousand pesos.
The penalty was further amended in Republic Act No. 7659,[28] where the penalty was
changed to reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand
pesos to ten million pesos.

From the foregoing, we sustain the imposed penalty of fine of P10,000,00.00 to be


paid by each of the accused but amend the penalty to reclusion perpetua following the
provisions of Republic Act No. 7659 and the principle of retroactive application of
lighter penalty. Reclusion perpetuaentails imprisonment for at least thirty (30) years
after which the convict becomes eligible for pardon. It also carries with it accessory
penalties, namely: perpetual special disqualification, etc. Life imprisonment, on the
other hand, does not appear to have any definite extent or duration and carries no
accessory penalties.[29]

The full particulars are in Ho Wai Pang v. People,[30] thus:

As to the penalties imposed by the trial court and as affirmed by the appellate court, we
find the same in accord with law and jurisprudence. It should be recalled that at the
time of the commission of the crime on September 6, 1991, Section 15 of R.A. No. 6425
was already amended by Presidential Decree No. 1683. The decree provided that for
violation of said Section 15, the penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging
from P20,000.00 to P30,000.00 shall be imposed. Subsequently, however, R.A. No.
7659 further introduced new amendments to Section 15, Article III and Section 20,
Article IV of R.A. No. 6425, as amended. Under the new amendments, the penalty
prescribed in Section 15 was changed from "life imprisonment to death and a fine
ranging from P20,000.00 to P30,000.00" to "reclusion perpetua to death and a fine
ranging from P500,000.00 to P10 million." On the other hand, Section 17 of R.A. No.
7659 amended Section 20, Article IV of R.A. No. 6425 in that the new penalty provided
by the amendatory law shall be applied depending on the quantity of the dangerous
drugs involved.

The trial court, in this case, imposed on petitioner the penalty of reclusion
perpetua under R.A. No. 7659 rather than life imprisonment ratiocinating that R.A.
No. 7659 could be given retroactive application, it being more favorable to the
petitioner in view of its having a less stricter punishment.

We agree. In People v. Doroja, we held:


"In People v. Martin Simon(G.R. No. 93028, 29 July 1994) this Court ruled (a) that the
amendatory law, being more lenient and favorable to the accused than the original
provisions of the Dangerous Drugs Act, should be accorded retroactive application, x x
x."

And, since "reclusion perpetua is a lighter penalty than life imprisonment, and
considering the rule that criminal statutes with a favorable effect to the accused, have,
as to him, a retroactive effect," the penalty imposed by the trial court upon petitioner is
proper. Consequently, the Court sustains the penalty of imprisonment, which
is reclusion perpetua, as well as the amount of fine imposed by the trial court upon
petitioner, the same being more favorable to him.[31]

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED and the assailed 13


July 2009 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. 02967 is AFFIRMED
WITH MODIFICATIONwith respect to the penalty to be imposed as Reclusion
Perpetua instead of Life Imprisonment and payment of fine of P10,000,000.00 by
each of the accused.

SO ORDERED.

Carpio, (Chairperson), Brion, Del Castillo, and Perlas-Bernabe, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 192235. July 6, 2011

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs.ROLANDO LAYLO y CEPRES, appellant.

Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Illegal Sale of Drugs; Elements.—The elements necessary for the
prosecution of illegal sale of drugs are: (1) the identity of the buyer and seller, the object, and the
consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment.

Same; Same; Same; Attempted Sale of Dangerous Drugs; Where the sale was interrupted when the police
officers introduced themselves as cops and immediately arrested the accused and his live-in partner, the
sale was not consummated but merely attempted.—From the testimonies given, PO1 Reyes and PO1
Pastor testified that they were the poseur-buyers in the sale. Both positively identified appellant as the
seller of the substance contained in plastic sachets which were found to be positive for shabu. The same
plastic sachets were likewise identified by the prosecution witnesses when presented in court. Even the
consideration of P200.00 for each sachet had been made known by appellant to the police officers.
However, the sale was interrupted when the police officers introduced themselves as cops and
immediately arrested appellant and his live-in partner Ritwal. Thus, the sale was not consummated but
merely attempted. Thus, appellant was charged with attempted sale of dangerous drugs. Section 26(b),
Article II of RA 9165 provides: Section 26. Attempt or Conspiracy.—Any attempt or conspiracy to commit
the following unlawful acts shall be penalized by the same penalty prescribed for the commission of the
same as provided under this Act: x x x (b) Sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery,
distribution and transportation of any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical;
x x x.
Same; Same; Same; Frame-Up; Allegations of frame-up and extortion by police officers are common and
standard defenses in most dangerous drugs cases.—Appellant claims that he was a victim of a frame up.
However, he failed to substantiate his claim. The witnesses presented by the defense were not able to
positively affirm that illegal drugs were planted on appellant by the police officers when they testified
that “they saw someone place something inside appellant’s jacket.” In Quinicot v. People, 590 SCRA 458
(2009), we held that allegations of frame-up and extortion by police officers are common and standard
defenses in most dangerous drugs cases. They are viewed by the Court with disfavor, for such defenses
can easily be concocted and fabricated.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Peddlers of illicit drugs have been known, with ever increasing casualness and
recklessness, to offer and sell their wares for the right price to anybody, be they strangers or not.—
Appellant asserts that it is unbelievable that he would be so foolish and reckless to offer to sell shabu to
strangers. In People v. de Guzman, 539 SCRA 306 (2007), we have ruled that peddlers of illicit drugs have
been known, with ever increasing casualness and recklessness, to offer and sell their wares for the right
price to anybody, be they strangers or not. What matters is not the existing familiarity between the buyer
and the seller, or the time and venue of the sale, but the fact of agreement as well as the act constituting
the sale and delivery of the prohibited drugs.

Same; Same; Same; Presumption of Regularity; The presumption of regularity in the performance of the
police officers’ official duties should prevail over the self-serving denial of the accused.—Further, appellant
did not attribute any ill-motive on the part of the police officers. The presumption of regularity in the
performance of the police officers’ official duties should prevail over the self-serving denial of appellant.

SECOND DIVISION

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 192235

Appellee,

Present:

CARPIO, J., Chairperson,

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, *

- versus - BRION,

PEREZ, and

SERENO, JJ.

ROLANDO LAYLO y CEPRES, Promulgated:


Appellant. July 6, 2011

x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x

DECISION

CARPIO, J.:

The Case

Before the Court is an appeal assailing the Decision dated 28 January 2010 of the Court of Appeals
1

(CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 03631. The CA affirmed the Decision dated 16 September 2008 of 2

the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Binangonan, Rizal, Branch 67, in Criminal Case No. 06-017,
convicting appellant Rolando Laylo y Cepres (Laylo) of violation of Section 26(b), Article II
(Attempted Sale of Dangerous Drugs) of Republic Act No. 9165 (RA 9165) or the Comprehensive
3 4

Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

The Facts

On 21 December 2005, two separate Informations against


appellant Laylo and Melitona Ritwal (Ritwal) were filed with the RTC of Binangonan, Rizal, Branch
67, docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 06-017 and 06-018, respectively. The information
against Laylo states:
Criminal Case No. 06-017
That on or about the 17th day of December, 2005, in the Municipality of Binangonan, Province of
Rizal, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused,
not being authorized by law to sell any dangerous drug, did then and there willfully, unlawfully,
and knowingly attempt to sell, deliver, and give away shabu to PO1 Angelito G. Reyes, 0.04 gram
of white crystalline substance contained in two (2) heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets which
were found positive to the test for Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride, also known as shabu, a
dangerous drug, thus commencing the commission of the crime of illegal sale but did not perform
all the acts of execution which would produce such crime by reason of some cause or accident
other than the accuseds own spontaneous desistance, that is, said PO1 Angelito G. Reyes
introduced himself as policeman, arrested the accused and confiscated the two (2) above-
mentioned sachets from the latter.

CONTRARY TO LAW. 5

Upon arraignment, both accused pleaded not guilty. Joint trial on the merits ensued. However, during
the trial, Ritwal jumped bail and was tried in absentia. Thus, Ritwalwas deemed to have waived the
presentation of her evidence and the case was submitted for decision without any evidence on her
part.

The prosecution presented two witnesses: Police Officer 1 (PO1) Angelito G. Reyes (PO1 Reyes)
and PO1 Gem A. Pastor (PO1 Pastor), the poseur-buyers in the attempted sale of illegal drugs.

The prosecution summed up its version of the facts: In the afternoon of 17 December 2005, PO1
Reyes and PO1 Pastor, both wearing civilian clothes, were conducting anti-drug surveillance
operations at Lozana Street, Calumpang, Binangonan, Rizal. While the police officers were in front
of a sari-sari store at around 5:40 p.m., appellant Laylo and his live-in partner, Ritwal, approached
them and asked, Gusto mong umiskor ng shabu? PO1 Reyes
replied, Bakit mayroon ka ba? Laylo then brought out two plastic bags containing shabu and told the
police officers, Dos(P200.00) ang isa. Upon hearing this, the police officers introduced themselves
as cops. PO1 Reyes immediately arrested Laylo. Ritwal, on the other, tried to get away but PO1
Pastor caught up with her. PO1 Pastor then frisked Ritwal and found another sachet of shabu in a
SIM card case which Ritwal was carrying.

PO1 Reyes and PO1 Pastor marked the three plastic sachets of shabu recovered
from Laylo and Ritwal and forwarded them to the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory for
forensic testing. Forensic Chemist Police Inspector Yehla C. Manaogconducted the laboratory
examination on the specimens submitted and found the recovered items positive
for methylamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, a dangerous drug.

The police officers charged Laylo for attempted sale of illegal drugs and used the two plastic sachets
containing shabu as basis while Ritwal was charged for possession of illegal drugs using as basis the
third sachet containing 0.02 grams of shabu.

The defense, on the other hand, presented different versions of the facts. The witnesses presented
were: appellant Laylo; Laylos three neighbors namely Rodrigo Panaon, Jr., Marlon de Leon,
and Teresita Marquez.

Laylo testified that while he and his common-law wife, Ritwal, were walking on the street, two men
grabbed them. The two men, who they later identified as PO1 Reyes and PO1 Pastor, dragged them
to their house. Once inside, the police officers placed two plastic sachets in each of their pockets.
Afterwards, they were brought to the police station where, despite protests and claims that the drugs
were planted on them, they were arrested and charged.

To corroborate Laylos testimony, the defense presented Laylos three neighbors. Marlon de Leon (de
Leon), also a close friend of the couple, testified that he was taking care of
the Laylo and Ritwals child when he heard a commotion. He saw men, whom de Leon identified as
assets, holding the couple and claimed that he saw one of them put something, which he described
as plastic, in the left side of Laylos jacket.

Rodrigo Panaon, Jr. (Panaon) narrated that on 17 December 2005, at around 5:00 or 6:00 p.m., he
was on his way home when he saw Laylo arguing with three men in an alley. He
overheard Laylo uttering, Bakit ba? Bakit ba? Later, Panaon saw a commotion taking place
at Laylos backyard. The three men arrested Laylo while the latter
shouted, Mga kapitbahay, tulungan ninyo kami, kamiy dinadampot. Then Panaon saw someone
place something inside the jacket of Laylo as he heard Laylosay, Wala kayong makukuha dito.
Teresita Marquez (Marquez) testified that while she was fetching water from the well on 17
December 2005, at around 5:00 or 6:00 p.m., she heard Laylos son shouting, Amang, Amang.
Marquez then saw the child run to his father, who was with several male companions. Then someone
pulled Laylos collar and frisked him. Marquez overheard someone uttering, Wala po, wala po.
Marquez went home after the incident. At around 9:00 in the evening, Ritwals daughter visited her
and borrowed money for Laylo and Ritwals release. Marquez then accompanied Ritwals daughter to
the municipal hall, where a man demanded P40,000.00 for the couples release.

In its Decision dated 16 September 2008, the RTC found Laylo and Ritwal guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of violations of RA 9165. The RTC gave credence to the testimonies of the police officers,
who were presumed to have performed their duties in a regular manner. The RTC stated that Reyes
and Pastor were straightforward and candid in their testimonies and unshaken by cross-examination.
Their testimonies were unflawed by inconsistencies or contradictions in their material points. The
RTC added that the denial of appellant Laylo is weak and self-serving and his allegation of planting
of evidence or frame-up can be easily concocted. Thus, Laylos defense cannot be given credence
over the positive and clear testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. The dispositive portion of the
decision states:

We thus find accused Rolando Laylo GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 26(b)
of R.A. No. 9165 and sentence him to suffer a penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine
of P500,000.00. We also find accused Melitona Ritwal GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of
violating Section 11 of R.A. No. 9165 and illegally possessing a total of 0.02 grams
of Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride or shabu and accordingly sentence her to suffer an
indeterminate penalty of 12 years and one day as minimum to 13 years as maximum and to pay a
fine of P300,000.00.

Let the drug samples in this case be forwarded to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency
(PDEA) for proper disposition. Furnish PDEA with a copy of this Decision per OCA Circular No.
70-2007.

SO ORDERED. 6

Laylo filed an appeal with the CA. Laylo imputed the following errors on the RTC:
I. THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT
OF THE OFFENSE CHARGED DESPITE THE PROSECUTION WITNESS PATENTLY
FABRICATED ACCOUNTS.

II. THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT


OF THE OFFENSE CHARGED WHEN HIS GUILT WAS NOT PROVEN BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT.

III. THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT


DESPITE THE APPREHENDING OFFICERS FAILURE TO PRESERVE THE INTEGRITY
OF THE ALLEGED SEIZED SHABU. 7

The Ruling of the Court of Appeals

In a Decision dated 28 January 2010, the CA affirmed the decision of the RTC. The dispositive
portion of the decision states:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The challenged
decision of the court a quo is AFFIRMED. Costs against the accused-appellant.

SO ORDERED. 8

Hence, this appeal.

The Ruling of the Court

The appeal lacks merit.


The elements necessary for the prosecution of illegal sale of drugs are: (1) the identity of the buyer
and seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment.
9

In the present case, PO1 Reyes narrated in court the circumstances of the illegal sale:
PROS. ARAGONES:
Q: What time did you proceed to that place of surveillance?
A: 5:40 p.m., Maam.

Q: And what happened when you and PO1 Gem Pastor went there?
A: When we were making standby at a nearby store there was a man talking with a woman, the
man asked me if we want to have a shot of shabu.

Q: What was your reply?


A: Bakit, meron ka ba?

Q: How did that other person react to that question, what did he tell you, if any?
A: Gusto mong umiskor ng shabu?

Q: What happened after that?


A: I replied, Bakit meron ka ba? then he showed me two small plastic bags containing shabu,
Maam.

Q: How big is that bag, Mr. Witness?


A: Small, Maam.

Q: Can you tell us the size?


A: (Demonstrating) Almost one inch the size of a cigarette, Maam.

COURT: It was in a plastic not in foil?


A: Yes, your Honor.
PROS. ARAGONES:
Q: After showing you two plastic bags, what happened?
A: I introduced myself as a police officer then I caught this man and confiscated the two small
plastic bag containing shabu.

Q: How about the lady?


A: My partner caught the woman because she was intending to run away and he got from her right
hand Smart SIM card case containing one small plastic.10

PO1 Pastor corroborated the testimony of PO1 Reyes:

PROS. ARAGONES:
Q: Mr. Witness, while you were conducting surveillance on December 17, 2005, what happened?
A: While we were conducting surveillance at Lozana Street, Calumpang, Binangonan, Rizal,
while we were at the store, two (2) persons approached us, one male and one female, Maam.

Q: Who were those persons? Did you come to know the name of those persons?
A: At that time I dont know the names but when they were brought to the police station I came to
know their names, Maam.

Q: What are the names of these two persons?


A: Rolando Laylo and Melitona Ritwal, Maam.

Q: At that time they approached you during the time you were conducting surveillance
at Lozana Street, what happened?
A: The male person approached PO1 Reyes and asked if iiskor, Maam.

Q: What was the reply of PO1 Reyes?


A: He answered Bakit meron ka ba?

Q: When that answer was given by Reyes, what did that male person do?
A: He produced two (2) small plastic sachets containing allegedly shabu and he said dosang isa.

COURT: What do you mean by dos ang isa?


A: Php 200.00, Your Honor.

PROS. ARAGONES:
Q: Where were you when that male person produced two (2) small plastic sachets?
A: I was beside PO1 Reyes, Maam.

Q: After he showed the plastic sachets containing drugs, what happened next?
A: We introduced ourselves as policemen, Maam.

Q: After you introduced yourselves, what happened next?


A: PO1 Reyes arrested the male person while I arrested the female person, Maam.

Q: Why did you arrest the woman?


A: At that time, she was about to run I confiscated from her a SIM card case, Maam.

COURT: What was the contents of the SIM card case?


A: One (1) piece of alleged shabu, Your Honor. 11

From the testimonies given, PO1 Reyes and PO1 Pastor testified that they were the poseur-buyers in
the sale. Both positively identified appellant as the seller of the substance contained in plastic sachets
which were found to be positive for shabu. The same plastic sachets were likewise identified by the
prosecution witnesses when presented in court. Even the consideration of P200.00 for each sachet
had been made known by appellant to the police officers. However, the sale was interrupted when
the police officers introduced themselves as cops and immediately arrested appellant and his live-in
partner Ritwal. Thus, the sale was not consummated but merely attempted. Thus, appellant was
charged with attempted sale of dangerous drugs. Section 26(b), Article II of RA 9165 provides:

Section 26. Attempt or Conspiracy. Any attempt or conspiracy to commit the following unlawful
acts shall be penalized by the same penalty prescribed for the commission of the same as provided
under this Act:
xxx
(b) Sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of any
dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical;
xxx

Here, appellant intended to sell shabu and commenced by overt acts the commission of the intended
crime by showing the substance to PO1 Reyes and PO1 Pastor. The sale was aborted when the police
12

officers identified themselves and placed appellant and Ritwal under arrest. From the testimonies of
the witnesses, the prosecution was able to establish that there was an attempt to sell shabu. In addition,
the plastic sachets were presented in court as evidence of corpus delicti. Thus, the elements of the
crime charged were sufficiently established by evidence.

Appellant claims that he was a victim of a frame up. However, he failed to substantiate his claim.
The witnesses presented by the defense were not able to positively affirm that illegal drugs were
planted on appellant by the police officers when they testified that they saw someone place something
inside appellants jacket. In Quinicot v. People, we held that allegations of frame-up and extortion
13

by police officers are common and standard defenses in most dangerous drugs cases. They are viewed
by the Court with disfavor, for such defenses can easily be concocted and fabricated.

Appellant asserts that it is unbelievable that he would be so foolish and reckless to offer to
sell shabu to strangers. In People v. de Guzman, we have ruled that peddlers of illicit drugs have
14

been known, with ever increasing casualness and recklessness, to offer and sell their wares for the
right price to anybody, be they strangers or not. What matters is not the existing familiarity between
the buyer and the seller, or the time and venue of the sale, but the fact of agreement as well as the act
constituting the sale and delivery of the prohibited drugs.

Further, appellant did not attribute any ill-motive on the part of the police officers. The presumption
of regularity in the performance of the police officers official duties should prevail over the self-
serving denial of appellant.15

In sum, we see no reason to disturb the findings of the RTC and CA. Appellant was correctly found
to be guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 26(b), Article II of RA 9165.

WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the appeal. We AFFIRM the Decision dated 28 January 2010 of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 03631.

SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines
Supreme Court
Manila

THIRD DIVISION

JESUS TORRES, G.R. No. 175074


Petitioner, Present:
VELASCO, JR., J., Chairperson,
PERALTA,
ABAD,
MENDOZA, and
- versus - SERENO,* JJ.
Promulgated:

August 31, 2011

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


Respondent.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x

DECISION

PERALTA, J.:

This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to reverse and set aside the

Resolution[1] dated September 6, 2006 and Resolution dated October 17, 2006[2] of the Court of

Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 29694.

The factual and procedural antecedents are as follows:


In an Information[3] dated November 15, 1994, petitioner Jesus U. Torres was charged with

the crime of Malversation of Public Funds before the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 42,

Virac, Catanduanes, the accusatory portion of which reads:


That on or about the 27th day of April 1994, or sometime subsequent thereto, in the
Municipality of Virac, Catanduanes, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused, a public officer, being then the Principal of Viga Rural
Development High School, Viga, Catanduanes, and as such by reason of his office and duties is
responsible and accountable for public funds entrusted to and received by him, to wit: PNB Checks
(sic) Nos. C-983182-Q for P42,033.32; C-983183-Q for P95,680.89; C-983184-Q for P58,940.33,
all dated April 26, 1994 in the total amount of ONE HUNDRED NINETY-SIX THOUSAND SIX
HUNDRED FIFTY-FOUR PESOS and FIFTY-FOUR CENSTAVOS (P196,654.54), Philippine
Currency, representing salaries, salary differentials, additional compensation allowance and
Personal Emergency Relief Allowance from January to March 1994 of the employees of the said
school, taking advantage of his position and committing the offense in relation to his office,
encashed said checks with the Philippine National Bank, Virac, Catanduanes Branch and once in
possession of the money, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously and with grave
abuse of confidence, misapply, misappropriate, embezzle and convert to his personal use and
benefit the aforementioned amount of money, to the damage and prejudice of the Government.

Contrary to law.

Upon his arraignment, petitioner pleaded not guilty to the crime charged.Consequently,

trial on the merits ensued.

Evidence for the Prosecution


[Petitioner] Jesus Torres y Uchi was the principal of Viga Rural Development High School
(VRDHS). On April 26, 1994, he directed Edmundo Lazado, the schools collection and disbursing
officer, to prepare the checks representing the teachers and employees salaries, salary differentials,
additional compensation allowance (ACA) and personal emergency relief allowance (PERA) for
the months of January to March, 1994. Lazado prepared three (3) checks in the total amount
of P196,654.54, all dated April 26, 1994, viz: PNB Check Nos. C-983182-Q for P42,033.32; C-
983183-Q for P95,680.89; C-983184-Q for P58,940.33 (Exhs. A, B and C). The [petitioner] and
Amador Borre, Head Teacher III, signed the three (3) checks (TSN, Aug. 30, 2001, pp. 4-8).

Upon the instruction of the [petitioner], Lazado endorsed the checks and handed them to
the accused. It was the custom in the school for Lazado to endorse the checks representing the
teachers salaries and for the accused to encash them at PNB, Virac Branch and deliver the cash to
Lazado for distribution to the teachers (Id., pp. 12-17).
The following day, April 27, 1994, the accused encashed the three (3) checks at PNB, Virac
Branch but he never returned to the school to deliver the money to Lazado (Id., pp. 8-9).[4]

Evidence for the Defense

The [petitioner] admitted that he encashed the subject checks at PNB, Virac Branch in the
morning of April 27, 1994 but instead of going back to the school, he proceeded to the airport and
availed of the flight to Manila to seek medical attention for his chest pain. Two (2) days after,
around 4:30 oclock in the morning of April 29, 1994, while he and his nephew were on the road
waiting for a ride, three (3) armed men held them up and took his bag containing his personal
effects and the proceeds of the subject checks. He reported the incident to the police authorities,
but he failed to recover the money (TSN, Nov. 12, 2002, pp. 11-25).[5]

On August 31, 2005, after finding that the prosecution has established all the elements of

the offense charged, the RTC rendered a Decision[6] convicting petitioner of the crime of

Malversation of Public Funds, the decretal portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused Jesus Torres y Uchi GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of malversation of public funds as defined and penalized under
Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, and hereby sentences him to suffer the indeterminate
penalty of imprisonment ranging from 12 years and 1 day of reclusion temporal, as minimum, and
to 18 years, 8 months and 1 day of reclusion temporal, as maximum; to suffer the penalty of
perpetual special disqualification; and to pay the fine of P196,654.54 with subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency.

SO ORDERED.[7]

On September 8, 2005, petitioner filed his Notice of Appeal,[8] where it was indicated that

he was seeking recourse and appealing the decision of the RTC before the Court of Appeals.

On February 10, 2006, petitioner filed a Manifestation and Motion [9]acknowledging that

he filed the appeal before the wrong tribunal. Petitioner eventually prayed, among other things,

that the case be referred to the Sandiganbayan for appropriate action.


In its Comment[10] filed on June 29, 2006, the Office of the Solicitor General prayed that

the appeal be dismissed outright, since transmittal to the proper court, in cases of erroneous modes

of appeal, are proscribed.

On September 6, 2006, the CA issued a Resolution dismissing the appeal, the dispositive

portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, pursuant to the provisions of Section 2, Rule 50 of the Rules and Section
4 of SC Circular No. 2-90, the instant appeal hereby is DISMISSED OUTRIGHT for lack of
jurisdiction.

SO ORDERED.[11]

Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration,[12] but was denied in the

Resolution[13] dated October 17, 2006.

Hence, the petition raising the sole error:

WHETHER THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DISMISSING THE


PETITIONERS APPEAL OUTRIGHT INSTEAD OF CERTIFYING THE CASE TO
THE PROPER COURT.[14]

Petitioner maintains that he inadvertently filed the notice of appeal before the Court of

Appeals instead of the Sandiganbayan. Petitioner implores that the Court exercise its sound

discretion and prerogative to relax compliance to sound procedural rules and to decide the case

on the merits, considering that from the beginning, he has been candid and straightforward about

the fact that the case was wrongfully filed with the Court of Appeals instead of the Sandiganbayan.

The petition is without merit.


Paragraph 3, Section 4 (c) of Republic Act No. 8249 (RA 8249), [15] which defined the
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, provides:

The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction over final judgments,
resolutions or orders of the regional trial courts whether in the exercise of their own original
jurisdiction or of their appellate jurisdiction as herein provided.[16]

Hence, upon his conviction, petitioners remedy should have been an appeal to the

Sandiganbayan. There is nothing in said paragraph which can conceivably justify the filing of

petitioners appeal before the Court of Appeals instead of the Sandiganbayan. Clearly, the Court

of Appeals is bereft of any jurisdiction to review the judgment petitioner seeks to appeal.[17]

It must be emphasized, however, that the designation of the wrong court does not
necessarily affect the validity of the notice of appeal. However, the designation of the proper
court should be made within the 15-day period to appeal. Once made within the said period, the
designation of the correct appellate court may be allowed even if the records of the case are
forwarded to the Court of Appeals. Otherwise, Section 2, Rule 50 of the Rules of Court would
apply,[18] the relevant portion of which states:
Sec. 2. Dismissal of improper appeal to the Court of Appeals. x x x

An appeal erroneously taken to the Court of Appeals shall not be transferred to the
appropriate court, but shall be dismissed outright.[19]

In the case at bar, petitioner sought correction of the error in filing the appeal way beyond

the expiration of the period to appeal the decision. The RTC promulgated its Decision on August

31, 2005. Petitioner filed his Notice of Appeal on September 8, 2005. Petitioner tried to correct

the error only on February 10, 2006 when he filed his Manifestation and Motion. Clearly, this is

beyond the 15-day period to appeal from the decision of the trial court. Therefore, the CA did not

commit any reversible error when it dismissed petitioners appeal for lack of jurisdiction.
Besides, even if we look into the merits of his arguments, the case is doomed to

fail. Contrary to petitioners argument, We find that he is an accountable officer within the

contemplation of Article 217[20] of the Revised Penal Code, hence, is untenable.

An accountable public officer, within the purview of Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code,

is one who has custody or control of public funds or property by reason of the duties of his

office.[21] The nature of the duties of the public officer or employee, the fact that as part of his

duties he received public money for which he is bound to account and failed to account for it, is

the factor which determines whether or not malversation is committed by the accused public

officer or employee. Hence, a school principal of a public high school, such as petitioner, may be

held guilty of malversation if he or she is entrusted with public funds and misappropriates the

same.

Petitioner also posits that he could not be convicted under the allegations in the Information

without violating his constitutional right to be informed of the accusations against him. He

maintains that the Information clearly charged him with intentional malversation and not

malversation through negligence, which was the actual nature of malversation for which he was

convicted by the trial court. This too lacks merit.

Malversation may be committed either through a positive act of misappropriation of public

funds or property, or passively through negligence.[22] To sustain a charge of malversation, there

must either be criminal intent or criminal negligence, and while the prevailing facts of a case may

not show that deceit attended the commission of the offense, it will not preclude the reception of
evidence to prove the existence of negligence because both are equally punishable under Article

217 of the Revised Penal Code.[23]

More in point, the felony involves breach of public trust, and whether it is committed

through deceit or negligence, the law makes it punishable and prescribes a uniform penalty

therefor. Even when the Information charges willful malversation, conviction for malversation

through negligence may still be adjudged if the evidence ultimately proves the mode of

commission of the offense.[24] Explicitly stated

x x x [E]ven on the putative assumption that the evidence against petitioner yielded a case of
malversation by negligence, but the information was for intentional malversation, under the
circumstances of this case, his conviction under the first mode of misappropriation would still be
in order. Malversation is committed either intentionally or by negligence. The dolo or
the culpa present in the offense is only a modality in the perpetration of the felony. Even if the
mode charged differs from mode proved, the same offense of malversation is involved and
conviction thereof is proper. x x x[25]

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED. The Resolutions

dated September 6, 2006 and October 17, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No.

29694 are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 184908. July 3, 2013.

MAJOR JOEL G. CANTOS, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.

Criminal Law; Malversation of Public Funds; Elements of.—The elements of malversation of public funds
under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code are: 1. that the offender is a public officer; 2. that he had the
custody or control of funds or property by reason of the duties of his office; 3. that those funds or property
were public funds or property for which he was accountable; and 4. that he appropriated, took,
misappropriated or consented or, through abandonment or negligence, permitted another person to take
them.

Same; Same; Malversation is committed either intentionally or by negligence.—Malversation is committed


either intentionally or by negligence. The dolo or the culpa present in the offense is only a modality in the
perpetration of the felony. Even if the mode charged differs from the mode proved, the same offense of
malversation is involved and conviction thereof is proper. All that is necessary for conviction is sufficient
proof that the accountable officer had received public funds, that he did not have them in his possession
when demand therefor was made, and that he could not satisfactorily explain his failure to do so. Direct
evidence of personal misappropriation by the accused is hardly necessary as long as the accused cannot
explain satisfactorily the shortage in his accounts. To our mind, the evidence in this case is thoroughly
inconsistent with petitioner’s claim of innocence.

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DIVISION

[ GR No. 184908, Jul 03, 2013 ]

MAJOR JOEL G. CANTOS v. PEOPLE +

DECISION
G.R. No. 184908

VILLARAMA, JR., J.:


Petitioner Major Joel G. Cantos appeals the Decision[1] of the Sandiganbayan in
Criminal Case No. SB-07-A/R-0008, which affirmed with modification the
judgment[2] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 47, convicting him of
the crime of Malversation of Public Funds under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code,
as amended.

In an Information[3] dated February 19, 2003, Major Cantos was charged as follows:

That on or about December 21, 2002 or sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in the
City of Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused, a public officer, being then the Commanding Officer of the 22nd
Finance Service Center, based in the Presidential Security Group, Malacañang Park,
Manila and as such is accountable for public funds received and/or entrusted to him by
reason of his office, acting in relation to his office and taking advantage of the same, did
then and there, wi[l]lfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, misappropriate and convert
to his personal use and benefit the amount of THREE MILLION TWO HUNDRED
SEVENTY THOUSAND PESOS (P3,270,000.00), Philippine Currency, from such
public funds received by him by reason of his Office to the damage and prejudice of the
Government in the aforestated amount.

CONTRARY TO LAW.

Upon motion by the prosecution, the trial court issued an Order[4] granting the
amendment of the date of the commission of the offense from December 21, 2002 to
December 21, 2000, the error being merely clerical. When arraigned, Major Cantos
entered a plea of not guilty.[5]

At the trial, the prosecution presented as witness Major Eligio T. Balao, Jr.[6] He
testified that on December 21, 2000, he reported for duty as Disbursing Officer at the
22nd Finance Service Unit (FSU), Presidential Security Group (PSG), Malacañang
Park, Manila. At that time, he did not notice any unusual incident in the office. He
picked up some Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) forms which he filed with the BIR
Office at the Port Area, Manila. He returned to the office at around 10:00 a.m. At
around 12:00 noon, his commanding officer, Major Cantos, called him to his office and
informed him that the money he (Major Cantos) was handling, the Special Duty
Allowance for the month of December, and other Maintenance Operating Expenses in
the amount of more or less P3 Million was missing from his custody. Shocked, he asked
Major Cantos where he kept the money, to which the latter replied that he placed it in
the steel cabinet inside his room. He then inquired why Major Cantos did not use the
safety vault, but Major Cantos did not reply.[7]

Major Balao further testified that Major Cantos asked him to get a screwdriver so he
went out of the office and got one from his vehicle. He gave the screwdriver to Major
Cantos, who used it to unscrew the safety vault. Then, he left the office and handed the
screwdriver to Sgt. Tumabcao. After a few minutes, Major Cantos instructed him to go
to the house of Major Conrado Mendoza in Taguig to get the safety vault's combination
number. However, Major Mendoza was not around. When he returned to the office at
around 4:00 p.m., the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) personnel took his
fingerprints. He learned that all the personnel of the 22nd FSU were subjected to
fingerprinting. Thereafter, Col. Espinelli tried to force him to admit that he took the
money, but he maintained that he was not the one who took it.[8]

In his defense, Major Cantos testified that on July 2000, he was assigned as the
Commanding Officer of the 22nd FSU of the PSG, Malacañang Park, Manila. His duty
was to supervise the disbursement of funds for the PSG personnel and to perform other
finance duties as requested by the PSG Commander, Gen. Rodolfo Diaz. On December
19, 2000, he received a check from Director Aguas in the amount of P1,975,000
representing the Special Allowance of PSG personnel. Accompanied by two personnel,
he went to the Land Bank branch just across Pasig River and encashed the check. He
placed the money in a duffel bag and kept it inside the steel cabinet in his office
together with the P1,295,000 that was earlier also entrusted to him by Gen. Diaz. Major
Cantos added that as far as he knows, he is the only one with the keys to his office.
Although there was a safety vault in his office, he opted to place the money inside the
steel cabinet because he was allegedly previously informed by his predecessor, Major
Conrado Mendoza, that the safety vault was defective. He was also aware that all
personnel of the 22nd FSU had unrestricted access to his office during office hours.[9]

Major Cantos also narrated that on December 20, 2000, he arrived at the office at
around 9:00 a.m. and checked the steel filing cabinet. He saw that the money was still
there. He left the office at around 4:00 p.m. to celebrate with his wife because it was
their wedding anniversary. On the following day, December 21, 2000, he reported for
work around 8:30 a.m. and proceeded with his task of signing vouchers and
documents. Between 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., he inspected the steel cabinet and
discovered that the duffel bag which contained the money was missing. He
immediately called then Capt. Balao to his office and asked if the latter saw someone
enter the room. Capt. Balao replied that he noticed a person going inside the room, but
advised him not to worry because he is bonded as Disbursing Officer.[10]

In a state of panic, Major Cantos asked for Capt. Balao's help in finding the money.
Capt. Balao asked him how the money was lost and why was it not in the vault, to which
he replied that he could not put it there because the vault was defective. Capt. Balao
then suggested that they should make it appear that the money was lost in the safety
vault. In pursuit of this plan, Capt. Balao went out of the office and returned with a pair
of pliers and a screwdriver. Upon his return, Capt. Balao went directly to the vault to
unscrew it. At this point, Major Cantos told him not to continue anymore as he will just
inform Gen. Diaz about the missing funds. Major Cantos was able to contact Gen. Diaz
through his mobile phone and was advised to just wait for Col. Espinelli. When Col.
Espinelli arrived at the office, Col. Espinelli conducted an investigation of the
incident.[11]

Lt. Col. Al I. Perreras, Executive Officer of the Judge Advocate General Office (JAGO),
likewise conducted an investigation of the incident. His testimony was however
dispensed with as the counsels stipulated that he prepared the Investigation Report,
and that if presented, the same would be admitted by defense counsel.[12] It likewise
appears from the evidence that Police Inspector Jesus S. Bacani of the Philippine
National Police (PNP) administered a polygraph examination on Major Cantos and the
result showed that he was telling the truth.[13]

On April 27, 2007, the RTC rendered a decision convicting Major Cantos of the crime
charged, to wit:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the Court finds the accused Major
Joel G. Cantos GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Malversation of Public
Funds, under paragraph 4 of Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, and, there being no
mitigating or aggravating circumstance present, hereby sentences him to an
indeterminate penalty of imprisonment for a period of ten (10) years and one (1) day of
Prision Mayor, as minimum, to Eighteen (18) Years, eight (8) months and one (1) day
of Reclusion Temporal, as maximum; to reimburse the AFP Finance Service Center,
Presidential Security Group, Armed Forces of the Philippines the amount of Three
Million Two Hundred Seventy Thousand Pesos (P3,270,000.00); to pay a fine of Three
Million Two Hundred Seventy Thousand Pesos (P3,270,000.00); to suffer perpetual
special disqualification from holding any public office; and to pay the costs.

SO ORDERED.[14]

In rendering a judgment of conviction, the RTC explained that although there was no
direct proof that Major Cantos appropriated the money for his own benefit, Article 217
of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, provides that the failure of a public officer to
have duly forthcoming any public funds or property with which he is chargeable, upon
demand by any duly authorized officer, shall be prima facie evidence that he has put
such missing funds or property to personal uses. The RTC concluded that Major Cantos
failed to rebut this presumption.

Aggrieved, Major Cantos appealed to the Sandiganbayan questioning his conviction by


the trial court.

On July 31, 2008, the Sandiganbayan promulgated the assailed Decision, the
dispositive portion of which reads as follows:

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Decision promulgated on May 3, 2007 in


Criminal Case No. 03-212248 of the Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial
Region, Branch 47, Manila finding the accused-appellant Major Joel G.
Cantos GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Malversation of Public
Funds under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code is hereby AFFIRMED, with the
modification that instead of being convicted of malversation through negligence, the
Court hereby convicts the accused of malversation through misappropriation. The
penalty imposed by the lower court is also likewise AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.[15]

The Sandiganbayan sustained the ruling of the RTC. It held that in the crime of
malversation, all that is necessary for conviction is proof that the accountable officer
had received public funds and that he did not have them in his possession when
demand therefor was made. There is even no need of direct evidence of personal
misappropriation as long as there is a shortage in his account and petitioner cannot
satisfactorily explain the same. In this case, the Sandiganbayan found petitioner liable
for malversation through misappropriation because he failed to dispute the
presumption against him. The Sandiganbayan noted that petitioner's claim that the
money was taken by robbery or theft has not been supported by sufficient evidence,
and is at most, self-serving.

Contending that the Sandiganbayan Decision erred in affirming his convicting, Major
Cantos filed a motion for reconsideration. In its Resolution[16]dated October 6, 2008,
however, the Sandiganbayan denied the motion.

Hence, the present petition for review on certiorari. Petitioner assails the Decision of
the Sandiganbayan based on the following grounds:

I.

THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN ERRED IN AFFIRMING PETITIONER'S


CONVICTION FOR MALVERSATION DESPITE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE SHOWING
THAT THE FUNDS WERE CONVERTED TO THE PERSONAL USE OF PETITIONER.

II.

THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN ERRED IN AFFIRMING PETITIONER'S


CONVICTION ON THE BASIS OF THE MERE PRESUMPTION CREATED BY
ARTICLE 217, PARAGRAPH 4, OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE IN VIEW OF THE
ATTENDANT CIRCUMSTANCES IN THE PRESENT CASE.[17]

Essentially, the basic issue for our resolution is: Did the Sandiganbayan err in finding
petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of malversation of public funds?

Petitioner argues that mere absence of funds is not sufficient proof of misappropriation
which would warrant his conviction. He stresses that the prosecution has the burden of
establishing his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. In this case, petitioner contends that
the prosecution failed to prove that he appropriated, took, or misappropriated, or that
he consented or, through abandonment or negligence, permitted another person to
take the public funds.

On the other hand, the People, represented by the Office of the Special Prosecutor
(OSP), argues that petitioner, as an accountable officer, may be convicted of
malversation of public funds even if there is no direct evidence of misappropriation.
The OSP asserts that the only evidence required is that there is a shortage in the
officer's account which he has not been able to explain satisfactorily.

The petition must fail.

The Sandiganbayan did not commit a reversible error in its decision convicting
petitioner of malversation of public funds, which is defined and penalized under Article
217 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, as follows:

Art. 217. Malversation of public funds or property. Presumption of malversation. Any


public officer who, by reason of the duties of his office, is accountable for public funds
or property, shall appropriate the same, or shall take or misappropriate or shall
consent, or through abandonment or negligence, shall permit any other person to take
such public funds or property, wholly or partially, or shall otherwise be guilty of the
misappropriation or malversation of such funds or property shall suffer:

xxxx

4. The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum periods, if the
amount involved is more than twelve thousand pesos but is less than twenty-two
thousand pesos. If the amount exceeds the latter, the penalty shall be reclusion
temporalin its maximum period to reclusion perpetua.

In all cases, persons guilty of malversation shall also suffer the penalty of perpetual
special disqualification and a fine equal to the amount of the funds malversed or equal
to the total value of the property embezzled.

The failure of a public officer to have duly forthcoming any public funds or
property with which he is chargeable, upon demand by any duly
authorized officer, shall be prima facie evidence that he has put such
missing funds or property to personal use. (Emphasis and underscoring
supplied.)

Thus, the elements of malversation of public funds under Article 217 of the Revised
Penal Code are:

1. that the offender is a public officer;

2. that he had the custody or control of funds or property by reason of the duties of his
office;
3. that those funds or property were public funds or property for which he was
accountable; and

4. that he appropriated, took, misappropriated or consented or, through abandonment


or negligence, permitted another person to take them.[18]

We note that all the above-mentioned elements are here present. Petitioner was a
public officer occupying the position of Commanding Officer of the 22nd FSU of the
AFP Finance Center, PSG. By reason of his position, he was tasked to supervise the
disbursement of the Special Duty Allowances and other Maintenance Operating Funds
of the PSG personnel, which are indubitably public funds for which he was accountable.
Petitioner in fact admitted in his testimony that he had complete control and custody of
these funds. As to the element of misappropriation, indeed petitioner failed to rebut the
legal presumption that he had misappropriated the fees to his personal use.

In convicting petitioner, the Sandiganbayan cites the presumption in Article 217 of


the Revised Penal Code, as amended, which states that the failure of a public officer to
have duly forthcoming any public funds or property with which he is chargeable, upon
demand by any duly authorized officer, is prima facie evidence that he has put such
missing fund or property to personal uses. The presumption is, of course, rebuttable.
Accordingly, if petitioner is able to present adequate evidence that can nullify any
likelihood that he put the funds or property to personal use, then that presumption
would be at an end and the prima facie case is effectively negated.

In this case, however, petitioner failed to overcome this prima facie evidence of guilt.
He failed to explain the missing funds in his account and to restitute the amount upon
demand. His claim that the money was taken by robbery or theft is self-serving and has
not been supported by evidence. In fact, petitioner even tried to unscrew the safety
vault to make it appear that the money was forcibly taken. Moreover, petitioner's
explanation that there is a possibility that the money was taken by another is belied by
the fact that there was no sign that the steel cabinet was forcibly opened. We also take
note of the fact that it was only petitioner who had the keys to the steel
cabinet.[19] Thus, the explanation set forth by petitioner is unsatisfactory and does not
overcome the presumption that he has put the missing funds to personal use.

Malversation is committed either intentionally or by negligence. The doloor


the culpa present in the offense is only a modality in the perpetration of the felony.
Even if the mode charged differs from the mode proved, the same offense of
malversation is involved and conviction thereof is proper.[20] All that is necessary for
conviction is sufficient proof that the accountable officer had received public funds,
that he did not have them in his possession when demand therefor was made, and that
he could not satisfactorily explain his failure to do so. Direct evidence of personal
misappropriation by the accused is hardly necessary as long as the accused cannot
explain satisfactorily the shortage in his accounts.[21] To our mind, the evidence in this
case is thoroughly inconsistent with petitioner's claim of innocence. Thus, we sustain
the Sandiganbayan's finding that petitioner's guilt has been proven beyond reasonable
doubt.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated July 31, 2008 of the
Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. SB-07-A/R-0008 convicting Major Joel G. Cantos
of the crime of Malversation of Public Funds is AFFIRMED and UPHELD.

With costs against the petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

Sereno, C.J., (Chairperson), Leonardo-De Castro, Bersamin, and Reyes, JJ.,concur.

G.R. Nos. 147026-27. September 11, 2009.

CAROLINA R. JAVIER, petitioner, vs. THE FIRST DIVISION OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN and
the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

Criminal Procedure; Motions to Quash; Well-established is the rule that when a motion to quash in a
criminal case is denied, the remedy is not a petition for certiorari, but for petitioners to go to trial, without
prejudice to reiterating the special defenses invoked in their motion to quash—remedial measures as
regards interlocutory orders, such as a motion to quash, are frowned upon and often dismissed.—A motion
to quash an Information is the mode by which an accused assails the validity of a criminal complaint or
Information filed against him for insufficiency on its face in point of law, or for defects which are apparent
in the face of the Information. Well-established is the rule that when a motion to quash in a criminal case
is denied, the remedy is not a petition for certiorari, but for petitioners to go to trial, without prejudice to
reiterating the special defenses invoked in their motion to quash. Remedial measures as regards
interlocutory orders, such as a motion to quash, are frowned upon and often dismissed. The evident
reason for this rule is to avoid multiplicity of appeals in a single action. The above general rule, however
admits of several exceptions, one of which is when the court, in denying the motion to dismiss or motion
to quash, acts without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion, then certiorari or
prohibition lies. The reason is that it would be unfair to require the defendant or accused to undergo the
ordeal and expense of a trial if the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter or offense, or is not
the court of proper venue, or if the denial of the motion to dismiss or motion to quash is made with grave
abuse of discretion or a whimsical and capricious exercise of judgment. In such cases, the ordinary
remedy of appeal cannot be plain and adequate.

Public Officers; National Book Development Board (NBDB); Book Publishing Industry Development Act
(Republic Act No. 8047); Words and Phrases; A public office is the right, authority and duty, created and
conferred by law, by which, for a given period, either fixed by law or enduring at the pleasure of the
creating power, an individual is invested with some portion of the sovereign functions of the government, to
be exercised by him for the benefit of the public.—The NBDB is the government agency mandated to
develop and support the Philippine book publishing industry. It is a statutory government agency created
by R.A. No. 8047, which was enacted into law to ensure the full development of the book publishing
industry as well as for the creation of organization structures to implement the said policy. To achieve
this end, the Governing Board of the NBDB was created to supervise the implementation. The Governing
Board was vested with powers and functions, to wit: x x x A perusal of the above powers and functions
leads us to conclude that they partake of the nature of public functions. A public office is the right,
authority and duty, created and conferred by law, by which, for a given period, either fixed by law or
enduring at the pleasure of the creating power, an individual is invested with some portion of the
sovereign functions of the government, to be exercised by him for the benefit of the public.
The individual so invested is a public officer.

Same; Same; Same; The fact that the accused was appointed as member of the National Book Development
Board (NBDB) from the public sector and not from the other branches or agencies of the government does
not take her position outside the meaning of a public office; The purpose of the law for appointing members
from the private sector is to ensure that they are also properly represented in the implementation of
government objectives to cultivate the book publishing industry.—Notwithstanding that petitioner came
from the private sector to sit as a member of the NBDB, the law invested her with some portion of the
sovereign functions of the government, so that the purpose of the government is achieved. In this case, the
government aimed to enhance the book publishing industry as it has a significant role in the national
development. Hence, the fact that she was appointed from the public sector and not from the other
branches or agencies of the government does not take her position outside the meaning of a public office.
She was appointed to the Governing Board in order to see to it that the purposes for which the law was
enacted are achieved. The Governing Board acts collectively and carries out its mandate as one body. The
purpose of the law for appointing members from the private sector is to ensure that they are also properly
represented in the implementation of government objectives to cultivate the book publishing industry.

Same; Same; Same; Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019); Words and Phrases;
The Court is not unmindful of the definition of a public officer pursuant to the Anti-Graft Law, which
provides that a public officer includes elective and appointive officials and employees, permanent or
temporary, whether in the classified or unclassified or exempt service receiving compensation, even
nominal, from the government; Under the Anti-Graft Law, the nature of one’s appointment, and whether
the compensation one receives from the government is only nominal, is immaterial because the person so
elected or appointed is still considered a public officer.—The Court is not unmindful of the definition of a
public officer pursuant to the Anti-Graft Law, which provides that a public officer includes elective and
appointive officials and employees, permanent or temporary, whether in the classified or unclassified or
exempt service receiving compensation, even nominal, from the government. Thus, pursuant to the Anti-
Graft Law, one is a public officer if one has been elected or appointed to a public office. Petitioner was
appointed by the President to the Governing Board of the NDBD. Though her term is only for a year that
does not make her private person exercising a public function. The fact that she is not receiving a monthly
salary is also of no moment. Section 7, R.A. No. 8047 provides that members of the Governing Board shall
receive per diem and such allowances as may be authorized for every meeting actually attended and
subject to pertinent laws, rules and regulations. Also, under the Anti-Graft Law, the nature of one’s
appointment, and whether the compensation one receives from the government is only nominal, is
immaterial because the person so elected or appointed is still considered a public officer.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; The Revised Penal Code defines a public officer as any person who, by
direct provision of the law, popular election, popular election or appointment by competent authority, shall
take part in the performance of public functions in the Government of the Philippine Islands, or shall
perform in said Government or in any of its branches public duties as an employee, agent, or subordinate
official, of any rank or classes, shall be deemed to be a public officer.—The Revised Penal Code defines a
public officer as any person who, by direct provision of the law, popular election, popular election or
appointment by competent authority, shall take part in the performance of public functions in the
Government of the Philippine Islands, or shall perform in said Government or in any of its branches
public duties as an employee, agent, or subordinate official, of any rank or classes, shall be deemed to be a
public officer. Where, as in this case, petitioner performs public functions in pursuance of the objectives of
R.A. No. 8047, verily, she is a public officer who takes part in the performance of public functions in the
government whether as an employee, agent, subordinate official, of any rank or classes. In fact, during
her tenure, petitioner took part in the drafting and promulgation of several rules and regulations
implementing R.A. No. 8047. She was supposed to represent the country in the canceled book fair in
Spain.

Criminal Law; Double Jeopardy; Requisites; It is elementary that for double jeopardy to attach, the case
against the accused must have been dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent by a
court of competent jurisdiction, upon valid information sufficient in form and substance and the accused
pleaded to the charge.—Records show that the Informations in Criminal Case Nos. 25867 and 25898 refer
to offenses penalized by different statues, R.A. No. 3019 and RPC, respectively. It is elementary that for
double jeopardy to attach, the case against the accused must have been dismissed or otherwise
terminated without his express consent by a court of competent jurisdiction, upon valid information
sufficient in form and substance and the accused pleaded to the charge. In the instant case, petitioner
pleaded not guilty to the Information for violation of the Anti-Graft Law. She was not yet arraigned in the
criminal case for malversation of public funds because she had filed a motion to quash the latter
information. Double jeopardy could not, therefore, attach considering that the two cases remain pending
before the Sandiganbayan and that herein petitioner had pleaded to only one in the criminal cases
against her. It is well-settled that for a claim of double jeopardy to prosper, the following requisites must
concur: (1) there is a complaint or information or other formal charge sufficient in form and substance to
sustain a conviction; (2) the same is filed before a court of competent jurisdiction; (3) there is a valid
arraignment or plea to the charges; and (4) the accused is convicted or acquitted or the case is otherwise
dismissed or terminated without his express consent. The third and fourth requisites are not present in
the case at bar.

Republic of the Philippines


Supreme Court
Manila

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. Nos. 147026-27

CAROLINA R. JAVIER,
Petitioner,
Present:
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,
- versus -
Chairperson,
CHICO-NAZARIO,
VELASCO, JR.,
THE FIRST DIVISION OF THE NACHURA, and
SANDIGANBAYAN and the PERALTA, JJ.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
Respondents. Promulgated:
September 11, 2009
x-----------------------------------------------------x
DECISION

PERALTA, J.:

Before the Court is a petition for certiorari[1] under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court filed by
petitioner Carolina R. Javier in Criminal Case Nos. 25867 and 25898, entitled People of the
Philippines, Plaintiff versus Carolina R. Javier, Accused,seeking to nullify respondent
Sandiganbayan's: (1) Order[2] dated November 14, 2000 in Criminal Case No. 25867, which
denied her Motion to Quash Information; (2) Resolution [3] dated January 17,
2001 in Criminal Case No. 25898, which denied her Motion for Reconsideration and Motion to
Quash Information; and (3) Order[4] dated February 12, 2001, declaring that a motion for
reconsideration in Criminal Case No. 25898 would be superfluous as the issues are fairly simple
and straightforward.

The factual antecedents follow.

On June 7, 1995, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8047,[5] or otherwise known as the Book Publishing
Industry Development Act, was enacted into law. Foremost in its policy is the State's goal in
promoting the continuing development of the book publishing industry, through the active
participation of the private sector, to ensure an adequate supply of affordable, quality-produced
books for the domestic and export market.

To achieve this purpose, the law provided for the creation of the National Book Development
Board (NBDB or the Governing Board, for brevity), which shall be under the administration and
supervision of the Office of the President. The Governing Board shall be composed of eleven
(11) members who shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines, five (5) of whom shall
come from the government, while the remaining six (6) shall be chosen from the nominees of
organizations of private book publishers, printers, writers, book industry related activities,
students and the private education sector.

On February 26, 1996, petitioner was appointed to the Governing Board as a private sector
representative for a term of one (1) year.[6] During that time, she was also the President of the
Book Suppliers Association of the Philippines (BSAP). She was on a hold-over capacity in the
following year. On September 14, 1998, she was again appointed to the same position and for the
same period of one (1) year.[7] Part of her functions as a member of the Governing Board is to
attend book fairs to establish linkages with international book publishing bodies. On September
29, 1997, she was issued by the Office of the President a travel authority to attend the Madrid
International Book Fair in Spain on October 8-12, 1997.[8] Based on her itinerary of travel,[9] she
was paid P139,199.00[10] as her travelling expenses.
Unfortunately, petitioner was not able to attend the scheduled international book fair.

On February 16, 1998, Resident Auditor Rosario T. Martin advised petitioner to immediately
return/refund her cash advance considering that her trip was canceled.[11] Petitioner, however,
failed to do so. On July 6, 1998, she was issued a Summary of Disallowances [12] from which the
balance for settlement amounted to P220,349.00. Despite said notice, no action was forthcoming
from the petitioner.

On September 23, 1999, Dr. Nellie R. Apolonio, then the Executive Director of the NBDB, filed
with the Ombudsman a complaint against petitioner for malversation of public funds and
properties. She averred that despite the cancellation of the foreign trip, petitioner failed to
liquidate or return to the NBDB her cash advance within sixty (60) days from date of arrival, or
in this case from the date of cancellation of the trip, in accordance with government accounting
and auditing rules and regulations. Dr. Apolonio further charged petitioner with violation of
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6713[13] for failure to file her Statement of Assets and Liabilities.

The Ombudsman found probable cause to indict petitioner for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A.
No. 3019,[14] as amended, and recommended the filing of the corresponding information.[15] It,
however, dismissed for insufficiency of evidence, the charge for violation of R.A. No. 6713.

In an Information dated February 18, 2000, petitioner was charged with violation of Section 3(e)
of R.A. No. 3019 before the Sandiganbayan, to wit:

That on or about October 8, 1997, or for sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in the City of
Quezon, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the aforenamed accused,
a public officer, being then a member of the governing Board of the National Book Development
Board (NBDB), while in the performance of her official and administrative functions, and acting
with evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence, did then and there willfully, unlawfully
and criminally, without any justifiable cause, and despite due demand by the Resident Auditor and
the Executive Director of NBDB, fail and refuse to return and/or liquidate her cash advances
intended for official travel abroad which did not materialize, in the total amount of P139,199.00
as of September 23, 1999, as required under EO No. 248 and Sec. 5 of COA Circular No. 97-002
thereby causing damage and undue injury to theGovernment.

CONTRARY TO LAW.[16]

The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 25867 and raffled to the First Division.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Audit charged petitioner with Malversation of Public Funds, as
defined and penalized under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, for not liquidating the cash
advance granted to her in connection with her supposed trip to Spain. During the conduct of the
preliminary investigation, petitioner was required to submit her counter-affidavit but she failed
to do so. The Ombudsman found probable cause to indict petitioner for the crime charged and
recommended the filing of the corresponding information against her. [17]
Thus, an Information dated February 29, 2000 was filed before the Sandiganbayan, which was
docketed as Criminal Case No. 25898, and raffled to the Third Division, the accusatory portion
of which reads:

That on or about and during the period from October 8, 1997 to February 16, 1999, or for sometime
prior or subsequent thereto, in Quezon City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, a high ranking officer, being a member of the
Governing Board of the National Book Development Board and as such, is accountable for the
public funds she received as cash advance in connection with her trip to Spain from October 8-12,
1997, per LBP Check No. 10188 in the amount of P139,199.00, which trip did not materialize, did
then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, malverse, misappropriate, embezzle and
convert to her own personal use and benefit the aforementioned amount of P139,199.00, Philippine
currency, to the damage and prejudice of the government in the aforesaid amount.

CONTRARY TO LAW.[18]

During her arraignment in Criminal Case No. 25867, petitioner pleaded not guilty.Thereafter,
petitioner delivered to the First Division the money subject of the criminal cases, which amount
was deposited in a special trust account during the pendency of the criminal cases.

Meanwhile, the Third Division set a clarificatory hearing in Criminal Case No. 25898 on May 16,
2000 in order to determine jurisdictional issues. On June 3, 2000, petitioner filed with the same
Division a Motion for Consolidation[19] of Criminal Case No. 25898 with Criminal Case No.
25867, pending before the First Division. On July 6, 2000, the People filed an Urgent Ex-Parte
Motion to Admit Amended Information[20] in Criminal Case No. 25898, which was
granted.Accordingly, the Amended Information dated June 28, 2000 reads as follows:

That on or about and during the period from October 8, 1997 to February 16, 1999, or for sometime
prior or subsequent thereto, in Quezon City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, a high ranking officer, being a member of the
Governing Board of the National Book Development Board equated to Board Member II with a
salary grade 28 and as such, is accountable for the public funds she received as case advance in
connection with her trip to Spain from October 8-12, 1997, per LBP Check No. 10188 in the
amount of P139,199.00, which trip did not materialize, did then and there willfully, unlawfully
and feloniously take, malverse, misappropriate, embezzle and convert to her own personal use and
benefit the aforementioned amount of P139,199.00, Philippine currency, to the damage and
prejudice of the government in the aforesaid amount.
CONTRARY TO LAW.[21]

In its Resolution dated October 5, 2000, the Third Division ordered the consolidation of Criminal
Case No. 25898 with Criminal Case No. 25867. [22]

On October 10, 2000, petitioner filed a Motion to Quash Information,[23]averring that the
Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction to hear Criminal Case No. 25867 as the information did not
allege that she is a public official who is classified as Grade 27 or higher. Neither did the
information charge her as a co-principal, accomplice or accessory to a public officer committing
an offense under the Sandiganbayan's jurisdiction. She also averred that she is not a public officer
or employee and that she belongs to the Governing Board only as a private sector representative
under R.A. No. 8047, hence, she may not be charged under R.A. No. 3019 before the
Sandiganbayan or under any statute which covers public officials. Moreover, she claimed that she
does not perform public functions and is without any administrative or political power to speak
of that she is serving the private book publishing industry by advancing their interest as
participant in the government's book development policy.
In an Order[24] dated November 14, 2000, the First Division[25] denied the motion to quash
with the following disquisition:

The fact that the accused does not receive any compensation in terms of salaries and allowances,
if that indeed be the case, is not the sole qualification for being in the government service or a
public official. The National Book Development Board is a statutory government agency and the
persons who participated therein even if they are from the private sector, are public officers to the
extent that they are performing their duty therein as such.

Insofar as the accusation is concerned herein, it would appear that monies were advanced to the
accused in her capacity as Director of the National Book Development Board for purposes of
official travel. While indeed under ordinary circumstances a member of the board remains a private
individual, still when that individual is performing her functions as a member of the board or when
that person receives benefits or when the person is supposed to travel abroad and is given
government money to effect that travel, to that extent the private sector representative is a public
official performing public functions; if only for that reason, and not even considering situation of
her being in possession of public funds even as a private individual for which she would also
covered by provisions of the Revised Penal Code, she is properly charged before this Court.

On November 15, 2000, the First Division accepted the consolidation of the criminal cases
against petitioner and scheduled her arraignment on November 17, 2000, for Criminal Case No.
25898. On said date, petitioner manifested that she is not prepared to accept the propriety of the
accusation since it refers to the same subject matter as that covered in Criminal Case No. 25867
for which the Sandiganbayan gave her time to file a motion to quash. On November 22, 2000,
petitioner filed a Motion to Quash the Information[26] in Criminal Case No. 25898, by invoking
her right against double jeopardy. However, her motion was denied in open court. She then filed
a motion for reconsideration.
On January 17, 2001, the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution[27] denying petitioners motion
with the following disquisition:

The accused is under the jurisdiction of this Court because Sec. 4 (g) of P.D. 1606 as
amended so provides, thus:

Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original


jurisdiction in all cases involving:

xxxx

(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or


controlled corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations;

xxxx

The offense is office-related because the money for her travel abroad was given to her
because of her Directorship in the National Book Development Board.

Furthermore, there are also allegations to hold the accused liable under Article 222 of the
Revised Penal Code which reads:

Art. 222. Officers included in the preceding provisions. The provisions of


this chapter shall apply to private individuals who, in any capacity whatever, have
charge of any insular, provincial or municipal funds, revenues, or property and to
any administrator or depository of funds or property attached , seized or deposited
by public authority, even if such property belongs to a private individual.

Likewise, the Motion to Quash the Information in Criminal Case No. 25898 on the ground
of litis pendencia is denied since in this instance, these two Informations speak of offenses under
different statutes, i.e., R.A. No. 3019 and the Revised Penal Code, neither of which precludes
prosecution of the other.
Petitioner hinges the present petition on the ground that the Sandiganbayan has committed grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction for not quashing the two informations
charging her with violation of the Anti-Graft Law and the Revised Penal Code on malversation
of public funds. She advanced the following arguments in support of her petition, to wit: first, she
is not a public officer, and second, she was being charged under two (2) informations, which is
in violation of her right against double jeopardy.

A motion to quash an Information is the mode by which an accused assails the validity of a
criminal complaint or Information filed against him for insufficiency on its face in point of law,
or for defects which are apparent in the face of the Information.[28]

Well-established is the rule that when a motion to quash in a criminal case is denied, the remedy
is not a petition for certiorari, but for petitioners to go to trial, without prejudice to reiterating the
special defenses invoked in their motion to quash. Remedial measures as regards interlocutory
orders, such as a motion to quash, are frowned upon and often dismissed. The evident reason for
this rule is to avoid multiplicity of appeals in a single action.[29]

The above general rule, however admits of several exceptions, one of which is when the court, in
denying the motion to dismiss or motion to quash, acts without or in excess of jurisdiction or with
grave abuse of discretion, then certiorari or prohibition lies. The reason is that it would be unfair
to require the defendant or accused to undergo the ordeal and expense of a trial if the court has
no jurisdiction over the subject matter or offense, or is not the court of proper venue, or if the
denial of the motion to dismiss or motion to quash is made with grave abuse of discretion or a
whimsical and capricious exercise of judgment. In such cases, the ordinary remedy of appeal
cannot be plain and adequate.[30]

To substantiate her claim, petitioner maintained that she is not a public officer and only a private
sector representative, stressing that her only function among the eleven (11) basic purposes and
objectives provided for in Section 4, R.A. No. 8047, is to obtain priority status for the book
publishing industry. At the time of her appointment to the NDBD Board, she was the President
of the BSAP, a book publishers association. As such, she could not be held liable for the crimes
imputed against her, and in turn, she is outside the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.

The NBDB is the government agency mandated to develop and support the Philippine book
publishing industry. It is a statutory government agency created by R.A. No. 8047, which was
enacted into law to ensure the full development of the book publishing industry as well as for the
creation of organization structures to implement the said policy. To achieve this end, the
Governing Board of the NBDB was created to supervise the implementation. The Governing
Board was vested with powers and functions, to wit:
a) assume responsibility for carrying out and implementing the policies, purposes and objectives
provided for in this Act;
b) formulate plans and programs as well as operational policies and guidelines for undertaking
activities relative to promoting book development, production and distribution as well as an
incentive scheme for individual authors and writers;
c) formulate policies, guidelines and mechanisms to ensure that editors, compilers and especially
authors are paid justly and promptly royalties due them for reproduction of their works in any form
and number and for whatever purpose;
d) conduct or contract research on the book publishing industry including monitoring, compiling
and providing data and information of book production;
e) provide a forum for interaction among private publishers, and, for the purpose, establish and
maintain liaison will all the segments of the book publishing industry;
f) ask the appropriate government authority to ensure effective implementation of the National
Book Development Plan;
g) promulgate rules and regulations for the implementation of this Act in consultation with other
agencies concerned, except for Section 9 hereof on incentives for book development, which shall
be the concern of appropriate agencies involved;
h) approve, with the concurrence of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the
annual and supplemental budgets submitted to it by the Executive director;
i) own, lease, mortgage, encumber or otherwise real and personal property for the attainment of its
purposes and objectives;
j) enter into any obligation or contract essential to the proper administration of its affairs, the
conduct of its operations or the accomplishment of its purposes and objectives;
k) receive donations, grants, legacies, devices and similar acquisitions which shall form a trust
fund of the Board to accomplish its development plans on book publishing;
l) import books or raw materials used in book publishing which are exempt from all taxes, customs
duties and other charges in behalf of persons and enterprises engaged in book publishing and its
related activities duly registered with the board;
m) promulgate rules and regulations governing the matter in which the general affairs of the Board
are to be exercised and amend, repeal, and modify such rules and regulations whenever necessary;
n) recommend to the President of the Philippines nominees for the positions of the Executive
Officer and Deputy Executive Officer of the Board;
o) adopt rules and procedures and fix the time and place for holding meetings: Provided, That at
least one (1) regular meeting shall be held monthly;
p) conduct studies, seminars, workshops, lectures, conferences, exhibits, and other related
activities on book development such as indigenous authorship, intellectual property rights, use of
alternative materials for printing, distribution and others; and
q) exercise such other powers and perform such other duties as may be required by the law.[31]

A perusal of the above powers and functions leads us to conclude that they partake of the nature
of public functions. A public office is the right, authority and duty, created and conferred by law,
by which, for a given period, either fixed by law or enduring at the pleasure of the creating
power, an individual is invested with some portion of the sovereign functions of the
government, to be exercised by him for the benefit of the public. The individual so invested
is a public officer.[32]

Notwithstanding that petitioner came from the private sector to sit as a member of the NBDB, the
law invested her with some portion of the sovereign functions of the government, so that the
purpose of the government is achieved. In this case, the government aimed to enhance the book
publishing industry as it has a significant role in the national development. Hence, the fact that
she was appointed from the public sector and not from the other branches or agencies of the
government does not take her position outside the meaning of a public office. She was appointed
to the Governing Board in order to see to it that the purposes for which the law was enacted are
achieved. The Governing Board acts collectively and carries out its mandate as one body. The
purpose of the law for appointing members from the private sector is to ensure that they are also
properly represented in the implementation of government objectives to cultivate the book
publishing industry.
Moreover, the Court is not unmindful of the definition of a public officer pursuant to the Anti-
Graft Law, which provides that a public officer includes elective and appointive officials and
employees, permanent or temporary, whether in the classified or unclassified or exempt service
receiving compensation, even nominal, from the government.[33]
Thus, pursuant to the Anti-Graft Law, one is a public officer if one has been elected or appointed
to a public office. Petitioner was appointed by the President to the Governing Board of the
NDBD. Though her term is only for a year that does not make her private person exercising a
public function. The fact that she is not receiving a monthly salary is also of no moment. Section
7, R.A. No. 8047 provides that members of the Governing Board shall receive per diem and such
allowances as may be authorized for every meeting actually attended and subject to pertinent laws,
rules and regulations. Also, under the Anti-Graft Law, the nature of one's appointment, and
whether the compensation one receives from the government is only nominal, is immaterial
because the person so elected or appointed is still considered a public officer.
On the other hand, the Revised Penal Code defines a public officer as any person who, by direct
provision of the law, popular election, popular election or appointment by competent authority,
shall take part in the performance of public functions in the Government of the Philippine Islands,
or shall perform in said Government or in any of its branches public duties as an employee, agent,
or subordinate official, of any rank or classes, shall be deemed to be a public officer.[34]
Where, as in this case, petitioner performs public functions in pursuance of the objectives of R.A.
No. 8047, verily, she is a public officer who takes part in the performance of public functions in
the government whether as an employee, agent, subordinate official, of any rank or classes. In
fact, during her tenure, petitioner took part in the drafting and promulgation of several rules and
regulations implementing R.A. No. 8047. She was supposed to represent the country in the
canceled book fair in Spain.

In fine, We hold that petitioner is a public officer. The next question for the Court to resolve is
whether, as a public officer, petitioner is within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
Presently,[35] the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the following:

Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. - The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in


all cases involving:

A. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, other known as the


Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II,
Section 2, Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the
accused are officials occupying the following positions in the government, whether
in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of the commission of the
offense:

(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher,
otherwise classified as Grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position
Classification Act of 989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including:
xxxx

(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade Grade '27' and up under the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989;

(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;

(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commission, without prejudice to the provisions of
the Constitution; and

(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade Grade '27' and higher under the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.

xxxx

Notably, the Director of Organization, Position Classification and Compensation Bureau, of the
Department of Budget and management provided the following information regarding the
compensation and position classification and/or rank equivalence of the member of the Governing
Board of the NBDB, thus:

Per FY 1999 Personal Services Itemization, the Governing Board of NDBD is composed of one
(1) Chairman (ex-officio), one (1) Vice-Chairman (ex-officio), and nine (9) Members, four (4) of
whom are ex-officio and the remaining five (5) members represent the private sector. The said five
members of the Board do not receive any salary and as such their position are not classified and
are not assigned any salary grade.

For purposes however of determining the rank equivalence of said positions, notwithstanding that
they do not have any salary grade assignment, the same may be equated to Board Member II, SG-
28.[36]
Thus, based on the Amended Information in Criminal Case No. 25898, petitioner belongs to the
employees classified as SG-28, included in the phrase all other national and local officials
classified as Grade 27' and higher under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of
1989.

Anent the issue of double jeopardy, We can not likewise give in to the contentions advanced by
petitioner. She argued that her right against double jeopardy was violated when the
Sandiganbayan denied her motion to quash the two informations filed against her.

We believe otherwise. Records show that the Informations in Criminal Case Nos. 25867 and
25898 refer to offenses penalized by different statues, R.A. No. 3019 and RPC, respectively. It is
elementary that for double jeopardy to attach, the case against the accused must have been
dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent by a court of competent
jurisdiction, upon valid information sufficient in form and substance and the accused pleaded to
the charge.[37] In the instant case, petitioner pleaded not guilty to the Information for violation of
the Anti-Graft Law. She was not yet arraigned in the criminal case for malversation of public
funds because she had filed a motion to quash the latter information. Double jeopardy could not,
therefore, attach considering that the two cases remain pending before the Sandiganbayan and
that herein petitioner had pleaded to only one in the criminal cases against her.

It is well settled that for a claim of double jeopardy to prosper, the following requisites must
concur: (1) there is a complaint or information or other formal charge sufficient in form and
substance to sustain a conviction; (2) the same is filed before a court of competent jurisdiction;
(3) there is a valid arraignment or plea to the charges; and (4) the accused is convicted or acquitted
or the case is otherwise dismissed or terminated without his express consent. [38] The third and
fourth requisites are not present in the case at bar.

In view of the foregoing, We hold that the present petition does not fall under the exceptions
wherein the remedy of certiorari may be resorted to after the denial of one's motion to quash the
information. And even assuming that petitioner may avail of such remedy, We still hold that
the Sandiganbayan did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of or in excess of
jurisdiction.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is DISMISSED. The questioned Resolutions and Order of the
Sandiganbayan are AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 175457. July 6, 2011.

RUPERTO A. AMBIL, JR., petitioner, vs.SANDIGANBAYAN and PEOPLE OF THE


PHILIPPINES, respondent.

G.R. No. 175482. July 6, 2011.

ALEXANDRINO R. APELADO, SR., petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


respondent.

Criminal Law; Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. No. 3019); Violations of Sec. 3(e) of R.A. No.
3019; Elements.—Petitioners were charged with violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 or the Anti-
Graft and Corrupt Practices Act which provides: Section. 3. Corrupt practices of public officers.—In
addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall
constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful: x x x x (e)
Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any
unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official, administrative or judicial
functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision
shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of
licenses or permits or other concessions. In order to hold a person liable under this provision, the
following elements must concur: (1) the accused must be a public officer discharging administrative,
judicial or official functions; (2) he must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross
inexcusable negligence; and (3) his action caused any undue injury to any party, including the
government, or gave any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of
his functions.

Same; Same; Sandiganbayan; Jurisdiction; Conspiracy; It is only when none of the accused are occupying
positions corresponding to salary grade ‘27’ or higher that exclusive jurisdiction be vested in the lower
courts and not in the Sandiganbayan.—The jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over petitioner Ambil, Jr.
is beyond question. The same is true as regards petitioner Apelado, Sr. As to him, a Certification from the
Provincial Government Department Head of the HRMO shows that his position as Provincial Warden is
classified as Salary Grade 22. Nonetheless, it is only when none of the accused are occupying positions
corresponding to salary grade ‘27’ or higher shall exclusive jurisdiction be vested in the lower courts.
Here, petitioner Apelado, Sr. was charged as a co-principal with Governor Ambil, Jr., over whose position
the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction. Accordingly, he was correctly tried jointly with said public officer in
the proper court which had exclusive original jurisdiction over them—the Sandiganbayan.

Same; Same; Same; Words and Phrases; “Partiality,” “Bad Faith,” and “Gross Negligence,” Explained.—
In Sison v. People, 614 SCRA 670 (2010), we defined “partiality,” “bad faith” and “gross negligence” as
follows: “Partiality” is synonymous with “bias” which “excites a disposition to see and report matters as
they are wished for rather than as they are.” “Bad faith does not simply connote bad judgment or
negligence; it imputes a dishonest purpose or some moral obliquity and conscious doing of a wrong; a
breach of sworn duty through some motive or intent or ill will; it partakes of the nature of fraud.” “Gross
negligence has been so defined as negligence characterized by the want of even slight care, acting or
omitting to act in a situation where there is a duty to act, not inadvertently but wilfully and intentionally
with a conscious indifference to consequences in so far as other persons may be affected. It is the omission
of that care which even inattentive and thoughtless men never fail to take on their own property.” x x x

Provincial Jails; Power of Control; Power of Supervision; An officer in control lays down the rules in the
doing of an act, and if they are not followed, he may, in his discretion, order the act undone or re-done by
his subordinate or he may even decide to do it himself; Essentially, the power of supervision means no more
than the power of ensuring that laws are faithfully executed, or that subordinate officers act within the
law—the supervisor or superintendent merely sees to it that the rules are followed, but he does not lay
down the rules, nor does he have discretion to modify or replace them; It is the provincial government and
not the governor alone which has authority to exercise control and supervision over provincial jails.—The
power of control is the power of an officer to alter or modify or set aside what a subordinate officer had
done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter.
An officer in control lays down the rules in the doing of an act. If they are not followed, he may, in his
discretion, order the act undone or re-done by his subordinate or he may even decide to do it himself. On
the other hand, the power of supervision means “overseeing or the authority of an officer to see to it that
the subordinate officers perform their duties.” If the subordinate officers fail or neglect to fulfill their
duties, the official may take such action or step as prescribed by law to make them perform their duties.
Essentially, the power of supervision means no more than the power of ensuring that laws are faithfully
executed, or that subordinate officers act within the law. The supervisor or superintendent merely sees to
it that the rules are followed, but he does not lay down the rules, nor does he have discretion to modify or
replace them. Significantly, it is the provincial government and not the governor alone which has
authority to exercise control and supervision over provincial jails. In any case, neither of said powers
authorizes the doing of acts beyond the parameters set by law. On the contrary, subordinates must be
enjoined to act within the bounds of law. In the event that the subordinate performs an act ultra vires,
rules may be laid down on how the act should be done, but always in conformity with the law.
Same; Same; Same; Administrative Code of 1917; Sec. 1731, Article III of the Administrative Code of 1917
survived the advent of the Administrative Code of 1987.—In a desperate attempt to stretch the scope of his
powers, petitioner Ambil, Jr. cites Section 1731, Article III of the Administrative Code of 1917 on
Provincial jails in support. Section 1731 provides: SEC. 1731. Provincial governor as keeper of jail.—The
governor of the province shall be charged with the keeping of the provincial jail, and it shall be his duty to
administer the same in accordance with law and the regulations prescribed for the government of
provincial prisons. The immediate custody and supervision of the jail may be committed to the care of a
jailer to be appointed by the provincial governor. The position of jailer shall be regarded as within the
unclassified civil service but may be filled in the manner in which classified positions are filled, and if so
filled, the appointee shall be entitled to all the benefits and privileges of classified employees, except that
he shall hold office only during the term of office of the appointing governor and until a successor in the
office of the jailer is appointed and qualified, unless sooner separated. The provincial governor shall,
under the direction of the provincial board and at the expense of the province, supply proper food and
clothing for the prisoners; though the provincial board may, in its discretion, let the contract for the
feeding of the prisoners to some other person. (Emphasis supplied.) This provision survived the advent of
the Administrative Code of 1987. But again, nowhere did said provision designate the provincial governor
as the “provincial jailer,” or even slightly suggest that he is empowered to take personal custody of
prisoners. What is clear from the cited provision is that the provincial governor’s duty as a jail keeper is
confined to the administration of the jail and the procurement of food and clothing for the prisoners. After
all, administrative acts pertain only to those acts which are necessary to be done to carry out legislative
policies and purposes already declared by the legislative body or such as are devolved upon it by the
Constitution. Therefore, in the exercise of his administrative powers, the governor can only enforce the
law but not supplant it.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Sec. 1737 of the Administrative Code of 1917, under which prisoners may be
turned over to the jail of the neighboring province in case the provincial jail be insecure or insufficient to
accommodate all provincial prisoners has been superseded by Sec. 3, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure.—The only reference to a transfer of prisoners in said article is found in Section 1737
under which prisoners may be turned over to the jail of the neighboring province in case the provincial
jail be insecure or insufficient to accommodate all provincial prisoners. However, this provision has been
superseded by Section 3, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended. Section 3,
Rule 114 provides: SEC. 3. No release or transfer except on court order or bail.—No person under
detention by legal process shall be released or transferred except upon order of the court or when he is
admitted to bail. Indubitably, the power to order the release or transfer of a person under detention by
legal process is vested in the court, not in the provincial government, much less the governor.

Criminal Law; Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. No. 3019); Violations of Sec. 3(e) of R.A. No.
3019; A prosecution for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft Law will lie regardless of whether or not
the accused public officer is “charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.”—As
regards his first contention, it appears that petitioner Ambil, Jr. has obviously lost sight, if he is not
altogether unaware, of our ruling in Mejorada v. Sandiganbayan, 151 SCRA 399 (1987), where we held
that a prosecution for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft Law will lie regardless of whether or not
the accused public officer is “charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.” Following
is an excerpt of what we said in Mejorada, Section 3 cited above enumerates in eleven subsections the
corrupt practices of any public officers (sic) declared unlawful. Its reference to “any public officer” is
without distinction or qualification and it specifies the acts declared unlawful. We agree with the view
adopted by the Solicitor General that the last sentence of paragraph [Section 3] (e) is intended to make
clear the inclusion of officers and employees of officers (sic) or government corporations which, under the
ordinary concept of “public officers” may not come within the term. It is a strained construction of the
provision to read it as applying exclusively to public officers charged with the duty of granting licenses or
permits or other concessions.

Same; Same; Statutory Construction; Words and Phrases; In drafting the Anti-Graft Law, the lawmakers
opted to use “private party” rather than “private person” to describe the recipient of the unwarranted
benefits, advantage or preference for a reason; The term “party” is a technical word having a precise
meaning in legal parlance as distinguished from “person” which, in general usage, refers to a human
being; Compared to a “private person,” a “private party” is more comprehensive in scope to mean either a
private person or a public officer acting in a private capacity to protect his personal interest.—In drafting
the Anti-Graft Law, the lawmakers opted to use “private party” rather than “private person” to describe
the recipient of the unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference for a reason. The term “party” is a
technical word having a precise meaning in legal parlance as distinguished from “person” which, in
general usage, refers to a human being. Thus, a private person simply pertains to one who is not a public
officer. While a private party is more comprehensive in scope to mean either a private person or a public
officer acting in a private capacity to protect his personal interest. In the present case, when petitioners
transferred Mayor Adalim from the provincial jail and detained him at petitioner Ambil, Jr.’s residence,
they accorded such privilege to Adalim, not in his official capacity as a mayor, but as a detainee charged
with murder. Thus, for purposes of applying the provisions of Section 3(e), R.A. No. 3019, Adalim was a
private party.

Same; Same; Same; Same; “Unwarranted,” “Advantage,” and “Preference,” Explained.—In order to be
found guilty under the second mode, it suffices that the accused has given unjustified favor or benefit to
another in the exercise of his official, administrative or judicial functions. The word “unwarranted” means
lacking adequate or official support; unjustified; unauthorized or without justification or adequate reason.
“Advantage” means a more favorable or improved position or condition; benefit, profit or gain of any kind;
benefit from some course of action. “Preference” signifies priority or higher evaluation or desirability;
choice or estimation above another.

Same; Same; Justifying Circumstances; Fulfillment of Duty or Lawful Exercise of Right or Office;
Requisites.—Specifically, petitioner Ambil, Jr. invokes the justifying circumstance of fulfillment of duty or
lawful exercise of right or office. Under paragraph 5, Article 11 of the RPC, any person who acts in the
fulfillment of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or office does not incur any criminal liability. In
order for this justifying circumstance to apply, two requisites must be satisfied: (1) the accused acted in
the performance of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or office; and (2) the injury caused or the
offense committed be the necessary consequence of the due performance of duty or the lawful exercise of
such right or office. Both requisites are lacking in petitioner Ambil, Jr.’s case. As we have earlier
determined, petitioner Ambil, Jr. exceeded his authority when he ordered the transfer and detention of
Adalim at his house. Needless to state, the resulting violation of the Anti-Graft Law did not proceed from
the due performance of his duty or lawful exercise of his office.

Same; Same; Same; Obedience to Order; Requisites.—In like manner, petitioner Apelado, Sr. invokes the
justifying circumstance of obedience to an order issued for some lawful purpose. Under paragraph 6,
Article 11 of the RPC, any person who acts in obedience to an order issued by a superior for some lawful
purpose does not incur any criminal liability. For this justifying circumstance to apply, the following
requisites must be present: (1) an order has been issued by a superior; (2) such order must be for some
lawful purpose; and (3) the means used by the subordinate to carry out said order is lawful.Only the first
requisite is present in this case.

Same; Same; Conspiracy; An accepted badge of conspiracy is when the accused by their acts aimed at the
same object, one performing one part of and another performing another so as to complete it with a view to
the attainment of the same object, and their acts although apparently independent were in fact concerted
and cooperative, indicating closeness of personal association, concerted action and concurrence of
sentiments.—While the order for Adalim’s transfer emanated from petitioner Ambil, Jr., who was then
Governor, neither said order nor the means employed by petitioner Apelado, Sr. to carry it out was lawful.
In his capacity as the Provincial Jail Warden of Eastern Samar, petitioner Apelado, Sr. fetched Mayor
Adalim at the provincial jail and, unarmed with a court order, transported him to the house of petitioner
Ambil, Jr. This makes him liable as a principal by direct participation under Article 17(1) of the RPC. An
accepted badge of conspiracy is when the accused by their acts aimed at the same object, one performing
one part of and another performing another so as to complete it with a view to the attainment of the same
object, and their acts although apparently independent were in fact concerted and cooperative, indicating
closeness of personal association, concerted action and concurrence of sentiments.

Same; Gross Ignorance of the Law; Petitioner Apelado, Sr., a law graduate, cannot hide behind the cloak of
ignorance of the law.—Conspiracy was sufficiently demonstrated by petitioner Apelado, Sr.’s willful
cooperation in executing petitioner Ambil, Jr.’s order to move Adalim from jail, despite the absence of a
court order. Petitioner Apelado, Sr., a law graduate, cannot hide behind the cloak of ignorance of the law.
The Rule requiring a court order to transfer a person under detention by legal process is elementary.
Truth be told, even petitioner governor who is unschooled in the intricacies of the law expressed
reservations on his power to transfer Adalim. All said, the concerted acts of petitioners Ambil, Jr. and
Apelado, Sr. resulting in the violation charged, makes them equally responsible as conspirators.

FIRST DIVISION
RUPERTO A. AMBIL, JR., G.R. No. 175457
Petitioner,

- versus -

SANDIGANBAYAN and PEOPLE OF


THE PHILIPPINES,
Respondent.
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x

ALEXANDRINO R. APELADO, SR., G.R. No. 175482


Petitioner, Present:

CORONA, C.J.,
Chairperson,
- versus - CARPIO,

BERSAMIN,
DEL CASTILLO, and
VILLARAMA, JR., JJ.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Promulgated:
Respondent.
July 6, 2011

x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x

DECISION
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:

Before us are two consolidated petitions for review on certiorari filed by petitioner Ruperto A.
Ambil, Jr.[1] and petitioner Alexandrino R. Apelado Sr.[2] assailing the Decision[3] promulgated
on September 16, 2005 and Resolution[4] dated November 8, 2006 of the Sandiganbayan in
Criminal Case No. 25892.

The present controversy arose from a letter[5] of Atty. David B. Loste, President of the Eastern
Samar Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), to the Office of the Ombudsman,
praying for an investigation into the alleged transfer of then Mayor Francisco Adalim, an accused
in Criminal Case No. 10963 for murder, from the provincial jail of Eastern Samar to the residence
of petitioner, then Governor Ruperto A. Ambil, Jr. In a Report[6] dated January 4, 1999, the
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) recommended the filing of criminal charges against
petitioner Ambil, Jr. for violation of Section 3(e)[7] of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019, otherwise
known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as amended.On September 22, 1999, the new
President of the IBP, Eastern Samar Chapter, informed the Ombudsman that the IBP is no longer
interested in pursuing the case against petitioners. Thus, he recommended the dismissal of the
complaint against petitioners.[8]

Nonetheless, in an Information[9] dated January 31, 2000, petitioners Ambil, Jr. and Alexandrino
R. Apelado, Sr. were charged with violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, together with SPO3
Felipe A. Balano. Upon reinvestigation, the Office of the Ombudsman issued a
Memorandum[10] dated August 4, 2000, recommending the dismissal of the complaint as regards
Balano and the amendment of the Information to include the charge of Delivering Prisoners from
Jail under Article 156[11] of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, (RPC) against the remaining
accused. The Amended Information[12] reads:
That on or about the 6th day of September 1998, and for sometime prior [or] subsequent
thereto, [in] the Municipality of Borongan, Province of Eastern Samar, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, [the] above-named accused, Ruperto A. Ambil, Jr.[,] being
then the Provincial Governor of Eastern Samar, and Alexandrino R. Apelado, being then the
Provincial Warden of Eastern Samar, both having been public officers, duly elected, appointed
and qualified as such, committing the offense in relation to office, conniving and confederating
together and mutually helping x x x each other, with deliberate intent, manifest partiality and
evident bad faith, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and criminally order and cause the release
from the Provincial Jail of detention prisoner Mayor Francisco Adalim, accused in Criminal Case
No. 10963, for Murder, by virtue of a warrant of Arrest issued by Honorable Arnulfo P. Bugtas,
Presiding Judge, RTC-Branch 2, Borongan, Eastern Samar, and thereafter placed said detention
prisoner (Mayor Francisco Adalim) under accused RUPERTO A. AMBIL, JR.s custody, by
allowing said Mayor Adalim to stay at accused Ambils residence for a period of Eighty-Five (85)
days, more or less which act was done without any court order, thus accused in the performance
of official functions had given unwarranted benefits and advantage to detainee Mayor Francisco
Adalim to the prejudice of the government.

CONTRARY TO LAW.
BAIL BOND RECOMMENDED: P30,000.00 each.[13]

On arraignment, petitioners pleaded not guilty and posted bail.

At the pre-trial, petitioners admitted the allegations in the Information. They reason, however,
that Adalims transfer was justified considering the imminent threats upon his person and the
dangers posed by his detention at the provincial jail. According to petitioners, Adalims sister,
Atty. Juliana A. Adalim-White, had sent numerous prisoners to the same jail where Mayor
Adalim was to be held.

Consequently, the prosecution no longer offered testimonial evidence and rested its case after the
admission of its documentary exhibits. Petitioners filed a Motion for Leave to File Demurrer to
Evidence with Reservation to Present Evidence in Case of Denial[14] but the same was denied.

At the trial, petitioners presented three witnesses: petitioner Ambil, Jr., Atty. Juliana A. Adalim-
White and Mayor Francisco C. Adalim.

Petitioner Ambil, Jr. testified that he was the Governor of Eastern Samar from 1998 to
2001. According to him, it was upon the advice of Adalims lawyers that he directed the transfer
of Adalims detention to his home. He cites poor security in the provincial jail as the primary
reason for taking personal custody of Adalim considering that the latter would be in the company
of inmates who were put away by his sister and guards identified with his political opponents.[15]

For her part, Atty. White stated that she is the District Public Attorney of Eastern Samar and the
sister of Mayor Adalim. She recounted how Mayor Adalim was arrested while they were
attending a wedding in Sulat, Eastern Samar, on September 6, 1998. According to Atty. White,
she sought the alternative custody of Gov. Ambil, Jr. after Provincial Warden and herein
petitioner Apelado, Sr. failed to guarantee the mayors safety.[16]

Meanwhile, Francisco Adalim introduced himself as the Mayor of Taft, Eastern Samar. He
confirmed his arrest on September 6, 1998 in connection with a murder case filed against him in
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Borongan, Eastern Samar. Adalim confirmed Atty. Whites
account that he spotted inmates who served as bodyguards for, or who are associated with, his
political rivals at the provincial jail. He also noticed a prisoner, Roman Akyatan, gesture to him
with a raised clenched fist. Sensing danger, he called on his sister for help. Adalim admitted
staying at Ambil, Jr.s residence for almost three months before he posted bail after the charge
against him was downgraded to homicide.[17]
Petitioner Apelado, Sr. testified that he was the Provincial Jail Warden of Eastern Samar. He
recalls that on September 6, 1998, SPO3 Felipe Balano fetched him at home to assist in the arrest
of Mayor Adalim. Allegedly, Atty. White was contesting the legality of Mayor Adalims arrest
and arguing with the jail guards against booking him for detention. At the provincial jail,
petitioner was confronted by Atty. White who informed him that he was under the governor, in
the latters capacity as a provincial jailer. Petitioner claims that it is for this reason that he
submitted to the governors order to relinquish custody of Adalim.[18]

Further, petitioner Apelado, Sr. described the physical condition of the jail to be dilapidated and
undermanned. According to him, only two guards were incharge of looking after 50
inmates. There were two cells in the jail, each housing 25 inmates, while an isolation cell of 10
square meters was unserviceable at the time. Also, there were several nipa huts within the
perimeter for use during conjugal visits.[19]

On September 16, 2005, the Sandiganbayan, First Division, promulgated the assailed
Decision[20] finding petitioners guilty of violating Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019. The court ruled
that in moving Adalim to a private residence, petitioners have conspired to accord him
unwarranted benefits in the form of more comfortable quarters with access to television and other
privileges that other detainees do not enjoy. It stressed that under the Rules, no person under
detention by legal process shall be released or transferred except upon order of the court or when
he is admitted to bail.[21]

The Sandiganbayan brushed aside petitioners defense that Adalims transfer was made to ensure
his safety. It observed that petitioner Ambil, Jr. did not personally verify any actual threat on
Adalims life but relied simply on the advice of Adalims lawyers. The Sandiganbayan also pointed
out the availability of an isolation cell and nipa huts within the 10-meter-high perimeter fence of
the jail which could have been used to separate Adalim from other prisoners. Finally, it cited
petitioner Ambil, Jr.s failure to turn over Adalim despite advice from Assistant Secretary Jesus
Ingeniero of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Consequently, the Sandiganbayan sentenced petitioner Ambil, Jr. to an indeterminate penalty of


imprisonment for nine (9) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day to twelve (12) years and four
(4) months. In favor of petitioner Apelado, Sr., the court appreciated the incomplete justifying
circumstance of obedience to a superior order and sentenced him to imprisonment for six (6)
years and one (1) month to nine (9) years and eight (8) months.

Hence, the present petitions.

Petitioner Ambil, Jr. advances the following issues for our consideration:
I

WHETHER OR NOT SECTION 3(e) REPUBLIC ACT NO. 3019, AS AMENDED, APPLIES
TO PETITIONERS CASE BEFORE THE SANDIGANBAYAN.

II

WHETHER OR NOT A PUBLIC OFFICER SUCH AS PETITIONER IS A PRIVATE PARTY


FOR PURPOSES OF SECTION 3(e), REPUBLIC ACT NO. 3019, AS AMENDED.

III

WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER ACTED WITH DELIBERATE INTENT, MANIFEST


PARTIALITY, EVIDENT BAD FAITH OR GROSS INEXCUSABLE NEGLIGENCE IN THE
CONTEXT OF SAID SECTION 3(e).

IV

WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER AS PROVINCIAL GOVERNOR AND JAILER UNDER


SECTIONS 1730 AND 1733, ARTICLE III, CHAPTER 45 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE CODE
OF 1917 AND SECTION 61, CHAPTER V, REPUBLIC ACT 6975 HAS THE AUTHORITY
TO TAKE CUSTODY OF A DETENTION PRISONER.

WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER IS ENTITLED TO THE JUSTIFYING CIRCUMSTANCE


OF FULFILLMENT OF A DUTY OR THE LAWFUL EXERCISE OF A RIGHT OR OFFICE.

VI

WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER SHOULD HAVE BEEN ACQUITTED BECAUSE THE


PROSECUTION EVIDENCE DID NOT ESTABLISH HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT.[22]

For his part, petitioner Apelado, Sr. imputes the following errors on the Sandiganbayan:
I
THERE WAS MISAPPREHENSION OF FACTS AND/OR MISAPPLICATION OF THE LAW
AND JURISPRUDENCE IN CONVICTING ACCUSED APELADO, EITHER AS PRINCIPAL
OR IN CONSPIRACY WITH HIS CO-ACCUSED AMBIL.
II
IN THE ABSENCE OF COMPETENT PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF
CONSPIRACY BETWEEN ACCUSED AMBIL AND HEREIN PETITIONER, THE LATTER
SHOULD BE ACCORDED FULL CREDIT FOR THE JUSTIFYING CIRCUMSTANCE
UNDER PARAGRAPH 6, ARTICLE 11 OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE.
III
THE COURT A QUOS BASIS IN CONVICTING BOTH ACCUSED AMBIL AND HEREIN
PETITIONER OF HAVING GIVEN MAYOR ADALIM UNWARRANTED BENEFITS AND
ADVANTAGE TO THE PREJUDICE x x x OF THE GOVERNMENT IS, AT THE MOST,
SPECULATIVE.[23]

The issues raised by petitioner Ambil, Jr. can be summed up into three: (1) Whether he is guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 3(e), R.A. No. 3019; (2) Whether a provincial
governor has authority to take personal custody of a detention prisoner; and (3) Whether he is
entitled to the justifying circumstance of fulfillment of duty under Article 11(5) [24] of the RPC.

Meanwhile, petitioner Apelado, Sr.s assignment of errors can be condensed into two: (1) Whether
he is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 3(e), R.A. No. 3019; and (2) Whether
he is entitled to the justifying circumstance of obedience to an order issued by a superior for some
lawful purpose under Article 11(6)[25] of the RPC.

Fundamentally, petitioner Ambil, Jr. argues that Section 3(e), R.A. No. 3019 does not apply to
his case because the provision contemplates only transactions of a pecuniary nature. Since the
law punishes a public officer who extends unwarranted benefits to a private person, petitioner
avers that he cannot be held liable for extending a favor to Mayor Adalim, a public officer. Further,
he claims good faith in taking custody of the mayor pursuant to his duty as a Provincial Jailer
under the Administrative Code of 1917. Considering this, petitioner believes himself entitled to
the justifying circumstance of fulfillment of duty or lawful exercise of duty.

Petitioner Apelado, Sr., on the other hand, denies allegations of conspiracy between him and
petitioner Ambil, Jr. Petitioner Apelado, Sr. defends that he was merely following the orders of a
superior when he transferred the detention of Adalim. As well, he invokes immunity from
criminal liability.

For the State, the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) points out the absence of jurisprudence
that restricts the application of Section 3(e), R.A. No. 3019 to transactions of a pecuniary
nature. The OSP explains that it is enough to show that in performing their functions, petitioners
have accorded undue preference to Adalim for liability to attach under the provision. Further, the
OSP maintains that Adalim is deemed a private party for purposes of applying Section 3(e), R.A.
No. 3019 because the unwarranted benefit redounded, not to his person as a mayor, but to his
person as a detention prisoner accused of murder. It suggests further that petitioners were
motivated by bad faith as evidenced by their refusal to turn over Adalim despite instruction from
Asst. Sec. Ingeniero. The OSP also reiterates petitioners lack of authority to take custody of a
detention prisoner without a court order. Hence, it concludes that petitioners are not entitled to
the benefit of any justifying circumstance.

After a careful review of this case, the Court finds the present petitions bereft of merit.
Petitioners were charged with violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and
Corrupt Practices Act which provides:
Section. 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. - In addition to acts or omissions of public
officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any
public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful:

xxxx

(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private
party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official,
administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross
inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or
government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.

In order to hold a person liable under this provision, the following elements must concur: (1) the
accused must be a public officer discharging administrative, judicial or official functions; (2) he
must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence; and
(3) his action caused any undue injury to any party, including the government, or gave any private
party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his functions. [26]

As to the first element, there is no question that petitioners are public officers discharging official
functions and that jurisdiction over them lay with the Sandiganbayan. Jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan over public officers charged with violation of the Anti-Graft Law is provided
under Section 4 of Presidential Decree No. 1606,[27] as amended by R.A. No. 8249.[28] The
pertinent portions of Section 4, P.D. No. 1606, as amended, read as follows:
SEC. 4. Jurisdiction.The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in
all cases involving:

a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft
and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of
the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the accused are officials occupying the following
positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of the
commission of the offense:

(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director
and higher, otherwise classified as Grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position
Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including:

(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang


panlalawigan and provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers and other provincial
department heads[;]

xxxx

In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to Salary Grade 27 or
higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or military and PNP officers mentioned
above, exclusive original jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper regional trial court,
metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court, and municipal circuit trial court, as the case may be,
pursuant to their respective jurisdiction as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended.

xxxx

Thus, the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over petitioner Ambil, Jr. is beyond question. The
same is true as regards petitioner Apelado, Sr. As to him, a Certification[29] from the Provincial
Government Department Head of the HRMO shows that his position as Provincial Warden is
classified as Salary Grade 22.Nonetheless, it is only when none of the accused are occupying
positions corresponding to salary grade 27 or higher shall exclusive jurisdiction be vested in the
lower courts. Here, petitioner Apelado, Sr. was charged as a co-principal with Governor Ambil,
Jr., over whose position the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction.Accordingly, he was correctly tried
jointly with said public officer in the proper court which had exclusive original jurisdiction over
them the Sandiganbayan.

The second element, for its part, describes the three ways by which a violation of Section 3(e) of
R.A. No. 3019 may be committed, that is, through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross
inexcusable negligence.

In Sison v. People,[30] we defined partiality, bad faith and gross negligence as follows:
Partiality is synonymous with bias which excites a disposition to see and report matters as
they are wished for rather than as they are. Bad faith does not simply connote bad judgment or
negligence; it imputes a dishonest purpose or some moral obliquity and conscious doing of a
wrong; a breach of sworn duty through some motive or intent or ill will; it partakes of the nature
of fraud. Gross negligence has been so defined as negligence characterized by the want of even
slight care, acting or omitting to act in a situation where there is a duty to act, not inadvertently but
wilfully and intentionally with a conscious indifference to consequences in so far as other persons
may be affected. It is the omission of that care which even inattentive and thoughtless men never
fail to take on their own property. x x x[31]

In this case, we find that petitioners displayed manifest partiality and evident bad faith in
transferring the detention of Mayor Adalim to petitioner Ambil, Jr.s house.There is no merit to
petitioner Ambil, Jr.s contention that he is authorized to transfer the detention of prisoners by
virtue of his power as the Provincial Jailer of Eastern Samar.

Section 28 of the Local Government Code draws the extent of the power of local chief executives
over the units of the Philippine National Police within their jurisdiction:
SEC. 28. Powers of Local Chief Executives over the Units of the Philippine National
Police.The extent of operational supervision and control of local chief executives over the police
force, fire protection unit, and jail management personnel assigned in their respective jurisdictions
shall be governed by the provisions of Republic Act Numbered Sixty-nine hundred seventy-five
(R.A. No. 6975), otherwise known as The Department of the Interior and Local Government Act
of 1990, and the rules and regulations issued pursuant thereto.

In particular, Section 61, Chapter 5 of R.A. No. 6975 [32] on the Bureau of Jail Management and
Penology provides:
Sec. 61. Powers and Functions. - The Jail Bureau shall exercise supervision and control over all
city and municipal jails. The provincial jails shall be supervised and controlled by the
provincial government within its jurisdiction, whose expenses shall be subsidized by the National
Government for not more than three (3) years after the effectivity of this Act.

The power of control is the power of an officer to alter or modify or set aside what a subordinate
officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for
that of the latter.[33] An officer in control lays down the rules in the doing of an act. If they are not
followed, he may, in his discretion, order the act undone or re-done by his subordinate or he may
even decide to do it himself.[34]

On the other hand, the power of supervision means overseeing or the authority of an officer to
see to it that the subordinate officers perform their duties. [35] If the subordinate officers fail or
neglect to fulfill their duties, the official may take such action or step as prescribed by law to
make them perform their duties. Essentially, the power of supervision means no more than the
power of ensuring that laws are faithfully executed, or that subordinate officers act within the
law.[36] The supervisor or superintendent merely sees to it that the rules are followed, but he does
not lay down the rules, nor does he have discretion to modify or replace them.[37]

Significantly, it is the provincial government and not the governor alone which has authority to
exercise control and supervision over provincial jails. In any case, neither of said powers
authorizes the doing of acts beyond the parameters set by law. On the contrary, subordinates must
be enjoined to act within the bounds of law. In the event that the subordinate performs an act ultra
vires, rules may be laid down on how the act should be done, but always in conformity with the
law.

In a desperate attempt to stretch the scope of his powers, petitioner Ambil, Jr. cites Section 1731,
Article III of the Administrative Code of 1917 on Provincial jails in support. Section 1731
provides:
SEC. 1731. Provincial governor as keeper of jail.The governor of the province shall be
charged with the keeping of the provincial jail, and it shall be his duty to administer the same
in accordance with law and the regulations prescribed for the government of provincial
prisons. The immediate custody and supervision of the jail may be committed to the care of a
jailer to be appointed by the provincial governor. The position of jailer shall be regarded as within
the unclassified civil service but may be filled in the manner in which classified positions are filled,
and if so filled, the appointee shall be entitled to all the benefits and privileges of classified
employees, except that he shall hold office only during the term of office of the appointing
governor and until a successor in the office of the jailer is appointed and qualified, unless sooner
separated. The provincial governor shall, under the direction of the provincial board and at
the expense of the province, supply proper food and clothing for the prisoners; though the
provincial board may, in its discretion, let the contract for the feeding of the prisoners to some
other person. (Emphasis supplied.)

This provision survived the advent of the Administrative Code of 1987. But again, nowhere did
said provision designate the provincial governor as the provincial jailer, or even slightly suggest
that he is empowered to take personal custody of prisoners. What is clear from the cited provision
is that the provincial governors duty as a jail keeper is confined to the administration of the jail
and the procurement of food and clothing for the prisoners. After all, administrative acts pertain
only to those acts which are necessary to be done to carry out legislative policies and purposes
already declared by the legislative body or such as are devolved upon it [38] by the
Constitution. Therefore, in the exercise of his administrative powers, the governor can only
enforce the law but not supplant it.

Besides, the only reference to a transfer of prisoners in said article is found in Section
1737[39] under which prisoners may be turned over to the jail of the neighboring province in case
the provincial jail be insecure or insufficient to accommodate all provincial prisoners. However,
this provision has been superseded by Section 3, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure, as amended. Section 3, Rule 114 provides:
SEC. 3. No release or transfer except on court order or bail.-No person under detention by
legal process shall be released or transferred except upon order of the court or when he is admitted
to bail.

Indubitably, the power to order the release or transfer of a person under detention by legal process
is vested in the court, not in the provincial government, much less the governor. This was amply
clarified by Asst. Sec. Ingeniero in his communication [40] dated October 6, 1998 addressed to
petitioner Ambil, Jr. Asst. Sec. Ingeniero wrote:
06 October 1996

GOVERNOR RUPERTO AMBIL


Provincial Capitol
Borongan, Eastern Samar

Dear Sir:

This has reference to the letter of Atty. Edwin B. Docena, and the reports earlier received by this
Department, relative to your alleged action in taking into custody Mayor Francisco Aising
Adalim of Taft, that province, who has been previously arrested by virtue by a warrant of arrest
issued in Criminal Case No. 10963.
If the report is true, it appears that your actuation is not in accord with the provision of Section 3,
Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, which mandates that an arrested person be delivered to the nearest
police station or jail.

Moreover, invoking Section 61 of RA 6975 as legal basis in taking custody of the accused
municipal mayor is misplaced. Said section merely speaks of the power of supervision vested unto
the provincial governor over provincial jails. It does not, definitely, include the power to take in
custody any person in detention.

In view of the foregoing, you are hereby enjoined to conduct yourself within the bounds of law
and to immediately deliver Mayor Adalim to the provincial jail in order to avoid legal
complications.

Please be guided accordingly.

Very truly yours,

(SGD.)
JESUS I. INGENIERO
Assistant Secretary

Still, petitioner Ambil, Jr. insisted on his supposed authority as a provincial jailer. Said
petitioners usurpation of the court's authority, not to mention his open and willful defiance to
official advice in order to accommodate a former political party mate,[41] betray his unmistakable
bias and the evident bad faith that attended his actions.

Likewise amply established beyond reasonable doubt is the third element of the crime. As
mentioned above, in order to hold a person liable for violation of Section 3(e), R.A. No. 3019, it
is required that the act constituting the offense consist of either (1) causing undue injury to any
party, including the government, or (2) giving any private party any unwarranted benefits,
advantage or preference in the discharge by the accused of his official, administrative or judicial
functions.

In the case at hand, the Information specifically accused petitioners of giving unwarranted
benefits and advantage to Mayor Adalim, a public officer charged with murder, by causing his
release from prison and detaining him instead at the house of petitioner Ambil, Jr. Petitioner
Ambil, Jr. negates the applicability of Section 3(e), R.A. No. 3019 in this case on two points. First,
Section 3(e) is not applicable to him allegedly because the last sentence thereof provides that the
provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged
with the grant of licenses, permits or other concessions and he is not such government officer or
employee. Second, the purported unwarranted benefit was accorded not to a private party but to
a public officer.
However, as regards his first contention, it appears that petitioner Ambil, Jr. has obviously lost
sight, if he is not altogether unaware, of our ruling in Mejorada v. Sandiganbayan[42] where we
held that a prosecution for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft Law will lie regardless of
whether or not the accused public officer is charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other
concessions.Following is an excerpt of what we said in Mejorada,
Section 3 cited above enumerates in eleven subsections the corrupt practices of any public officers
(sic) declared unlawful. Its reference to any public officer is without distinction or qualification
and it specifies the acts declared unlawful. We agree with the view adopted by the Solicitor
General that the last sentence of paragraph [Section 3] (e) is intended to make clear the inclusion
of officers and employees of officers (sic) or government corporations which, under the ordinary
concept of public officers may not come within the term. It is a strained construction of the
provision to read it as applying exclusively to public officers charged with the duty of granting
licenses or permits or other concessions.[43] (Italics supplied.)

In the more recent case of Cruz v. Sandiganbayan,[44] we affirmed that a prosecution for
violation of said provision will lie regardless of whether the accused public officer is charged
with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.[45]

Meanwhile, regarding petitioner Ambil, Jr.s second contention, Section 2(b) of R.A. No. 3019
defines a public officer to include elective and appointive officials and employees, permanent or
temporary, whether in the classified or unclassified or exemption service receiving compensation,
even nominal from the government.Evidently, Mayor Adalim is one. But considering that Section
3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 punishes the giving by a public officer of unwarranted benefits to a private
party, does the fact that Mayor Adalim was the recipient of such benefits take petitioners case
beyond the ambit of said law?

We believe not.

In drafting the Anti-Graft Law, the lawmakers opted to use private party rather than private person
to describe the recipient of the unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference for a reason. The
term party is a technical word having a precise meaning in legal parlance [46] as distinguished from
person which, in general usage, refers to a human being.[47] Thus, a private person simply pertains
to one who is not a public officer. While a private party is more comprehensive in scope to mean
either a private person or a public officer acting in a private capacity to protect his personal
interest.

In the present case, when petitioners transferred Mayor Adalim from the provincial jail and
detained him at petitioner Ambil, Jr.s residence, they accorded such privilege to Adalim, not in
his official capacity as a mayor, but as a detainee charged with murder. Thus, for purposes of
applying the provisions of Section 3(e), R.A. No. 3019, Adalim was a private party.
Moreover, in order to be found guilty under the second mode, it suffices that the accused has
given unjustified favor or benefit to another in the exercise of his official, administrative or
judicial functions.[48] The word unwarranted means lacking adequate or official support;
unjustified; unauthorized or without justification or adequate reason. Advantage means a more
favorable or improved position or condition; benefit, profit or gain of any kind; benefit from some
course of action. Preference signifies priority or higher evaluation or desirability; choice or
estimation above another.[49]

Without a court order, petitioners transferred Adalim and detained him in a place other than the
provincial jail. The latter was housed in much more comfortable quarters, provided better
nourishment, was free to move about the house and watch television. Petitioners readily extended
these benefits to Adalim on the mere representation of his lawyers that the mayors life would be
put in danger inside the provincial jail.

As the Sandiganbayan ruled, however, petitioners were unable to establish the existence of any
risk on Adalims safety. To be sure, the latter would not be alone in having unfriendly company
in lockup. Yet, even if we treat Akyatans gesture of raising a closed fist at Adalim as a threat of
aggression, the same would still not constitute a special and compelling reason to warrant
Adalims detention outside the provincial jail. For one, there were nipa huts within the perimeter
fence of the jail which could have been used to separate Adalim from the rest of the prisoners
while the isolation cell was undergoing repair. Anyhow, such repair could not have exceeded the
85 days that Adalim stayed in petitioner Ambil, Jr.s house. More importantly, even if Adalim
could have proven the presence of an imminent peril on his person to petitioners, a court order
was still indispensable for his transfer.

The foregoing, indeed, negates the application of the justifying circumstances claimed by
petitioners.

Specifically, petitioner Ambil, Jr. invokes the justifying circumstance of fulfillment of duty or
lawful exercise of right or office. Under paragraph 5, Article 11 of the RPC, any person who acts
in the fulfillment of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or office does not incur any criminal
liability. In order for this justifying circumstance to apply, two requisites must be satisfied: (1)
the accused acted in the performance of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or office; and
(2) the injury caused or the offense committed be the necessary consequence of
the due performance of duty or the lawful exercise of such right or office.[50] Both requisites are
lacking in petitioner Ambil, Jr.s case.

As we have earlier determined, petitioner Ambil, Jr. exceeded his authority when he ordered the
transfer and detention of Adalim at his house. Needless to state, the resulting violation of the
Anti-Graft Law did not proceed from the due performance of his duty or lawful exercise of his
office.

In like manner, petitioner Apelado, Sr. invokes the justifying circumstance of obedience to an
order issued for some lawful purpose. Under paragraph 6, Article 11 of the RPC, any person who
acts in obedience to an order issued by a superior for some lawful purpose does not incur any
criminal liability. For this justifying circumstance to apply, the following requisites must be
present: (1) an order has been issued by a superior; (2) such order must be for some lawful
purpose; and (3) the means used by the subordinate to carry out said order is lawful.[51] Only the
first requisite is present in this case.

While the order for Adalims transfer emanated from petitioner Ambil, Jr., who was then Governor,
neither said order nor the means employed by petitioner Apelado, Sr. to carry it out was lawful. In
his capacity as the Provincial Jail Warden of Eastern Samar, petitioner Apelado, Sr. fetched
Mayor Adalim at the provincial jail and, unarmed with a court order, transported him to the house
of petitioner Ambil, Jr. This makes him liable as a principal by direct participation under Article
17(1)[52] of the RPC.

An accepted badge of conspiracy is when the accused by their acts aimed at the same object, one
performing one part of and another performing another so as to complete it with a view to the
attainment of the same object, and their acts although apparently independent were in fact
concerted and cooperative, indicating closeness of personal association, concerted action and
concurrence of sentiments.[53]

Conspiracy was sufficiently demonstrated by petitioner Apelado, Sr.s willful cooperation in


executing petitioner Ambil, Jr.s order to move Adalim from jail, despite the absence of a court
order. Petitioner Apelado, Sr., a law graduate, cannot hide behind the cloak of ignorance of the
law. The Rule requiring a court order to transfer a person under detention by legal process is
elementary. Truth be told, even petitioner governor who is unschooled in the intricacies of the
law expressed reservations on his power to transfer Adalim. All said, the concerted acts of
petitioners Ambil, Jr. and Apelado, Sr. resulting in the violation charged, makes them equally
responsible as conspirators.

As regards the penalty imposed upon petitioners, Section 9(a) of R.A. No. 3019 punishes a public
officer or a private person who violates Section 3 of R.A. No. 3019 with imprisonment for not
less than six (6) years and one (1) month to not more than fifteen (15) years and perpetual
disqualification from public office.Under Section 1 of the Indeterminate Sentence Law or Act No.
4103, as amended by Act No. 4225, if the offense is punished by a special law, the court shall
sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence, the maximum term of which shall not exceed
the maximum fixed by said law and the minimum shall not be less than the minimum term
prescribed by the same.

Thus, the penalty imposed by the Sandiganbayan upon petitioner Ambil, Jr. of imprisonment for
nine (9) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day to twelve (12) years and four (4) months is in
accord with law. As a co-principal without the benefit of an incomplete justifying circumstance
to his credit, petitioner Apelado, Sr. shall suffer the same penalty.

WHEREFORE, the consolidated petitions are DENIED. The Decision of the Sandiganbayan in
Criminal Case No. 25892 is AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION. We find petitioners Ruperto
A. Ambil, Jr. and Alexandrino R. Apelado, Sr. guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section
3(e), R.A. No. 3019. Petitioner Alexandrino R. Apelado, Sr. is, likewise, sentenced to an
indeterminate penalty of imprisonment for nine (9) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day to twelve
(12) years and four (4) months.

With costs against the petitioners.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 203041. June 5, 2013.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MOISES CAOILE, accused-appellant.

Criminal Law; Rape; Mental Retardate; Article 266-A, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended, provides for two circumstances when having carnal knowledge of a woman with a mental
disability is considered rape: 1. Paragraph 1(b): when the offended party is deprived of reason; and 2.
Paragraph 1(d): when the offended party is demented.—Article 266-A, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal
Code, as amended, provides for two circumstances when having carnal knowledge of a woman with a
mental disability is considered rape: 1. Paragraph 1(b): when the offended party is deprived of
reason x x x; and 2. Paragraph 1(d): when the offended party is x x x demented. Caoile was charged in
the Amended Informations with rape of a demented person under paragraph 1(d). The
term demented refers to a person who has dementia, which is a condition of deteriorated mentality,
characterized by marked decline from the individual’s former intellectual level and often by emotional
apathy, madness, or insanity. On the other hand, the phrase deprived of reason under paragraph 1(b) has
been interpreted to include those suffering from mental abnormality, deficiency, or retardation. Thus,
AAA, who was clinically diagnosed to be a mental retardate, can be properly classified as a person who is
“deprived of reason,” and not one who is “demented.”

Same; Same; Same; Witnesses; The capacity of a mental retardate to stand as a witness in court has
already been settled by the Supreme Court.—The fact that AAA was able to answer in a straightforward
manner during her testimony cannot be used against her. The capacity of a mental retardate to stand as a
witness in court has already been settled by this Court. In People v. Castillo, 627 SCRA 452 (2010), we
said: It bears emphasis that the competence and credibility of mentally deficient rape victims as
witnesses have been upheld by this Court where it is shown that they can communicate their ordeal
capably and consistently. Rather than undermine the gravity of the complainant’s accusations, it even
lends greater credence to her testimony, that, someone as feeble-minded and guileless could speak so
tenaciously and explicitly on the details of the rape if she has not in fact suffered such crime at the hands
of the accused. Moreover, it is settled that when a woman says she has been raped, she says in effect all
that is necessary to show that she has been raped and her testimony alone is sufficient if it satisfies the
exacting standard of credibility needed to convict the accused.

Same; Same; Same; Carnal knowledge of a woman who is a mental retardate is rape under Article 266-A,
paragraph 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. This is because a mentally deficient person is
automatically considered incapable of giving consent to a sexual act.—Carnal knowledge of a woman who
is a mental retardate is rape under Article 266-A, paragraph 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended.
This is because a mentally deficient person is automatically considered incapable of giving consent to a
sexual act. Thus, what needs to be proven are the facts of sexual intercourse between the accused and the
victim, and the victim’s mental retardation. Verily, the prosecution was able to sufficiently establish that
AAA is a mental retardate. Anent the fact of sexual congress, it is worthy to note that aside from the
prosecution’s own testimonial and documentary evidence, Caoile never denied being physically intimate
with AAA. In fact, he has confirmed such fact, and even claimed that he and AAA often had sex, they
being sweethearts.

Same; Same; Sweetheart Theory; Carnal knowledge of a female, even when done without force or
intimidation, is rape nonetheless, if it was done without her consent.—Unfortunately, such defense will not
exculpate him from liability. Carnal knowledge of a female, even when done without force or intimidation,
is rape nonetheless, if it was done without her consent. To expound on such concept, this Court, in People
v. Butiong, 659 SCRA 557 (2011), said: In rape committed by means of duress, the victim’s will is nullified
or destroyed. Hence, the necessity of proving real and constant resistance on the part of the woman to
establish that the act was committed against her will. On the other hand, in the rape of a woman
deprived of reason or unconscious, the victim has no will. The absence of will determines the
existence of the rape. Such lack of will may exist not only when the victim is unconscious or
totally deprived of reason, but also when she is suffering some mental deficiency impairing
her reason or free will. In that case, it is not necessary that she should offer real opposition or
constant resistance to the sexual intercourse. Carnal knowledge of a woman so weak in
intellect as to be incapable of legal consent constitutes rape. Where the offended woman was
feeble-minded, sickly and almost an idiot, sexual intercourse with her is rape. Her failure to
offer resistance to the act did not mean consent for she was incapable of giving any rational
consent. The deprivation of reason need not be complete. Mental abnormality or deficiency is
enough. Cohabitation with a feebleminded, idiotic woman is rape. Sexual intercourse with an
insane woman was considered rape. But a deaf-mute is not necessarily deprived of reason.
This circumstances must be proven. Intercourse with a deaf-mute is not rape of a woman
deprived of reason, in the absence of proof that she is an imbecile. Viada says that the rape
under par. 2 may be committed when the offended woman is deprived of reason due to any
cause such as when she is asleep, or due to lethargy produced by sickness or narcotics
administered to her by the accused.

Same; Same; Mental Retardate; The Revised Penal Code, as amended, punishes the rape of a mentally
disabled person regardless of the perpetrator’s awareness of his victim’s mental condition.—The Revised
Penal Code, as amended, punishes the rape of a mentally disabled person regardless of the perpetrator’s
awareness of his victim’s mental condition. However, the perpetrator’s knowledge of the victim’s mental
disability, at the time he committed the rape, qualifies the crime and makes it punishable by death under
Article 266-B, paragraph 10, to wit: The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is
committed with any of the following aggravating/qualifying circumstances: x x x x 10) When the offender
knew of the mental disability, emotional disorder and/or physical handicap of the offended party at the
time of the commission of the crime.

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DIVISION

[ GR No. 203041, Jun 05, 2013 ]

PEOPLE v. MOISES CAOILE +

DECISION
G.R. No. 203041

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:


The accused-appellant challenges in this appeal the March 21,
2012 Decision[1]promulgated by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No.
03957, which affirmed with modification the judgment[2] of conviction for two counts
of Rape rendered against him by Branch 32 of the Agoo, La Union Regional Trial Court
(RTC) in Family Court Case Nos. A-496 and A-497.

Accused-appellant Moises Caoile (Caoile), in two separate Amended Informations filed


before the RTC on January 5, 2006, was charged with two separate counts of Rape of a
Demented Person under Article 266-A, paragraph 1(d) of the Revised Penal Code, to
wit:

FAMILY COURT CASE No. A-496

That on or about April 6, 2005, in the Municipality of Rosario, La Union, Philippines


and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the above-named accused, knowing
the mental disability of the victim, did the[n] and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously have sexual intercourse with one [AAA],[3] a demented person with a
mental age of seven (7) years old against her will and, to her damage and prejudice.[4]

FAMILY COURT CASE No. A-497

That on or about May 12, 2005, in the Municipality of Rosario, La Union, Philippines
and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the above-named accused, knowing
the mental disability of the victim, did the[n] and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously have sexual intercourse with one [AAA], a demented person with a mental
age of seven (7) years old against her will and, to her damage and prejudice.[5]
Caoile pleaded not guilty to both charges upon his arraignment[6] for both cases on
March 1, 2006. After the completion of the pre-trial conference on March 8,
2006,[7] joint trial on the merits ensued.

The antecedents of this case, which were succinctly summarized by the RTC, are as
follows:

Evidence for the Prosecution

[AAA], the herein victim, was left in the care of her grandmother and auntie in Alipang,
Rosario, La Union when her mother left to work abroad when she was still young. One
of their neighbors was the accused whose daughter, Marivic, was the playmate of
[AAA].

One day, the accused invited [AAA] to go to the bamboo trees in their place. Upon
reaching thereat, the accused directed [AAA] to lie down on the ground. [AAA]
followed the instruction of the accused whom she called uncle Moises. Thereafter, the
accused removed [AAA]'s short pant[s] and panty and inserted his penis into her
vagina. [AAA] felt pain but she did not do anything. After two minutes or so, the
accused removed his penis inside [AAA]'s vagina. [AAA] stood up and wore again her
short pant[s] and panty. Before the accused allowed [AAA] to go home, the former gave
the latter a medicine, which she described as a red capsule with white casing, with the
instruction of taking the same immediately upon reaching home. As instructed by her
uncle Moises, [AAA] took the medicine as soon as she got home.

Four (4) days thereafter, and while [AAA] was at the pumping well near their house,
the accused invited her to gather guavas at the mountain. [AAA] accepted her uncle
Moises's invitation. At the mountain, the accused led [AAA] to lie down, and then he
removed her short pant[s] and panty. Thereafter, the accused inserted his penis inside
the vagina of [AAA]. After the sexual intercourse, the accused and [AAA] gathered
guavas, and went home.

One day, while [AAA] was sleeping in their house, Marivic woke her up and invited her
to play at their house. At the accused's house, and while [AAA] and Marivic were
playing, the accused invited [AAA] to gather santol fruits. [AAA] went with the accused,
and once again the accused had carnal knowledge [of] her.

Sometime in April 2005, [AAA] heard her friend, [BBB], complaining to Lucio Bafalar,
a Barangay Tanod, that the accused mashed her breast. Upon hearing the story of
[BBB], [AAA] blurted out that she, too, was abused by the accused.

[CCC], [AAA]'s aunt, immediately went home [to] Rosario when she learned that her
niece was raped by the accused, and together with [AAA] and Barangay Captain
Roming Bartolome they went to the Rosario Police Station to report the incident. After
executing their respective affidavits, [AAA] was examined by [Dr.] Claire Maramat at
San Fernando, La Union.

After examining [AAA] on June 21, 2005, Dr. Claire Maramat found out that [AAA]'s
genitalia suffered a multiple hymenal laceration which, at the time of the examination,
was already healed, thus, possibly, it was inflicted a week or months prior to the
examination. According to Dr. Maramat, a multiple hymenal laceration may be caused
by several factors, such as trauma to the perineal area or penetration of a penis.

Dr. Maramat also took seminal fluid from the vagina, the cervix and the cervical canal
of [AAA], and forwarded the same to Dr. Brenda Rosuman, a pathologist at the Ilocos
Training and Regional Medical Center (ITRMC), for examination.

Dr. Rosuman testified that after examining the seminal fluids taken from [AAA], she
found the presence of spermatozoa, which means that [AAA] had sexual intercourse,
and the predominance of coccobacilli, meaning that [AAA] could be suffering from
infection caused by hygiene or acquired through sexual intercourse. She further
testified that, according to some books, spermatozoa can live in the vaginal tract within
17 days from sexual intercourse. She clarified, however, that in her medical experience,
she rarely finds spermatozoa in a specimen beyond three (3) days.

Claire Baliaga, a psychologist of the Philippine Mental Health Association, Baguio-


Benguet Chapter, testified that she conducted a psychological evaluation on [AAA] on
August 10, 2007; that [AAA] obtained an overall score performance of 55, which is
classified within the mental retardation range; and that [AAA] has the mental age of a
seven-year, nine-month old child who is inadequate of sustaining mental processes and
in solving novel problems employing adoptive strategies.

Dr. Roderico V. Ramos, a psychiatrist of the ITRMC, testified that he evaluated the
mental condition of [AAA], that after psychiatric evaluation, [AAA] was given a
diagnosis of moderate mental retardation; that a person who is mentally retardate do
not function the way his age required him to be; that [AAA] was eighteen (18) years old
at the time he examined her, but the mental functioning of her brain is around five (5)
to six (6) years old; and that [AAA] can only do what a five or six-year old child could
do.

Dr. Ramos further testified that generally a mentally retardate cannot finish primary
education. He, however, explained that parents of mentally retardates begged the
teachers to give passing marks to their sons/daughters, and out of pity, they would be
able to finish primary education.[8]

Evidence for the Defense


Accused Moises Caoile knew [AAA] because they were neighbors. [AAA] was, in fact, a
playmate of his children and a frequent visitor in their house. When accused and [AAA]
became familiar with one another, the latter would go to the former's house even when
the children were not there, and they would [talk] and [tease] each other.

In the year 2005, the wife of the accused worked at the town proper of Rosario, La
Union. The wife would leave early in the morning, and returned home late at night.
More often than not, the accused was left alone in the house since all his children were
attending school. It was during his so called alone moments that the accused courted
[AAA]. He gave her money, chocolates or candies. Time came when [AAA] would stay
at the accused'[s] house, from Monday to Sunday, with or without the children. Soon
thereafter, accused and [AAA] found themselves falling in love with one other. As
lovers, they had their intimate moments, and their first sexual intercourse happened on
April 6, 2005 on the mountain. From then on, the accused and [AAA] repeatedly had
sexual intercourse, and most of which were initiated by [AAA], especially their sexual
intimacies in Agri Motel, Pangasinan.

During their relationship, [AAA] suggested that they [live] together as husband and
wife. The accused refused because he cannot leave his family.

The accused did not know that [AAA] was a demented person since she acted like a
normal individual. In fact, she went to a regular school and she finished her elementary
education.

The accused did not force himself [on] [AAA]. [AAA] knew that he is a married man,
but she, nonetheless, loved him without reservation.

The defense moved that it be allowed to have [AAA] be evaluated by a psychiatrist of its
own choice. As prayed for the defense, [AAA] was evaluated by Dr. Lowell A. Rebucal of
the Department of Psychiatry, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center. In his
Psychiatric Evaluation Report, Dr. Rebucal concluded that [AAA] is suffering from
Mild Mental Retardation.[9]

Ruling of the RTC

On May 6, 2009, after weighing the respective evidence of the parties, the RTC
rendered its Joint Decision finding Caoile guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts
of rape:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows, to wit:


1. In FC Case No. A-496, accused Moises Caoile is hereby found guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of rape defined and penalized under Article 266-A,
paragraph 1(d) and Article 266-B of Republic Act No. 8353, and is sentenced to
suffer the penalty ofreclusion perpetua.

2. In FC Case No. A-497, accused Moises Caoile is hereby found guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of rape defined and penalized under Article 266-A,
paragraph 1(d) and Article 266-B of Republic Act No. 8353, and is sentenced to
suffer the penalty ofreclusion perpetua.

3. The accused is further ordered to indemnify the private complainant the amounts
of P50,000.00 for each count of rape as compensatory damages and P50,000.00
for each count of rape as moral damages.[10]

Caoile elevated the RTC ruling to the Court of Appeals, claiming that his guilt was not
proven beyond reasonable doubt by attacking the credibility of AAA and the methods
used to determine her mental state.

Ruling of the Court of Appeals

In its Decision dated March 21, 2012, in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 03957, the Court of
Appeals affirmed with modification the RTC decision. The dispositive portion of the
Court of Appeals Decision reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Joint Decisiondated May 6, 2009 of the


Regional Trial Court ("RTC"), First Judicial Region, Branch 32, Agoo, La Union, in
Family Court Case Nos. A-496 and A-497, entitled "People of the Philippines, Plaintiff,
versus Moises Caoile, Accused," finding appellant Moises Caoile guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of two (2) counts of rape is AFFIRMED with modification in that
aside from civil indemnity and moral damages, appellant Moises Caoile
is ORDERED to indemnify [AAA] exemplary damages amounting to P30,000.00 for
each count of rape.[11] (Citation omitted.)

Issue

Caoile is now before this Court, on appeal,[12] with the same lone assignment of error he
posited before the Court of Appeals,[13] to wit:
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT
GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF TWO COUNTS OF RAPE.[14]

In essence, Caoile is attacking the credibility of AAA, and claims that she might not be a
mental retardate at all, having been able to give categorical and straightforward
answers during her testimony. Moreover, Caoile avers that it has not been shown that
AAA underwent the proper clinical, laboratory, and psychometric tests to arrive at the
conclusion that she fell within the range of mental retardation. Caoile argues that while
it is true that his denial and sweetheart defenses are generally deemed weak and
unavailing, his conviction should nevertheless be founded on the strength of the
prosecution's evidence and not on the flaws of his defenses.[15]

This Court's Ruling

Caoile was tried and convicted of rape under Article 266-A, paragraph 1(d) in relation
to Article 266-B, paragraph 1, of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act
No. 8353. Said provisions read:

Article 266-A. Rape; When and How Committed. - Rape is committed:

1) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following
circumstances:

xxxx

b. When the offended party is deprived of reason or is otherwise unconscious;

xxxx

d) When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is


demented, even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be
present.(Emphasis supplied.)

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

Validity of the Amended Informations

Taking a cue from the Court of Appeals, this Court would like, at the outset, to address
the validity of the Amended Informations vis-à-vis the crime Caoile was actually
convicted of.
Article 266-A, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, provides for two
circumstances when having carnal knowledge of a woman with a mental disability is
considered rape:

1. Paragraph 1(b): when the offended party is deprived of reason x x x; and


2. Paragraph 1(d): when the offended party is x x x demented.[16]

Caoile was charged in the Amended Informations with rape of a demented person
under paragraph 1(d). The term demented[17] refers to a person who has dementia,
which is a condition of deteriorated mentality, characterized by marked decline from
the individual's former intellectual level and often by emotional apathy, madness, or
insanity.[18] On the other hand, the phrase deprived of reason under paragraph 1(b) has
been interpreted to include those suffering from mental abnormality, deficiency, or
retardation.[19] Thus, AAA, who was clinically diagnosed to be a mental retardate, can
be properly classified as a person who is "deprived of reason," and not one who is
"demented."

The mistake, however, will not exonerate Caoile. In the first place, he did not even raise
this as an objection. More importantly, none of his rights, particularly that of to be
informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him,[20] was violated.
Although the Amended Informations stated that he was being charged with the crime
of rape of a demented person under paragraph 1(d), it also stated that his victim was
"a person with a mental age of seven (7) years old." Elucidating on the foregoing, this
Court, in People v. Valdez,[21] held:

For [a] complaint or information to be sufficient, it must state the name of the accused;
the designation of the offense given by the statute; the acts or omissions complained of
as constituting the offense; the name of the offended party; the approximate time of the
commission of the offense, and the place wherein the offense was committed. What is
controlling is not the title of the complaint, nor the designation of the offense charged
or the particular law or part thereof allegedly violated, these being mere conclusions of
law made by the prosecutor, but the description of the crime charged and the particular
facts therein recited. The acts or omissions complained of must be alleged in such form
as is sufficient to enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is
intended to be charged, and enable the court to pronounce proper judgment. No
information for a crime will be sufficient if it does not accurately and clearly allege the
elements of the crime charged. Every element of the offense must be stated in
the information. What facts and circumstances are necessary to be
included therein must be determined by reference to the definitions and
essentials of the specified crimes. The requirement of alleging the
elements of a crime in the information is to inform the accused of the
nature of the accusation against him so as to enable him to suitably
prepare his defense. The presumption is that the accused has no
independent knowledge of the facts that constitute the offense.

Thus, the erroneous reference to paragraph 1(d) in the Amended Informations, did not
cause material and substantial harm to Caoile. Firstly, he simply ignored the error.
Secondly, particular facts stated in the Amended Informations were averments
sufficient to inform Caoile of the nature of the charges against him.

Mental Condition of AAA

Caoile's insistence, to escape liability, that AAA is not a mental retardate, cannot be
accepted by this Court.

The fact that AAA was able to answer in a straightforward manner during her
testimony cannot be used against her. The capacity of a mental retardate to stand as a
witness in court has already been settled by this Court. In People v. Castillo,[22] we said:

It bears emphasis that the competence and credibility of mentally deficient rape victims
as witnesses have been upheld by this Court where it is shown that they can
communicate their ordeal capably and consistently. Rather than undermine the gravity
of the complainant's accusations, it even lends greater credence to her testimony, that,
someone as feeble-minded and guileless could speak so tenaciously and explicitly on
the details of the rape if she has not in fact suffered such crime at the hands of the
accused. Moreover, it is settled that when a woman says she has been raped, she says in
effect all that is necessary to show that she has been raped and her testimony alone is
sufficient if it satisfies the exacting standard of credibility needed to convict the
accused. (Citations omitted.)

More importantly, AAA's medical condition was verified not only by one expert, but
three witnesses a psychologist and two psychiatrists, one of whom was even chosen by
the defense and testified for the defense. All three experts confirmed that AAA suffered
from mental retardation. Caoile cannot, at this point, properly impeach his own
witness without violating established rules of evidence.

This Court further disagrees with Caoile's claim that the experts "merely impressed that
they conducted a psychological evaluation on [AAA] in which she obtained a
performance classified within the mental retardation range."[23] The experts' findings
on AAA's mental condition were based on several tests and examinations, including the
Stanford-Binet Test,[24]which Caoile, relying on this Court's ruling in People v.
Cartuano, Jr.,[25]considered as one of the more reliable standardized tests.[26] Besides,
this Court has already qualified the applicability of Cartuano in cases involving
mentally deficient rape victims, to wit:

People v. Cartuano applies only to cases where there is a dearth of medical records to
sustain a finding of mental retardation. Indeed, the Court has clarified so in People v.
Delos Santos, declaring that the records in People v. Cartuano were wanting in clinical,
laboratory, and psychometric support to sustain a finding that the victim had been
suffering from mental retardation. It is noted that in People v. Delos Santos, the Court
upheld the finding that the victim had been mentally retarded by an examining
psychiatrist who had been able to identify the tests administered to the victim and to
sufficiently explain the results of the tests to the trial court.[27] (Citations omitted.)

Borrowing our words in People v. Butiong,[28] "[i]n direct contrast to People v.


Cartuano, this case did not lack clinical findings on the mentality of the victim." Here,
the psychiatric evaluation report of Caoile's own expert witness is the final nail on the
coffin of Caoile's argument.

In addition, this Court will not contradict the RTC's findings, which were affirmed by
the Court of Appeals, absent any valid reason. The trial court's assessment of the
witnesses' credibility is given great weight and is even conclusive and binding upon this
Court.[29] In People v. Sapigao, Jr.,[30] we explained in detail the rationale for this
practice:

It is well settled that the evaluation of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies
is a matter best undertaken by the trial court because of its unique opportunity to
observe the witnesses firsthand and to note their demeanor, conduct, and attitude
under grilling examination. These are important in determining the truthfulness of
witnesses and in unearthing the truth, especially in the face of conflicting testimonies.
For, indeed, the emphasis, gesture, and inflection of the voice are potent aids in
ascertaining the witness' credibility, and the trial court has the opportunity and can
take advantage of these aids. These cannot be incorporated in the record so that all that
the appellate court can see are the cold words of the witness contained in transcript of
testimonies with the risk that some of what the witness actually said may have been lost
in the process of transcribing. As correctly stated by an American court, "There is an
inherent impossibility of determining with any degree of accuracy what credit is justly
due to a witness from merely reading the words spoken by him, even if there were no
doubt as to the identity of the words. However artful a corrupt witness may be, there is
generally, under the pressure of a skillful cross-examination, something in his manner
or bearing on the stand that betrays him, and thereby destroys the force of his
testimony. Many of the real tests of truth by which the artful witness is exposed in the
very nature of things cannot be transcribed upon the record, and hence they can never
be considered by the appellate court."
Carnal Knowledge of a
Mental retardate amounts to Rape

Carnal knowledge of a woman who is a mental retardate is rape under Article 266-A,
paragraph 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. This is because a mentally
deficient person is automatically considered incapable of giving consent to a sexual act.
Thus, what needs to be proven are the facts of sexual intercourse between the accused
and the victim, and the victim's mental retardation.[31]

Verily, the prosecution was able to sufficiently establish that AAA is a mental retardate.
Anent the fact of sexual congress, it is worthy to note that aside from the prosecution's
own testimonial and documentary evidence, Caoile never denied being physically
intimate with AAA. In fact, he has confirmed such fact, and even claimed that he and
AAA often had sex, they being sweethearts.

Sweetheart Defense

Unfortunately, such defense will not exculpate him from liability. Carnal knowledge of
a female, even when done without force or intimidation, is rape nonetheless, if it was
done without her consent. To expound on such concept, this Court, in People v.
Butiong,[32]said:

In rape committed by means of duress, the victim's will is nullified or destroyed.


Hence, the necessity of proving real and constant resistance on the part of the woman
to establish that the act was committed against her will. On the other hand, in the rape
of a woman deprived of reason or unconscious, the victim has no will. The absence of
will determines the existence of the rape. Such lack of will may exist not
only when the victim is unconscious or totally deprived of reason, but also
when she is suffering some mental deficiency impairing her reason or free
will. In that case, it is not necessary that she should offer real opposition or
constant resistance to the sexual intercourse. Carnal knowledge of a
woman so weak in intellect as to be incapable of legal consent constitutes
rape. Where the offended woman was feeble-minded, sickly and almost an
idiot, sexual intercourse with her is rape. Her failure to offer resistance to
the act did not mean consent for she was incapable of giving any rational
consent.

The deprivation of reason need not be complete. Mental abnormality or


deficiency is enough. Cohabitation with a feebleminded, idiotic woman is
rape. Sexual intercourse with an insane woman was considered rape. But a
deafmute is not necessarily deprived of reason. This circumstances must
be proven. Intercourse with a deafmute is not rape of a woman deprived of
reason, in the absence of proof that she is an imbecile. Viada says that the
rape under par. 2 may be committed when the offended woman is deprived
of reason due to any cause such as when she is asleep, or due to lethargy
produced by sickness or narcotics administered to her by the accused. x x
x.

Consequently, the mere fact that Caoile had sexual intercourse with AAA, a mental
retardate, makes him liable for rape under the Revised Penal Code, as amended.

Defense of Lack of knowledge of


AAA's mental condition

Similarly, Caoile's allegation that he did not know that AAA was mentally retarded will
not suffice to overturn his conviction.

The Revised Penal Code, as amended, punishes the rape of a mentally disabled person
regardless of the perpetrator's awareness of his victim's mental condition. However, the
perpetrator's knowledge of the victim's mental disability, at the time he committed the
rape, qualifies the crime and makes it punishable by death[33] under Article 266-B,
paragraph 10, to wit:

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

xxxx

10) When the offender knew of the mental disability, emotional disorder and/or
physical handicap of the offended party at the time of the commission of the crime.

There is no sufficient evidence to establish the qualifying circumstance of knowledge by


Caoile of AAA's mental disability. The trial court and the Court of Appeals which did
not make any finding on the said qualifying circumstance correctly convicted said
accused of simple rape only.

This Court finds the award of damages as modified by the Court of Appeals in order.
Pursuant to prevailing jurisprudence,[34] however, interest at the rate of six percent
(6%) per annum shall be imposed on all damages awarded from the date of finality of
this judgment until fully paid.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.


CR.-H.C. No. 03957 is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Accused-
appellant MOISES CAOILE is found GUILTYbeyond reasonable doubt of the crime
of simple rape in Family Court Case Nos. A-496 and A-497 under subparagraph (b) of
Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and is sentenced to reclusion
perpetua for each count of rape. The award of civil indemnity and moral damages, both
in the amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00), and exemplary damages in the
amount of Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00), all for each count of rape, are
maintained, subject to interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of finality of
this judgment. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Sereno, C.J., (Chairperson), Bersamin, Villarama, Jr., and Reyes, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Baguio City

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 208007 April 2, 2014

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
RODRIGO GUTIEREZ Y ROBLES ALIAS "ROD AND JOHN LENNON",Accused-appellant.

DECISION

LEONEN, J.:

For a measly five- or ten-peso tip that a 10-year-old child would need for lunch money, a known acquaintance of
their family would destroy a child's dignity by having illicit carnal knowledge of her. This case involves an act that is
so dastardly that it is punished by Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code as statutory rape which carries a
sentence of reclusion perpetua.

We are asked to review the Court of Appeals decision1 in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 02955. This decision affirmed the
conviction of the accused-appellant for statutory rape under Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code and imposed
the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

The facts of the case are as follows:

On November 30, 2005, an information2 was filed against the accused-appellant before the Regional Trial Court of
Baguio City, Branch 59. The information reads:

That on or about November 29, 2005, in the City of Baguio, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of
the offended party, (AAA), who is under twelve (12) years old.

Contrary to law.
Upon arraignment, Rodrigo Gutierez pleaded "not guilty." Trial on the merits ensued.

The prosecution presented the victim, AAA, who was then 10 years old and a Grade 2 student at Camp 7
Elementary School in Baguio City. She testified that on November 29, 2005, she went home from school at around
12 noon to have lunch.3 On the way home, she met Rodrigo at his house. He brought her to his room and laid her
down on the bed. He then raised her skirt and removed her panties. He pulled down his pants and then inserted his
penis into her vagina.4

According to AAA, Rodrigo stayed on top of her for a long time, and when he withdrew his penis, white liquid came
out. He then gave her five pesos (₱5.00) before she went back to school.5

AAA went back to school at about 2:10 p.m. Her adviser, Agustina Chapap, asked her where she came from
because she was tardy. AAA initially did not answer. When asked again why she was tardy, AAA admitted she
came from "Uncle Rod." She also admitted that she went there to ask for money. Chapap then brought AAA to Rona
Ambaken, AAA's previous teacher. Together, they brought AAA to the principal's office. AAA was brought to the
comfort room where Ambaken inspected her panties. The principal was able to confirm that AAA was touched since
AAA's private organ was swelling. Her underwear was also wet.6

Another teacher, Jason Dalisdis, then brought AAA to Baguio General Hospital where her underwear was again
inspected. Dr. Anvic Pascua also examined her. On the way to the hospital, Dalisdis passed by the barangay hall
and the police station to report the incident.7

AAA also disclosed during trial that the accused-appellant had done the same thing to her about 10 times on
separate occasions. After each act, he would give her ten (₱10.00) or five (₱5.00) pesos.8

The prosecution also presented Dr. Asuncion Ogues as an expert witness. Dr. Ogues was the superior of Dr.
Pascua who examined AAA. Dr. Ogues testified based on the medical certificate issued by the examining physician
that there was blunt force penetrating trauma that could have been caused by sexual abuse. She also stated that
there was another medico-legal certificate issued by Dr. Carag, surgical resident of the Department of Surgery of
Baguio General Hospital, showing findings of some hematoma in AAA's legs.9

In his defense, Rodrigo denied that AAA went to his house at 12 noon on November 29, 2005 and claimed he was
already at work at 1:30 p.m. He has known AAA for a long time since his family rented the house of AAA's
grandfather from 2001 to 2004.10 When the police came and asked him if he knew AAA, he answered in the
affirmative. He was then brought to Baguio General Hospital where he was told that AAA identified him as the one
who raped her.11

Rodrigo admitted that he had a relationship with AAA's sister, and they even lived together as common-law
spouses.12 He also admitted that a similar complaint was filed against him by AAA's mother when AAA was eight
years old, but they settled the case at the barangay level.13

On July 4, 2007, the trial court rendered a judgment14 finding Rodrigo guilty beyond reasonable doubt of statutory
rape and imposing on him the penalty of reclusion perpetua. He was additionally required to indemnify the offended
party ₱50,000.00 moral damages and ₱25,000.00 exemplary damages with costs of suit.

Rodrigo appealed15 to the Court of Appeals claiming that AAA's testimony fell short of the requirement of the law on
the quantum of evidence required. He argued that she did not cry for help when her family's house was just nearby,
which was cause for reasonable doubt that the trial court failed to appreciate.

On February 28, 2013, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision16affirming the conviction.

On March 11, 2013, Rodrigo filed a notice of appeal17 with the appellate court, which was given due course in a
resolution18 dated March 15, 2013.

Hence, this appeal was instituted.


In the resolution19 of September 9, 2013, this court required the parties to submit their respective supplemental
briefs, if they so desired. Both parties, however, manifested that they were dispensing with the filing of a
supplemental brief as their arguments were already substantially and exhaustively discussed in their respective
briefs filed before the appellate court.

The only issue to be resolved by this court is whether the prosecution was able to prove beyond reasonable doubt
that the accused-appellant was guilty of statutory rape punishable under Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code.

Rape is defined in Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code, which states:

Art. 266-A. Rape: When and How Committed. ― Rape is committed:

1. By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:

a. Through force, threat, or intimidation;

b. When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious;

c. By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and

d. When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the
circumstances mentioned above be present.

xxxx

Statutory rape is committed when (1) the offended party is under 12 years of age and (2) the accused has carnal
knowledge of her, regardless of whether there was force, threat or intimidation; whether the victim was deprived of
reason or consciousness; or whether it was done through fraud or grave abuse of authority. It is enough that the age
of the victim is proven and that there was sexual intercourse.

People v. Teodoro20 explained the elements of statutory rape committed under Article 266-A, paragraph (1) (d):

Rape under paragraph 3 of this article is termed statutory rape as it departs from the usual modes of committing
rape. What the law punishes in statutory rape is carnal knowledge of a woman below twelve (12) years old. Thus,
force, intimidation and physical evidence of injury are not relevant considerations; the only subject of inquiry is the
age of the woman and whether carnal knowledge took place. The law presumes that the victim does not and cannot
have a will of her own on account of her tender years; the child's consent is immaterial because of her presumed
incapacity to discern good from evil. (Emphasis supplied)

The defense did not dispute the fact that AAA was 10 years old at the time of the incident. Her birth certificate was
presented before the trial court.21 What is critical in this case, therefore, is whether there is a showing that Rodrigo
had carnal knowledge of AAA.

In the testimony of AAA, she narrated that on November 29, 2005, she met Rodrigo in his house, thus:

Q: Now, when you met the accused, what did he do?

A: He brought me in the room, Ma'am.

Q: The room is located inside his house?

A: Yes, Ma'am.

Q: And, was that the first time you entered the room?

A: (The witness nods.)


Q: After entering the room, what did Uncle Rod tell you?

A: He laid me down, Ma'am.

COURT:

Q: Where?

A: On the bed, Ma'am.

PROS. BERNABE:

Q: Who were the persons inside the room aside from you and Uncle Rod?

A: (Witness shook her head - meaning no persons around.)

Q: After lying down on the bed, what did he do next?

A: He raised up my skirt.

Q: After raising up your skirt, what else did he do?

A: He removed my panty, Ma'am.

Q: Was he able to remove it from your legs your panty? [sic]

A: No, Ma'am.

Q: Until where was he able to remove?

A: (Witness is pointing down to the ankle.)

Q: After pulling down your panty until your ankle, what happened?

A: He pulled down his short pants, Ma'am.

Q: After pulling down his short pants, what did Uncle Rod do?

A: He brought out his penis.

Q: After bringing out his penis, what did he do next?

A: He inserted his penis to my vagina, Ma'am.

Q: Will you please show us where is your vagina?

A: (The witness stood and pointed to her private part.)

Q: You also mentioned AAA that Uncle Rod inserted his penis to your vagina, could you point to the "ari" of Uncle
Rod?

A: (The witness pointed to a portion where the private part of the elder brother was standing.)

Q: Was it painful when Uncle Rod inserted his penis inside your vagina?
A: Yes, Ma'am.

Q: Did you cry when Uncle Rod inserted his penis inside your vagina?

A: Yes, Ma'am.

Q: Did he stay long on top of you? At around how many minutes?

A: Very long, Ma'am.

Q: Did he withdraw his penis from your vagina?

A: Yes, Ma'am.

Q: And after he withdrew his penis inside your vagina, what happened?

A: There is some white liquid that came out of his penis, Ma'am.22

As shown by her testimony, AAA was able to narrate in a clear and categorical manner the ordeal that was done to
her. As a child-victim who has taken significant risks in coming to court, her testimony deserves full weight and
credence. People v. Veloso23 stated that:

In a litany of cases, this Court has ruled that the testimonies of child-victims of rape are to be given full weight and
credence. Reason and experience dictate that a girl of tender years, who barely understands sex and sexuality, is
unlikely to impute to any man a crime so serious as rape, if what she claims is not true. Her candid narration of how
she was raped bears the earmarks of credibility, especially if no ill will-as in this case-motivates her to testify falsely
against the accused. It is well-settled that when a woman, more so when she is a minor, says she has been raped,
she says in effect all that is required to prove the ravishment. The accused may thus be convicted solely on her
testimony-provided it is credible, natural, convincing and consistent with human nature and the normal course of
things.24

AAA's ordeal was supported by the testimonies of her teachers whose concern for her led to the discovery of the
crime. The medical certificate presented in court, together with the testimonies of the physicians, is consistent with
the finding that she was sexually abused.

Rodrigo asserted that AAA's failure to cry out for help shows reasonable doubt. He noted that her house was just
1âw phi 1

near his house where the incident happened.

This argument is so feeble that it could only have been put up out of desperation.

Rodrigo was referred to by the child-victim as "Uncle Rod." He admitted that AAA's family had known him for a long
time. Rodrigo had the trust and respect that any elder in the family of AAA had. Instead of providing the moral
guidance that his status allowed him, he took advantage of AAA's youthful innocence to satiate his illicit carnal
desires. To cover this up and seemingly justify his actions, he gave his child-victim the measly sum of five pesos.
Rodrigo knew that what he did was wrong; AAA would have probably doubted whether such act was normal among
adults.

With his moral ascendancy, it would not be unreasonable to assume that even the child-victim's desire for help
would be muffled by her fear of her "Uncle Rod." To a young 10-year-old, the ordinary world can be daunting. To be
so young and silently aware that one is the victim of such callous depravation by Rodrigo, who she could have
expected to take care of her, can create the kind of lasting fear that diminishes the development of her own person
and her own convictions.

In any case, whether she cried for help is immaterial in a charge of statutory rape since "[t]he law presumes that
such a victim, on account of her tender age, does not and cannot have a will of her own."25
Beyond reasonable doubt, Rodrigo Gutierez raped AAA, a minor who was only 10 years of age, on November 29,
2005.

Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code requires that the penalty of reclusion perpetua shall be imposed in cases of
rape stated in the first paragraph of Article 266-A where there are no aggravating or qualifying circumstances
present. The lower courts correctly imposed this penalty.

Their award of damages, however, must be modified in light of recent jurisprudence.

It is settled that the award of civil indemnity is mandatory upon a finding that rape was committed, along with the
award of moral and exemplary damages.26 In People v. Degay,27 the accused-appellant was found guilty of raping his
nine-year-old neighbor. This court did not hesitate to increase the award of civil indemnity and moral damages from
₱50,000.00 to ₱75,000.00. In People v. Gambao,28 we have also increased the award of civil indemnity, moral
damages, and exemplary damages to ₱100,000.00 each.

Due to the utter heinousness of the crime involved in this case, we, therefore, exercise our judicial prerogative and
increase the damages to ₱100,000.00 as civil indemnity, ₱100,000.00 as moral damages, and ₱100,000.00 as
exemplary damages.

There are not enough words to condemn the depravity that one adult can do to a child-victim. The many years that
Rodrigo Gutierez will, by law, serve in prison will, of course, not make up for the wrong and the injury that he has so
selfishly and callously caused and with utter disregard for what truly makes us human: that we care, nurture, and
protect our children because we hope that they can make their world better than ours. All this was lost on Rodrigo
Gutierez. The five pesos that he gave on every occasion that he defiled his child-victim simply underscores the
ignominy of his act.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals finding the accused-appellant Rodrigo Gutierez y Robles guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of statutory rape is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. The accused-appellant is sentenced
to reclusion perpetua and is ordered to pay AAA the amount of ₱100,000.00 as civil indemnity, ₱100,000.00 as
moral damages, and ₱100,000.00 as exemplary damages, with an interest of 6% per annum from the finality of this
decision until its full satisfaction.

SO ORDERED.

MARVIC MARIO VICTOR F. LEONEN


Associate Justice

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 196435 January 29, 2014

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee


vs.
JOEL CRISOSTOMO y MALLIAR,1 Accused-Appellant.

DECISION
DEL CASTILLO, J.:

"[T]he trial court's evaluation of the credibility of the witnesses is entitled to he highest respect absent a showing that
it overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some facts or circumstances of weight and substance that would affect
the result of the case."2

On appeal is the October 22, 2010 Decision3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 03832 which
affirmed with modification the July 3, 2008 Decision4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Antipolo City, Branch 73
finding appellant Joel Crisostomo y Malliar guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of rape by sexual assault
and one count of statutory rape.

In three separate Informations,5 appellant was charged with rape committed as follows:

Criminal Case No. 99-16235 (Rape by Sexual Assault)

That, on or about the 8th day of April, 1999, in the City of Antipolo, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with lewd designs, did then and there commit an act of sexual assault
by using a lighted cigarette as an instrument or object and [inserting] the same into the genital orifice of "AAA,"6 a
minor who is six (6) years of age, thereby causing the labia majora of the vagina of said minor to suffer a third
degree burn, against her will and consent.

Contrary to law.

Criminal Case No. 99-16236 (Rape by Sexual Assault)

That, on or about the 8th day of April, 1999, in the City of Antipolo, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with lewd designs, did then and there commit an act of sexual assault
by using a lighted cigarette as an instrument or object and [inserting] the same into the anal orifice of "AAA", a minor
who is six (6) years of age, thereby causing the perianal region of the said anal orifice of said minor to suffer a third
degree burn, against her will and consent.

Contrary to law.

Criminal Case No. 99-16237 (Statutory Rape)

That, on or about the 8th day of April, 1999, in the City of Antipolo, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with lewd designs and by means of force, violence and intimidation,
did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge [of] "AAA", a minor who is six (6)
years of age; that on the same occasion that the Accused raped said minor, the accused did, then and there burn
her buttocks by the use of a lighted cigarette, against her will and consent.

Contrary to law.

When arraigned on January 9, 2001, appellant pleaded not guilty.7Pre-trial conference was terminated upon
agreement of the parties. Trial on the merits ensued.

Factual Antecedents

The facts as summarized by the RTC, are as follows:

The victim in these cases[,] "AAA[,]" testified that at noon time of April 8, 1999, she was x x x playing x x x with her
playmates whereupon she wandered by the house of accused which x x x was just below their house. "AAA"
clarified during her cross-examination that there was a vulcanizing shop owned by her father located in their house x
x x and where accused was employed. While "AAA" was at the house of accused, she claimed that her genitals and
buttocks were burned with a lighted cigarette by the said accused. "AAA" testified further that her clothes were taken
off by the same accused who also took his clothes off after which he allegedly placed himself on top of her, inserted
his penis and proceeded to have illicit carnal knowledge [of] the then six (6) year old girl. (TSN May 29, 2001, pp. 5-
9; TSN Aug. 7, 2001, pp. 10-12.)

"BBB," father of "AAA," presented in court his daughter’s birth certificate (Exhibit "B") which stated that she was born
on April 4, 1993 (TSN Sept. 25, 2001, p. 4). On the other hand, Dr. Emmanuel Reyes the Medico-Legal Officer who
examined "AAA" identified his Medico-Legal Report (Exhibit "M") and testified that the victim indeed had two (2) third
degree burns in the perianal region. Dr. Reyes testified that it was possible that the said burns were caused by a
lighted cigarette stick being forced on the victim’s skin. Moreover, Dr. Reyes confirmed that there was a loss of
virginity on the part of the victim and that the same could have been done 24 hours from the time of his examination
which was also on April 8, 1999. (TSN Nov. 7, 2001 pp. 11-17)

"CCC" [aunt of "AAA"] testified that x x x she x x x assisted the mother of "AAA" in bringing the victim to the Pasig
General Hospital and thereafter to Camp Crame where a doctor also examined "AAA" and confirmed that the latter
was indeed a victim of rape. "CCC" testified that they then proceeded to the Women’s [D]esk to file the instant
complaint against the accused. (TSN August 5, 2003 pp. 4-8)

On the other hand, accused denied the allegation of rape against him. Accused presented his brother-in-law Rogelio
Oletin who testified that he was tending the store located at the house of accused when the latter supposedly
arrived from work at 10:00 [a.m.] of April 8, 1999 and slept until 5:00 [p.m.] of the same day. According to Rogelio
that is the usual routine of accused as the latter worked in the night shift schedule as vulcanizer in the vulcanizing
shop owned by the victim’s father. (TSN February 3, 2006 pp. 6-8)

When accused testified on November 17, 2006, he essentially confirmed the testimony of his brother-in-law that it
was impossible for him to have raped "AAA" on the date and time stated in the information as his night shift work
schedule just would not permit such an incident to occur. Accused added that he knew of no reason why the family
of the private complainant would pin the crime against him. (TSN Nov. 17, 2006 pp. 9-11 & 14)

In an effort to explain the burn marks on the delicate parts of "AAA’s" body, the defense presented a supposed
playmate of "AAA" in the person of Mary Pabuayan. According to Mary, she was then 7 years old when she and two
other playmates together with "AAA" and Joel "Liit" the son of accused were burning worms near a santol tree in
their neighborhood on a Good Friday in the year 1999. This Joel "Liit" supposedly lighted a straw which
inadvertently burned the anal portion of "AAA’s" body. Mary’s exact words were to the effect that "napatakan ang
puwit ni "AAA"."8

Ruling of the Regional Trial Court

On July 3, 2008, the RTC rendered its Decision finding appellant guilty of three counts of rape, viz:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, accused Joel Crisostomo y Malliar is found GUILTY of all offenses stated in
the three (3) Criminal Informations and is hereby sentenced to the following:

a) In Criminal Information # 99-16235 and Criminal Information # 99-16236, accused is to suffer the
Indeterminate Penalty of imprisonment of ten (10) years and one (1) day of Prision Mayor as minimum to
seventeen (17) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of Reclusion Temporal as maximum and is ordered
to pay the victim "AAA" civil indemnity of ₱30,000.00, moral damages of ₱30,000.00 and exemplary
damages of ₱15,000.00 for each of the two Criminal Informations.

b) In Criminal Information # 99-16237, accused is to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua and is ordered
to pay the victim civil indemnity of ₱75,000.00, moral damages of ₱50,000.00 and exemplary damages of
₱30,000.00 with cost [of] suit for all Criminal Informations.

SO ORDERED.9

Aggrieved, appellant filed a Notice of Appeal10 which was given due course by the trial court in its Order11 dated
February 2, 2009.

Ruling of the Court of Appeals


In his Brief filed before the CA, appellant raised the following assignment of error:

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY FOR THE CRIME OF
RAPE (ARTICLE 266-A PAR. 1 AND ART. 267-B, PAR. 7 IN RELATION TO R.A. NO. 7610) DESPITE THE
PROSECUTION’S FAILURE TO PROVE HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. 12

Appellant claimed that the trial court gravely erred when it lent full credence to the testimonies of the prosecution
witnesses. In particular, appellant insisted that the trial court erred in finding "AAA’s" testimony credible considering
1awp++i 1

that she was unsure whether a match, rod or a cigarette stick, was used in burning her private parts.13Appellant
argued that "AAA" never showed signs of shock, distress, or anxiety despite her alleged traumatic
experience.14 Appellant also alleged that "CCC’s" testimony should be disregarded as she was not even present
when the rape incidents happened.15 He opined that "CCC" influenced her niece, "AAA," to file the suit against him
which bespoke of ill-motive on her part. Appellant concluded that these "inconsistencies and contradictions" are
enough to set aside the verdict of conviction imposed upon by the RTC.16

However, the CA gave short shrift to appellant’s arguments. The CA rendered its Decision disposing as follows:

ACCORDINGLY, the instant appeal is DISMISSED. The assailed July 3, 2008 Decision is hereby AFFIRMED with
MODIFICATION as to the penalties imposed, and to be read thus:

"1. For Criminal Case Nos. 99-16235 and 99-16236, Joel Crisostomo is hereby sentenced to suffer the
indeterminate penalty of imprisonment ranging from ten17 (8) years and one (1) day of Prision Mayor, as
minimum, to seventeen (17) years and four (4) months of Reclusion Temporal, as maximum, and ordered to
pay AAA Thirty Thousand pesos (₱30,000.00) as civil indemnity, Thirty Thousand pesos (₱30,000.00) as
moral damages, and Fifteen Thousand pesos (₱15,000.00) as exemplary damages, all for each count of
rape by sexual assault; and

(2) For Criminal Case No. 99-16237, Joel Crisostomo is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion
Perpetua without eligibility of parole, and ordered to pay AAA Seventy-Five Thousand pesos (₱75,000.00)
as civil indemnity, Fifty Thousand pesos (₱50,000.00) as moral damages, and Thirty Thousand pesos
(₱30,000.00) as exemplary damages, and all the costs of suit."

SO ORDERED.18

Hence, this appeal19 which the CA gave due course in its Resolution20of January 6, 2011. In a Resolution21 dated
June 15, 2011, this Court required the parties to file their respective supplemental briefs. In its Manifestation and
Motion,22 the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) informed this Court that it will no longer file a Supplemental Brief
because it had already exhaustively discussed and refuted all the arguments of the appellant in its brief filed before
the CA. Appellant likewise filed a Manifestation In Lieu of Supplemental Brief 23 praying that the case be deemed
submitted for decision based on the pleadings submitted.

Our Ruling

The appeal lacks merit.

The RTC, as affirmed by the CA, correctly found appellant guilty of two counts of rape by sexual assault and one
count of rape by sexual intercourse. Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) provides:

ART. 266-A. Rape, When and How Committed. - Rape is committed –

1. By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:

a. Through force, threat or intimidation;

b. When the offended party is deprived of reason or is otherwise unconscious;

c. By means of fraudulent machinations or grave abuse of authority;


d. When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of
the circumstances mentioned above should be present;

2. By any person who, under any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof, shall commit an act
of sexual assault by inserting his penis into another person’s mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or
object, into the genital or anal orifice of another person. (Emphases supplied)

When the offended party is under 12 years of age, the crime committed is "termed statutory rape as it departs from
the usual modes of committing rape. What the law punishes is carnal knowledge of a woman below 12 years of age.
Thus, the only subject of inquiry is the age of the woman and whether carnal knowledge took place. The law
presumes that the victim does not and cannot have a will of her own on account of her tender years."24 In this case,
the prosecution satisfactorily established all the elements of statutory rape. "AAA" testified that on April 8, 1999,
appellant took off her clothes and made her lie down. Appellant also removed his clothes, placed himself on top of
"AAA," inserted his penis into her vagina, and proceeded to have carnal knowledge of her. At the time of the rape,
"AAA" was only six years of age. Her birth certificate showed that she was born on April 4, 1993. "AAA’s" testimony
was corroborated by Dr. Emmanuel Reyes who found "AAA" to have fresh and bleeding hymenal lacerations.

Likewise, the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt appellant’s guilt for two counts of rape by sexual
assault. Records show that appellant inserted a lit cigarette stick into "AAA’s" genital orifice causing her labia
1âwphi 1

majora to suffer a 3rd degree burn. Appellant likewise inserted a lit cigarette stick into "AAA’s" anal orifice causing
3rd degree burns in her perianal region.

We agree with the CA that "AAA’s" "uncertainty" on whether it was a match, rod or a cigarette stick that was inserted
into her private parts, did not lessen her credibility. Such "uncertainty" is so inconsequential and does not diminish
the fact that an instrument or object was inserted into her private parts. This is the essence of rape by sexual
assault. "[T]he gravamen of the crime of rape by sexual assault x x x is the insertion of the penis into another
person’s mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into another person’s genital or anal orifice."25 In any
event, "inconsistencies in a rape victim’s testimony do not impair her credibility, especially if the inconsistencies
refer to trivial matters that do not alter the essential fact of the commission of rape."26 We also held in People v.
Piosang27 that –

"[t]estimonies of child-victims are normally given full weight and credit, since when a girl, particularly if she is a
minor, says that she has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape has in fact been
committed. When the offended party is of tender age and immature, courts are inclined to give credit to her account
of what transpired, considering not only her relative vulnerability but also the shame to which she would be exposed
if the matter to which she testified is not true. Youth and immaturity are generally badges of truth and sincerity.
Considering her tender age, AAA could not have invented a horrible story. x x x "

Moreover, appellant’s argument that "AAA" did not manifest any stress or anxiety considering her traumatic
experience is purely speculative and bereft of any legal basis. Besides, it is settled that people react differently when
confronted with a startling experience. There is no standard behavioral response when one is confronted with a
traumatic experience. Some may show signs of stress; but others may act nonchalantly. Nevertheless, "AAA’s"
reaction does not in any way prove the innocence of appellant. As correctly pointed out by the OSG, regardless of
"AAA’s" reactions, it did not diminish the fact that she was raped by appellant or that a crime was committed.28

We also agree with the CA that "CCC’s" efforts to hale appellant to the court should not be equated with ill-motive
on her part. On the contrary, we find "CCC’s" efforts to seek justice for her niece who was raped more in accord with
the norms of society. At any rate, even if we disregard "CCC’s" testimony, appellant’s conviction would still stand.
We agree with the observation of the OSG that "CCC’s" "testimony actually had no great impact on the case. In
truth, her testimony [was] composed mainly of the fact that she was the one who accompanied the mother of "AAA"
in bringing "AAA" to the Pasig General Hospital and thereafter to Camp Crame and later on to the Women’s desk."29

On the other hand, appellant’s alibi and denial are weak defenses especially when weighed against "AAA’s" positive
identification of him as the malefactor. Appellant did not even attempt to show that it was physically impossible for
him to be at the crime scene at the time of its commission. In fact, he admitted that he lived just four houses away
from the house of "AAA". His denial is also unsubstantiated hence the same is self-serving and deserves no
consideration or weight. The RTC properly disregarded the testimony of Rogelio Oletin (Oletin), appellant’s brother-
in-law, who claimed that appellant was at his house at the time of the incident. As appellant already admitted, his
house is near the house of "AAA" hence there was no physical impossibility for him to be present at the crime
scene. Also, the RTC observed that Oletin’s testimony did not "prove beneficial to the defense. Suffice it to state that
the private prosecutor correctly noted that the said witness was always smiling and laughing when answering
questions propounded to him as if making a mockery of the proceedings which his own brother-in-law was facing."30

Pursuant to Article 266-B of the RPC, the penalty for statutory rape (Criminal Case No. 99-16237) is death when the
victim is a child below seven years old. There is no dispute that at the time the rape was committed on April 8, 1999,
"AAA" was only six years old, having been born on April 4, 1993. However, pursuant to Republic Act No. 9346,31the
penalty of reclusion perpetua shall be imposed on the appellant but without eligibility for parole.32 The CA thus
correctly imposed the said penalty on appellant.

On the other hand, rape by sexual assault committed against a child below seven years old is punishable by
reclusion temporal.33 Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, and there being no other aggravating or mitigating
circumstance, the proper imposable penalty shall be prision mayor34 as minimum, to reclusion temporal,35 as
maximum. The CA thus correctly imposed the penalty of eight (8) years and one (1) day ofprision mayor, as
minimum, to seventeen (17) years and four (4) months of reclusion temporal, as maximum, for each count of sexual
assault.

As regards damages, the CA correctly awarded the amounts of ₱75,000.00 as civil indemnity and ₱30,000.00 as
exemplary damages in Criminal Case No. 99-16237 (statutory rape). However, the award of moral damages must
be increased to ₱75,000.00 in line with prevailing jurisprudence.36 As regards Criminal Case No. 99-16235and
Criminal Case No. 99-16236 (rape by sexual assault), the CA likewise properly awarded the amounts of ₱30,000.00
as civil indemnity and ₱30,000.00 as moral damages, for each count. However, the award of exemplary damages
for each count of rape by sexual assault must be increased to ₱30,000.00 in line with prevailing jurisprudence.37 In
addition, all damages awarded shall earn interest at the rate of 6% per annum from date of finality of judgment until
fully paid.

WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED. The October 22, 2010 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-
H.C. No. 03832 which affirmed with modification the July 3, 2008 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo
City, Branch 73 finding appellant Joel Crisostomo y Malliar guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of rape by
sexual assault and one count of statutory rape is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS that the award of moral
damages in Criminal Case No. 99-16237 (statutory rape) is increased to ₱75,000.00 and the award of exemplary
damages in Criminal Case No. 99-16235 and Criminal Case No. 99-16236 (rape by sexual assault) is increased to
₱30,000.00 for each count. In addition, interest is imposed on all damages awarded at the rate of 6% per annum
from date of finality of judgment until fully paid.

SO ORDERED.

MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO


Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 183652, February 25, 2015

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND AAA, Petitioners, v.COURT OF


APPEALS, 21ST DIVISION, MINDANAO STATION, RAYMUND
CARAMPATANA, JOEFHEL OPORTO, AND MOISES
ALQUIZOLA, Respondents.
DECISION

PERALTA, J.:

Before the Court is a Petition for Certiorari questioning the Decision1 of


the Court of Appeals (CA) dated June 6, 2008 in CA-G.R. CR HC No.
00422-MIN. The CA reversed and set aside the Decision2 of the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) of Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte, Branch 21, dated
February 28, 2006 in Criminal Case No. 21-1211, and acquitted private
respondents Raymund Carampatana, Joefhel Oporto, and Moises
Alquizola of the crime of rape for the prosecution’s failure to prove their
guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

In a Second Amended Information dated June 23, 2004, private


respondents Carampatana, Oporto and Alquizola were charged, together
with Christian John Lim, Emmanuel dela Cruz, Samuel Rudinas, Jansen
Roda, Harold Batoctoy, and Joseph Villame, for allegedly raping AAA,3 to
wit:
chanRoblesvi rtua lLawl ibra ry

That on or about 10:30 o’clock in the evening of March 25,


2004 at Alson’s Palace, Maranding, Lala, Lanao del Norte,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
the above-named accused conspiring, confederating and
mutually helping one another, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously, with lewd designs forcefully drunk
AAA, a 16-year-old minor, with an intoxicating liquor and once
intoxicated, brought said AAA at about dawn of March 26, 2004
at Alquizola Lodging house, Maranding, Lala, Lanao del Norte
and also within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, and
once inside said lodging house, accused RAYMUND
CARAMPATANA and JOEPHEL OPORTO took turns in having
carnal knowledge against the will of AAA while accused MOISES
ALQUIZOLA, with lewd designs, kissed her against her will and
consent.

CONTRARY TO LAW.4

Upon arraignment, accused, assisted by their respective counsels,


entered a plea of not guilty to the offense charged.5 cra lawlawlib ra ry

Following pre-trial,6 trial on the merits ensued. Accused Christian John


Lim, however, remains at-large.

The factual antecedents follow:

On March 25, 2004, around 8:00 a.m., AAA attended her high school
graduation ceremony. Afterwards, they had a luncheon party at their
house in Maranding, Lala, Lanao del Norte. AAA then asked permission
from her mother to go to the Maranding Stage Plaza because she and her
bandmates had to perform for an election campaign. She went home at
around 4:00 p.m. from the plaza. At about 7:00 p.m., AAA told her
father that she would be attending a graduation dinner party with her
friends. AAA, together with Lim, Oporto, and Carampatana, ate dinner at
the house of one Mark Gemeno at Purok, Bulahan, Maranding. After
eating, Lim invited them to go to Alson’s Palace, which was merely a
walking distance away from Gemeno’s house. Outside the Alson’s
Palace, they were greeted by Aldrin Montesco, Junver Alquizola, and
Cherry Mae Fiel. After a while, they went inside and proceeded to a
bedroom on the second floor where they again saw Montesco with Harold
Batoctoy, Jansen Roda, Emmanuel dela Cruz, Samuel Rudinas, a certain
Diego, and one Angelo. Rudinas suggested that they have a drinking
session to celebrate their graduation, to which the rest agreed.

They all contributed and it was Joseph Villame who bought the drinks –
two (2) bottles of Emperador Brandy. Then they arranged themselves in
a circle for the drinking spree. Two (2) glasses were being passed
around: one glass containing the sweetener (Pepsi) and the other glass
containing the liquor. At first, AAA refused to drink because she had
never tried hard liquor before. During the session, they shared their
problems with each other. When it was AAA’s turn, she became
emotional and started crying. It was then that she took her first
shot. The glasses were passed around and she consumed more or less
five (5) glasses of Emperador Brandy.

Thereafter, she felt dizzy so she laid her head down on Oporto’s
lap. Oporto then started kissing her head and they would remove her
baseball cap. This angered her so she told them to stop, and simply
tried to hide her face with the cap. But they just laughed at her. Then,
Roda also kissed her. At that time, AAA was already sleepy, but they still
forced her to take another shot. They helped her stand up and make her
drink. She even heard Lim say, “Hubuga na, hubuga na,” (You make her
drunk, you make her drunk). She likewise heard someone say, “You
drink it, you drink it.” She leaned on Oporto’s lap again, then she fell
asleep. They woke her up and Lim gave her the Emperador Brandy
bottle to drink the remaining liquor inside. She tried to refuse but they
insisted, so she drank directly from the bottle. Again, she fell asleep.

The next thing she knew, Roda and Batoctoy were carrying her down the
stairs, and then she was asleep again. When she regained
consciousness, she saw that she was already at the Alquizola Lodging
House. She recognized that place because she had been there
before. She would thereafter fall back asleep and wake up again. And
during one of the times that she was conscious, she saw Oporto on top of
her, kissing her on different parts of her body, and having intercourse
with her. She started crying. She tried to resist when she felt pain in
her genitals. She also saw Carampatana and Moises Alquizola inside the
room, watching as Oporto abused her. At one point, AAA woke up while
Carampatana was inserting his penis into her private organ. She cried
and told him to stop. Alquizola then joined and started to kiss her. For
the last time, she fell unconscious.

When she woke up, it was already 7:00 a.m. of the next day. She was
all alone. Her body felt heavy and exhausted. She found herself with
her shirt on but without her lower garments. The upper half of her body
was on top of the bed but her feet were on the floor. There were also
red stains on her shirt. After dressing up, she hailed a trisikad and went
home. When AAA reached their house, her father was waiting for her
and was already furious. When she told them that she was raped, her
mother started hitting her. They brought her to the Lala Police Station to
make a report. Thereafter, they proceeded to the district hospital for her
medical examination.

Dr. Cyrus Acusta of the Kapatagan District Hospital examined AAA in the
morning of March 26, 2004, and found an old hymenal laceration at 5
o’clock position and hyperemia or redness at the posterior fornices. The
vaginal smear likewise revealed the presence of sperm.

On the other hand, accused denied that they raped AAA. According to
the defense witnesses, in the evening of March 25, 2004, Oporto,
Carampatana, Lim, and AAA had dinner at Gemeno’s house. Gemeno
then invited Oporto to attend the graduation party hosted by Montesco at
Alson’s Palace, owned by the latter’s family. When they reached the
place, Oporto told Montesco that they had to leave for BarangayTenazas
to fetch one Arcie Ariola. At about 11:30 p.m., Oporto and Carampatana
returned to Alson’s Palace but could not find AAA and Lim. The party
subsequently ended, but the group agreed to celebrate further. AAA,
Rudinas, Dela Cruz, Lim, and Oporto contributed for two (2) bottles of
Emperador Brandy and one (1) liter of Pepsi.

Several persons were in the room at that time: AAA, Carampatana,


Oporto, Dela Cruz, Rudinas, Roda, Batoctoy, Villame, and Lim. Also
present but did not join the drinking were Gemeno, Montesco, Angelo
Ugnabia, Al Jalil Diego, Mohamad Janisah Manalao, one Caga, and a
certain Bantulan. Gemeno told AAA not to drink but the latter did not
listen and instead told him not to tell her aunt. During the drinking
session, AAA rested on Oporto’s lap. She even showed her scorpion
tattoo on her buttocks. And when her legs grazed Batoctoy’s crotch, she
remarked, “What was that, penis?” Roda then approached AAA to kiss
her, and the latter kissed him back. Oporto did the same and AAA also
kissed him. After Oporto, Roda and AAA kissed each other again.

Meanwhile, earlier that evening, at around 9:00 p.m., Moises Alquizola


was at the Alquizola Lodging House drinking beer with his cousin, Junver,
and Fiel. They stopped drinking at around midnight. Fiel then requested
Alquizola to accompany her to Alson’s Palace to see her friends
there. They proceeded to the second floor and there they saw AAA lying
on Oporto’s lap. Fiel told AAA to go home because her mother might get
angry. AAA could not look her in the eye, just shook her head, and said,
“I just stay here.” Alquizola and Fiel then went back to the lodging
house. After thirty minutes, they went to Alson’s Palace again, and saw
AAA and Oporto kissing each other. AAA was lying on his lap while
holding his neck. Subsequently, they went back to the lodging house to
resume drinking.

After drinking, Batoctoy offered to bring AAA home. But she refused and
instead instructed them to take her to the Alquizola Lodging House
because she has a big problem. AAA, Lim, and Carampatana rode a
motorcycle to the lodging house. When they arrived, AAA approached
Alquizola and told him, “Kuya, I want to sleep here for the
meantime.” Alquizola then opened Room No. 4 where AAA, Oporto, and
Carampatana stayed. There were two beds inside, a single bed and a
double-sized bed. AAA lay down on the single bed and looked at
Carampatana. The latter approached her and they kissed. He then
removed her shirt and AAA voluntarily raised her hands to give
way. Carampatana likewise removed her brassiere. All the while, Oporto
was at the foot of the bed. Thereafter, Oporto also removed her
pants. AAA even lifted her buttocks to make it easier for him to pull her
underwear down. Oporto then went to AAA and kissed her on the
lips. Carampatana, on the other hand, placed himself in between AAA’s
legs and had intercourse with her. When he finished, he put on his
shorts and went back to Alson’s Palace to get some sleep. When he left,
Oporto and AAA were still kissing. Alquizola then entered the
room. When AAA saw him, she said, “Come Kuya, embrace me because
I have a problem.” Alquizola thus started kissing AAA’s breasts. Oporto
stood up and opened his pants. AAA held his penis and performed
fellatio on him. Then Oporto and Alquizola changed positions. Oporto
proceeded to have sexual intercourse with AAA. During that time, AAA
was moaning and calling his name. Afterwards, Oporto went outside and
slept with Alquizola on the carpet. Oporto then had intercourse with AAA
two more times. At 3:00 a.m., he went back to Alson’s Palace to
sleep. At around 6:00 a.m., Oporto and Carampatana went back to the
lodging house. They tried to wake AAA up, but she did not move so they
just left and went home. Alquizola had gone outside but he came back
before 7:00 a.m. However, AAA was no longer there when he arrived.

On February 28, 2006, the RTC found private respondents Carampatana,


Oporto and Alquizola guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
rape. It, however, acquitted Dela Cruz, Rudinas, Roda, Batoctoy, and
Villame for failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond
reasonable doubt. The dispositive portion of the Decision reads: chanRoblesvirt ual La wlibra ry

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations, judgment


is hereby rendered:

a) Finding accused Raymund Carampatana GUILTY beyond


reasonable doubt of the crime charged, and the Court hereby
sentences him to suffer the indivisible prison term of reclusion
perpetua; to pay AAA the amount of P50,000.00 for and by
way of civil indemnity;

b) Finding accused Joefhel Oporto GUILTY beyond reasonable


doubt of the crime charged, and the court hereby sentences
him to suffer a prison term of six (6) years and one (1) day
of prision mayor as minimum to twelve (12) years also
of prision mayoras maximum; to pay AAA the sum of
P50,000.00 as moral damages and another amount of
P50,000.00 as civil indemnity;

c) Finding accused Moises Alquizola GUILTY beyond reasonable


doubt as ACCOMPLICE in the commission of the crime charged,
and the court hereby sentences him to suffer an indeterminate
prison term of six (6) years and one (1) day of prision
mayor as minimum to twelve (12) years and one (1) day
of reclusion temporal as maximum; to pay AAA the amount of
P30,000.00 as moral damages and another sum of P30,000.00
for and by way of civil indemnity;

d) Finding accused Emmanuel dela Cruz, Samuel Rudinas,


Jansen Roda, Harold Batoctoy and Joseph Villame NOT GUILTY
of the crime charged for failure of the prosecution to prove
their guilt therefor beyond reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the
Court acquits them of said charge; and

e) Ordering accused Carampatana, Oporto and Alquizola to


pay, jointly and severally, the amount of P50,000.00 as
attorney’s fees and expenses of litigations; and the costs of
suit.

The full period of the preventive imprisonment of accused


Carampatana, Oporto and Alquizola shall be credited to them
and deducted from their prison terms provided they comply
with the requirements of Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code.

Accused Raymund Carampatana surrendered voluntarily on 26


March 2004 and detained since then up to the
present. Accused Alquizola also surrendered voluntarily on 26
March 2004 and detained since then up to this time, while
accused Joefhel Oporto who likewise surrendered voluntarily on
26 March 2004 was ordered released to the custody of the
DSWD, Lala, Lanao del Norte on 31 March 2004, and
subsequently posted cash bond for his provisional liberty on 17
September 2004 duly approved by this court, thus resulted to
an order of even date for his release from the custody of the
DSWD.

Let the records of this case be sent to the archive files without
prejudice on the prosecution to prosecute the case against
accused Christian John Lim as soon as he is apprehended.

SO ORDERED.7

Aggrieved by the RTC Decision, private respondents brought the case to


the CA. On June 6, 2008, the appellate court rendered the assailed
Decision reversing the trial court’s ruling and, consequently, acquitted
private respondents. The decretal portion of said decision reads: chanRoblesv irt ual Lawlib rary

WHEREFORE, finding reversible errors therefrom, the Decision


on appeal is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. For lack of
proof beyond reasonable doubt, accused-appellants RAYMUND
CARAMPATANA, JOEFHEL OPORTO and MOISES ALQUIZOLA are
instead ACQUITTED of the crime charged.

SO ORDERED.8

In sum, the CA found that the prosecution failed to prove private


respondents’ guilt beyond reasonable doubt. It gave more credence to
the version of the defense and ruled that AAA consented to the sexual
congress. She was wide awake and aware of what private respondents
were doing before the intercourse. She never showed any physical
resistance, never shouted for help, and never fought against her alleged
ravishers. The appellate court further relied on the medical report which
showed the presence of an old hymenal laceration on AAA’s genitalia,
giving the impression that she has had some carnal knowledge with a
man before. The CA also stressed that AAA’s mother’s unusual reaction
of hitting her when she discovered what happened to her daughter was
more consistent with that of a parent who found out that her child just
had premarital sex rather than one who was sexually assaulted.

On July 29, 2008, AAA, through her private counsel, filed a Petition
for Certiorari9 under Rule 65, questioning the CA Decision which reversed
private respondents’ conviction and ardently contending that the same
was made with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction.

Thus, AAA raises this lone issue in her petition: chanRoblesvirtual Lawlib rary

THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ACTED WITH GRAVE


ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN ACQUITTING THE PRIVATE
RESPONDENTS.10
ChanRobles Vi rtualaw lib rary

The private respondents present the following arguments in their


Comment dated November 7, 2008 to assail the petition: chanRoblesvi rtua lLawl ibra ry

I.

A JUDGMENT OF ACQUITTAL IS IMMEDIATELY FINAL AND


EXECUTORY AND THE PROSECUTION CANNOT APPEAL THE
ACQUITTAL BECAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL PROHIBITION
AGAINST DOUBLE JEOPARDY.

II.

THE PETITIONER FAILED TO PROVE THAT THERE IS GRAVE


ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF
JURISDICTION ON THE PART OF PUBLIC RESPONDENT.

III.

CERTIORARI WILL NOT LIE UNLESS A MOTION FOR


RECONSIDERATION IS FIRST FILED.

IV.

THE OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL IS THE APPELLATE


COUNSEL OF THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES IN ALL
CRIMINAL CASES.11

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed its own Comment on April
1, 2009. It assigns the following errors: chanRoblesvirt ualLaw lib rary

I.

THE PRIVATE COMPLAINANT MAY VALIDLY APPEAL AN ORDER


OF ACQUITTAL AS TO THE CIVIL ASPECT OF THE CRIME.
II.

THE APPELLATE DECISION OF ACQUITTAL IS NULL AND VOID


FOR HAVING BEEN RENDERED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF
JURISDICTION, AN EXCEPTION TO THE PRINCIPLE OF DOUBLE
JEOPARDY.12
ChanRobles Vi rtualaw lib rary

The Court will first resolve the procedural issues.

At the onset, the Court stresses that rules of procedure are meant to be
tools to facilitate a fair and orderly conduct of proceedings. Strict
adherence thereto must not get in the way of achieving substantial
justice. As long as their purpose is sufficiently met and no violation of
due process and fair play takes place, the rules should be liberally
construed.13 Liberal construction of the rules is the controlling principle
to effect substantial justice. The relaxation or suspension of procedural
rules, or the exemption of a case from their operation, is warranted when
compelling reasons exist or when the purpose of justice requires
it. Thus, litigations should, as much as possible, be decided on their
merits and not on sheer technicalities.14 c ralawlawli bra ry

As a general rule, the prosecution cannot appeal or bring error


proceedings from a judgment rendered in favor of the defendant in a
criminal case. The reason is that a judgment of acquittal is immediately
final and executory, and the prosecution is barred from appealing lest the
constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy be violated.15 Section
21, Article III of the Constitution provides: chanRoble svirtual Lawlib rary

Section 21. No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of


punishment for the same offense. If an act is punished by a
law and an ordinance, conviction or acquittal under either shall
constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act.

Despite acquittal, however, either the offended party or the accused may
appeal, but only with respect to the civil aspect of the decision. Or, said
judgment of acquittal may be assailed through a petition
for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court showing that the lower
court, in acquitting the accused, committed not merely reversible errors
of judgment, but also exercised grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction, or a denial of due process, thereby
rendering the assailed judgment null and void.16 If there is grave abuse
of discretion, granting petitioner’s prayer is not tantamount to putting
private respondents in double jeopardy.17 cralaw lawlib rary

As to the party with the proper legal standing to bring the action, the
Court said in People v. Santiago:18 cra lawlawlib ra ry

It is well-settled that in criminal cases where the offended


party is the State, the interest of the private complainant or
the private offended party is limited to the civil liability. Thus,
in the prosecution of the offense, the complainant's role is
limited to that of a witness for the prosecution. If a criminal
case is dismissed by the trial court or if there is an acquittal, an
appeal therefrom on the criminal aspect may be undertaken
only by the State through the Solicitor General. Only the
Solicitor General may represent the People of the Philippines on
appeal. The private offended party or complainant may not
take such appeal. However, the said offended party or
complainant may appeal the civil aspect despite the acquittal of
the accused.

In a special civil action for certiorari filed under Section 1,


Rule 65 of the Rules of Court wherein it is alleged that the trial
court committed a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack of jurisdiction or on other jurisdictional grounds, the rules
state that the petition may be filed by the person
aggrieved. In such case, the aggrieved parties are the
State and the private offended party or complainant. The
complainant has an interest in the civil aspect of the case so he
may file such special civil action questioning the decision
or action of the respondent court on jurisdictional
grounds. In so doing, complainant should not bring the
action in the name of the People of the Philippines. The
action may be prosecuted in [the] name of said
complainant.19
ChanRobles Vi rtualaw lib rary

Private respondents argue that the action should have been filed by the
State through the OSG. True, in criminal cases, the acquittal of the
accused or the dismissal of the case against him can only be appealed by
the Solicitor General, acting on behalf of the State. This is because the
authority to represent the State in appeals of criminal cases before the
Supreme Court and the CA is solely vested in the OSG.20 cralawlawlib ra ry

Here, AAA filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65, albeit at the
instance of her private counsel, primarily imputing grave abuse of
discretion on the part of the CA when it acquitted private
respondents. As the aggrieved party, AAA clearly has the right to bring
the action in her name and maintain the criminal prosecution. She has
an immense interest in obtaining justice in the case precisely because
she is the subject of the violation. Further, as held in Dela Rosa v.
CA,21 where the Court sustained the private offended party’s right in a
criminal case to file a special civil action for certiorari to question the
validity of the judgment of dismissal and ruled that the Solicitor General’s
intervention was not necessary, the recourse of the complainant to the
Court is proper since it was brought in her own name and not in that of
the People of the Philippines. In any event, the OSG joins petitioner’s
cause in its Comment,22 thereby fulfilling the requirement that all
criminal actions shall be prosecuted under the direction and control of the
public prosecutor.23 cralawl awlib rary

Private respondents further claim that even assuming, merely for the
sake of argument, that AAA can file the special civil action
for certiorari without violating their right against double jeopardy, still, it
must be dismissed for petitioner’s failure to previously file a motion for
reconsideration.

True, a motion for reconsideration is a condicio sine qua nonfor the filing
of a petition for certiorari. Its purpose is for the court to have an
opportunity to correct any actual or perceived error attributed to it by re-
examination of the legal and factual circumstances of the case. This rule,
however, is not absolute and admits well-defined exceptions, such as:
(a) where the order is a patent nullity, as where the court a quo has no
jurisdiction; (b) where the questions raised in thecertiorari proceedings
have been duly raised and passed upon by the lower court, or are the
same as those raised and passed upon in the lower court; (c) where
there is an urgent necessity for the resolution of the question and any
further delay would prejudice the interests of the Government or of the
petitioner or the subject matter of the action is perishable; (d) where,
under the circumstances, a motion for reconsideration would be useless;
(e) where petitioner was deprived of due process and there is extreme
urgency for relief; (f) where, in a criminal case, relief from an order of
arrest is urgent and the granting of such relief by the trial court is
improbable; (g) where the proceedings in the lower court are a nullity for
lack of due process; (h) where the proceedings were ex parte or in which
the petitioner had no opportunity to object; and (i) where the issue
raised is one purely of law or where public interest is involved. 24 cralawlawli bra ry

Here, petitioner’s case amply falls within the exception. AAA raises the
same questions as those raised and passed upon in the lower court,
essentially revolving on the guilt of the private respondents. There is
also an urgent necessity to resolve the issues, for any further delay
would prejudice the interests, not only of the petitioner, but likewise that
of the Government. And, as will soon be discussed, the CA decision is a
patent nullity for lack of due process and for having been rendered with
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.

For the writ of certiorari to issue, the respondent court must be shown to
have acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction. An acquittal is considered tainted with grave abuse of
discretion when it is shown that the prosecution’s right to due process
was violated or that the trial conducted was a sham. The burden is on
the petitioner to clearly demonstrate and establish that the respondent
court blatantly abused its authority such as to deprive itself of its very
power to dispense justice.25 cralawlawl ibra ry

AAA claims in her petition that the CA, in evident display of grave abuse
of judicial discretion, totally disregarded her testimony as well as the trial
court’s findings of fact, thereby adopting hook, line, and sinker, the
private respondents’ narration of facts.

The term "grave abuse of discretion" has a specific meaning. An act of a


court or tribunal can only be considered as with grave abuse of discretion
when such act is done in a capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment
as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. It must be so patent and gross as
to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to
perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law,
as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by
reason of passion and hostility.26 There is grave abuse of discretion
when the disputed act of the lower court goes beyond the limits of
discretion thus effecting an injustice.27 cra lawlawlib rary
The Court finds that the petitioner has sufficiently discharged the burden
of proving that the respondent appellate court committed grave abuse of
discretion in acquitting private respondents.

It appears that in reaching its judgment, the CA merely relied on the


evidence presented by the defense and utterly disregarded that of the
prosecution. At first, it may seem that its narration of the facts28 of the
case was meticulously culled from the evidence of both parties. But a
more careful perusal will reveal that it was simply lifted, if not altogether
parroted, from the testimonies of the accused, especially that of
Oporto,29 Carampatana,30 and Alquizola,31 the accused-appellants in the
case before it. The appellate court merely echoed the private
respondents’ testimonies, particularly those as to the specific events that
transpired during the crucial period - from the dinner at Gemeno’s house
to the following morning at the Alquizola Lodging House. As a result, it
presented the private respondents’ account and allegations as though
these were the established facts of the case, which it later conveniently
utilized to support its ruling of acquittal.

Due process requires that, in reaching a decision, a tribunal must


consider the entire evidence presented, regardless of the party who
offered the same.32 It simply cannot acknowledge that of one party and
turn a blind eye to that of the other. It cannot appreciate one party’s
cause and brush the other aside. This rule becomes particularly
significant in this case because the parties tendered contradicting
versions of the incident. The victim is crying rape but the accused are
saying it was a consensual sexual rendezvous. Thus, the CA’s blatant
disregard of material prosecution evidence and outward bias in favor of
that of the defense constitutes grave abuse of discretion resulting in
violation of petitioner’s right to due process.33
cralawlawli bra ry

Moreover, the CA likewise easily swept under the rug the observations of
the RTC and made its own flimsy findings to justify its decision of
acquittal.

First, the appellate court held that AAA was, in fact, conscious during the
whole ordeal. The fact that she never showed any physical resistance,
never cried out for help, and never fought against the private
respondents, bolsters the claim of the latter that the sexual acts were
indeed consensual.
But the CA seemed to forget that AAA was heavily intoxicated at the time
of the assault. Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) provides: chanRoble svirtual Lawli bra ry

Art. 266-A. Rape, When and How Committed. – Rape is


committed–

1. By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman


under any of the following circumstances:
cralaw red

a. Through force, threat or intimidation;


b. When the offended party is deprived of reason or
is otherwise unconscious;
c. By means of fraudulent machination or grave
abuse of authority;
d. When the offended party is under twelve (12)
years of age or is demented, even though none of the
circumstances mentioned above be present;
2. By any person who, under any of the circumstances
mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof, shall commit an act of sexual
assault by inserting his penis into another person’s mouth or
anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into the genital or
anal orifice of another person.

Under the aforecited provision, the elements of rape are: (1) the
offender had carnal knowledge of the victim; and (2) such act was
accomplished through force or intimidation; or when the victim is
deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; or when the victim is under
twelve years of age.34 Here, the accused intentionally made AAA
consume hard liquor more than she could handle. They still forced her to
drink even when she was already obviously inebriated. They never
denied having sexual intercourse with AAA, but the latter was clearly
deprived of reason or unconscious at the time the private respondents
ravished her. The CA, however, readily concluded that she agreed to the
sexual act simply because she did not shout or offer any physical
resistance, disregarding her testimony that she was rendered weak and
dizzy by intoxication, thereby facilitating the commission of the
crime.35 The appellate court never provided any reason why AAA’s
testimony should deserve scant or no weight at all, or why it cannot be
accorded any credence. In reviewing rape cases, the lone testimony of
the victim is and should be, by itself, sufficient to warrant a judgment of
conviction if found to be credible. Also, it has been established that
when a woman declares that she has been raped, she says in effect all
that is necessary to mean that she has been raped, and where her
testimony passes the test of credibility, the accused can be convicted on
that basis alone. This is because from the nature of the offense, the sole
evidence that can usually be offered to establish the guilt of the accused
is the complainant’s testimony itself.36 The trial court correctly ruled that
if AAA was not truthful to her accusation, she would not have opened
herself to the rough and tumble of a public trial. AAA was certainly not
enjoying the prying eyes of those who were listening as she narrated her
harrowing experience.37 cralawlaw lib rary

AAA positively identified the private respondents as the ones who


violated her. She tried to resist, but because of the presence of alcohol,
her assaulters still prevailed. The RTC found AAA’s testimony simple and
candid, indicating that she was telling the truth. The trial court likewise
observed that her answers to the lengthy and humiliating questions were
simple and straightforward, negating the possibility of a rehearsed
testimony.38 Thus: chanRoblesvi rtual Lawl ibra ry

Atty. Jesus M. Generalao (on direct):

xxxx

Q: Now, you said also when the Court asked you that you went
asleep, when did you regain your consciousness?
A: They woke me up and wanted me to drink the remaining
wine inside the bottle of Emperador Brandy. cralawred

xxxx

Q: What do you mean that they hide you (sic) to drink the
remaining contained (sic) of the bottle of Emperador Brandy?
A: They gave me the bottle, sir, and I was trying to refuse but
they insisted.

Q: Who handed over to you that bottle, if you can remember?


A: It was Christian John Lim, sir.

Q: Did you drink that Emperador directly from the bottle?


A: Yes, sir.
Q: What happened after that?
A: I fell asleep again, sir.

Q: When did you regain your consciousness?


A: When somebody was carrying me down to the spiral stairs.

Q: Can you remember the person or persons who was or who


were carrying you?
A: Yes, sir.

Q: Who?
A: They were Jansen Roda and Harold Batoctoy.

Q: If you can still remember, how did Jansen Roda and Harold
Batoctoy carry you?
A: I placed my hands to their shoulder (sic), sir:

xxxx

Q: After that, what happened, if any?


A: I was already asleep, sir, when we went downstairs.

Q: You mean to say that you cannot remember anymore?


A: Yes, sir.

Q: Now, when again did you regain your consciousness?


A: When we entered the room and the light was switch (sic)
on, I was awakened by the flash of light.

Q: Do you have any idea, where were you when you were
awakened that (sic) flash of light.
A: Yes, sir.

Q: Where?
A: Alquizola Lodging House, sir. cralawred

xxxx

Q: When you regained your consciousness from the flash of


light, what happened?
A: I loss (sic) my consciousness again, sir.

Q: So, you fell asleep again?


A: Yes, sir.
cralawred

xxxx

Q: When did you wake-up (sic) again?


A: When I feel (sic) heavy on top of me, sir.

Q: So you wake-up (sic) again, whom did you see?


A: It was Joefhel Oporto, sir.

Q: He was on top of you?


A: Yes, sir. (Witness is crying while answering)

Q: What was you (sic) reaction when you found that Joefhel
Oporto was on top of you?
A: I was starting to cry, sir.

Q: Aside from starting to cry, what else is (sic) your reaction?


A: I was saying don’t because I feel pain my private organ
(sic).

Q: What did Joefhel Oporto do, when you (sic) those words?
A: He was kissing on the different part (sic) of my body then he
sexually abused me.

ATTY. GENERALAO: We want to make it on record, Your Honor,


that the witness is crying.
cralawred

xxxx

ATTY. GENERALAO: May I continue, Your Honor.

COURT: Continue.

ATTY. GENERALAO: Aside from Joefhel Oporto was found (sic)


on top of you, who else was there inside that room?
A: Moises Alquizola and Raymund Carampatana, sir.

Q: With respect to Raymund Carampatana, what was he doing?


A: He was at my feet while looking at us.

Q: Was it dress (sic) up or undressed?


A: Dressed up, sir.

Q: What about Moises Alquizola, what was he doing?


A: He was beside us standing and looking at me, sir.

Q: Was he dressed up or undressed?


A: I could not remember, sir. cralawred

xxxx

Q: After that, what happened?


A: I went asleep again, sir.

Q: Then, when again did you or when again did you wake up?
A: When I feel (sic) pain something inside my private part
(sic), I saw Raymund Carampatana, sir.

Q: On top of you?
A: No, sir, because he was in between my legs, sir.

Q: What was your reaction?


A: I was starting to cry again, sir, and told him don’t.

Q: At that point, who else was inside that room when you
found Raymund Carampatana?
A: Only the three of them, sir.

Q: Including Moises Alquizola?


A: Yes, sir.

Q: What was he doing?


A: He was started (sic) to kiss me.

Q: Where in particular?
A: In my face, sir.

Q: Then after that, what happened?


A: I fell asleep again, sir.

Q: Now, before you went asleep again (sic), what did you feel
when you said that you feel (sic) something in your private part
when you saw Raymund Carampatana?
A: He inserted his penis in my private organ, sir.

Q: Then after that you fell asleep again?


A: Yes, sir.

Q: When did you wake-up (sic)?


A: I woke up at about 7:00 o’clock a.m in the next (sic) day,
sir.39
ChanRobles Vi rtualaw lib rary

On the other hand, the RTC was not convinced with the explanation of
the defense. It noted that their account of the events was seemingly
unusual and incredible.40 Besides, the defense of consensual copulation
was belatedly invoked and seemed to have been a last ditch effort to
avoid culpability. The accused never mentioned about the same at the
pre-trial stage. The trial court only came to know about it when it was
their turn to take the witness stand, catching the court by
surprise.41 More importantly, it must be emphasized that when the
accused in a rape case claims that the sexual intercourse between him
and the complainant was consensual, as in this case, the burden of
evidence shifts to him, such that he is now enjoined to adduce sufficient
evidence to prove the relationship. Being an affirmative defense that
needs convincing proof, it must be established with sufficient evidence
that the intercourse was indeed consensual.42 Generally, the burden of
proof is upon the prosecution to establish each and every element of the
crime and that it is the accused who is responsible for its
commission. This is because in criminal cases, conviction must rest on a
moral certainty of guilt.43 Burden of evidence is that logical necessity
which rests on a party at any particular time during the trial to create
a prima faciecase in his favor or to overthrow one when created against
him. A prima facie case arises when the party having the burden of
proof has produced evidence sufficient to support a finding and
adjudication for him of the issue in litigation.44 However, when the
accused alleges consensual sexual congress, he needs convincing proof
such as love notes, mementos, and credible witnesses attesting to the
romantic or sexual relationship between the offender and his supposed
victim. Having admitted to carnal knowledge of the complainant, the
burden now shifts to the accused to prove his defense by substantial
evidence.45
cralawlawl ibra ry

Here, the accused themselves admitted to having carnal knowledge of


AAA but unfortunately failed to discharge the burden required of
them. Carampatana narrated that upon reaching the room at the lodging
house, AAA lay down on the bed and looked at him. He then approached
her and they kissed. He removed her shirt and brassiere. Thereafter,
Oporto also removed AAA’s lower garments and then went to kiss
AAA. Carampatana then placed himself in between AAA’s legs and had
intercourse with her.46 On the other hand, Oporto himself testified that
he had sexual intercourse with AAA three times. While Carampatana was
removing AAA’s shirt and brassiere, Oporto was watching at the foot of
the bed. Then he removed her pants and underwear, and AAA even
lifted her buttocks to make it easier for him to pull the clothes
down. When Carampatana left after having sexual intercourse with AAA,
according to Oporto, he then stood up, opened his pants, and took out
his penis so that AAA could perform fellatio on him. Then he proceeded
to have sexual intercourse with AAA. Afterwards, Oporto went outside
and slept with Alquizola on the carpet. After a few minutes, he woke up
and went back to the room and again had intercourse with AAA. He went
back to sleep and after some time, he woke up to the sound of AAA
vomitting. Shortly thereafter, he made love with AAA for the third and
last time.47 Despite said shameless admission, however, the accused
failed to sufficiently prove that the lack of any physical resistance on
AAA’s part amounts to approval or permission. They failed to show that
AAA had sexual intercourse with them out of her own volition, and not
simply because she was seriously intoxicated at that time, and therefore
could not have given a valid and intelligent consent to the sexual act.

The RTC also noticed that Fiel, one of the defense witnesses, was showy
and exaggerated when testifying, even flashing a thumbs-up to some of
the accused after her testimony, an indication of a rehearsed
witness.48 To be believed, the testimony must not only proceed from the
mouth of a credible witness; it must be credible in itself such as the
common experience and observation of mankind can approve as
probable under the attending circumstances.49cralawlaw lib rary
When it comes to credibility, the trial court's assessment deserves great
weight, and is even conclusive and binding, if not tainted with
arbitrariness or oversight of some fact or circumstance of weight and
influence. The reason is obvious. Having the full opportunity to observe
directly the witnesses’ deportment and manner of testifying, the trial
court is in a better position than the appellate court to properly evaluate
testimonial evidence.50 Matters of credibility are addressed basically to
the trial judge who is in a better position than the appellate court to
appreciate the weight and evidentiary value of the testimonies of
witnesses who have personally appeared before him.51 The appellate
courts are far detached from the details and drama during trial and have
to rely solely on the records of the case in its review. On the matter of
credence and credibility of witnesses, therefore, the Court acknowledges
said limitations and recognizes the advantage of the trial court whose
findings must be given due deference.52 Since the CA and the private
respondents failed to show any palpable error, arbitrariness, or
capriciousness on the findings of fact of the trial court, these findings
deserve great weight and are deemed conclusive and binding.53 cralawlawl ib rary

The CA continued, belaboring on the fact that the examining physician


found old hymenal laceration on AAA’s private organ. The lack of a fresh
hymenal laceration, which is expected to be present when the alleged
sexual encounter is involuntary, could mean that AAA actually consented
to the fornication. According to Dr. Acusta, when sex is consensual, the
vagina becomes lubricated and the insertion of the penis will not cause
any laceration. It presumed that complainant, therefore, was no longer
innocent considering the presence of old hymenal laceration that could
have resulted from her previous sexual encounters. The defense,
however, failed to show that AAA was sexually promiscuous and known
for organizing or even joining sex orgies. It must be noted that AAA was
a minor, barely 17 years old at the time of the incident, having just
graduated from high school on that same day. In a similar case,54 the
Court held:chanRoblesvi rt ualLaw lib rary

x x x Indeed, no woman would have consented to have


sexual intercourse with two men — or three, according to
Antonio Gallardo — in the presence of each other, unless
she were a prostitute or as morally debased as one.
Certainly, the record before Us contains no indication that
Farmacita, a 14-year old, first-year high school student, can be
so characterized. On the contrary, her testimony in court
evinced the simplicity and candor peculiar to her youth. In fact,
appellants could not even suggest any reason why Farmacita
would falsely impute to them the commission of the crime
charged.55
ChanRobles Vi rtualaw lib rary

No woman, especially one of tender age, would concoct a story of


defloration, allow an examination of her private parts, and be subjected
to public trial and humiliation if her claim were not true.56 And even if
she were indeed highly promiscuous at such a young age, the same
could still not prove that no rape was actually committed. Even a
complainant who was a woman of loose morals could still be the victim of
rape. Even a prostitute may be a victim of rape. The victim’s moral
character in rape is immaterial where, as in this case, it is shown that the
victim was deprived of reason or was rendered unconscious through
intoxication to enable the private respondents to have sex with
her. Moreover, the essence of rape is the carnal knowledge of a woman
against her consent.57 A freshly broken hymen is not one of its essential
elements. Even if the hymen of the victim was still intact, the possibility
of rape cannot be ruled out. Penetration of the penis by entry into the
lips of the vagina, even without rupture or laceration of the hymen, is
enough to justify a conviction for rape. To repeat, rupture of the hymen
or laceration of any part of the woman’s genitalia is not indispensable to
a conviction for rape.58 cralawlawl ib rary

Neither does AAA’s mother’s act of hitting her after learning about the
rape prove anything. It is a truism that “the workings of the human
mind when placed under emotional stress are unpredictable, and the
people react differently.”59 Different people react differently to a given
type of situation, and there is no standard form of behavioral response
when one is confronted with a strange, startling or frightful
experience.60 At most, it merely indicates the frustration and dismay of
a mother upon learning that her daughter had been defiled after partying
late the night before. It is a settled rule that when there is no showing
that private complainant was impelled by improper motive in making the
accusation against the accused, her complaint is entitled to full faith and
credence.61 So if AAA in fact consented to the sexual act, why did she
still need to immediately tell her parents about it when she could have
just kept it to herself? Why did she ever have to shout rape? She was
not caught in the act of making love with any of the private
respondents,62 nor was she shown to have been in a relationship with
any of them of which her family disapproved.63 She never became
pregnant as a result of the deed. And if AAA cried rape to save her
reputation, why would she have to drag the private respondents into the
case and identify them as her rapists? Absent any circumstance
indicating the contrary, she brought the charge against the private
respondents simply because she was, in fact, violated and she wants to
obtain justice. Her zeal in prosecuting the case, even after the CA had
already acquitted the private respondents, evinces the truth that she
merely seeks justice for her honor that has been
debased.64 Unfortunately, the CA chose to ignore these telling pieces of
evidence. Its findings are against the logic and effect of the facts as
presented by AAA in support of her complaint,65contrary to common
human experience, and in utter disregard of the relevant laws and
jurisprudence on the crime of rape.

Lastly, the trial court pronounced that Alquizola was not part of the
conspiracy because his participation in the crime was
uncertain,66 citing People v. Lobrigo.67 It found that his participation was
not in furtherance of the plan, if any, to commit the crime of rape. 68 The
Court, however, finds that the RTC erred in ruling that Alquizola’s liability
is not of a conspirator, but that of a mere accomplice. To establish
conspiracy, it is not essential that there be proof as to previous
agreement to commit a crime, it being sufficient that the malefactors
shall have acted in concert pursuant to the same objective. Conspiracy
is proved if there is convincing evidence to sustain a finding that the
malefactors committed an offense in furtherance of a common objective
pursued in concert.69 Proof of conspiracy need not even rest on direct
evidence, as the same may be inferred from the collective conduct of the
parties before, during or after the commission of the crime indicating a
common understanding among them with respect to the commission of
the offense.70cralawlawl ibra ry

In Lobrigo, the Court declared: chanRoblesvi rtua l Lawlib rary

We note that the testimonies of witnesses with respect to


Gregorio's and Dominador's participation in the crime conflict
on material points.

Doubt exists as to whether Gregorio and Dominador


were carrying weapons during the mauling and whether they
participated in the mauling by more than just boxing the
victim. Noel stated that they did not, Domingo stated that
they did.

In conspiracy, evidence as to who administered the fatal blow


is not necessary. In this case, the rule is not applicable
because conspiracy with respect to Gregorio and Dominador is
not proven. Their exact participation in the crime is
uncertain.71 (Emphasis Supplied)

In People v. Dela Torre,72 the Court upheld the findings of the lower
courts that there was conspiracy: chanRoblesvi rtua lLawl ibra ry

The RTC held that:

While [it] is true that it was only Leo Amoroso who actually
ravished the victim based on the testimony of the private
complainant that Amoroso succeeded in inserting his penis to
her private parts and that Reynaldo dela Torre and Ritchie
Bisaya merely kissed her and fondled her private parts,
accused [D]ela Torre can likewise be held liable for the bestial
acts of Amoroso as it is quite apparent that the three of them
conspired and mutually helped one another in raping the young
victim.

The Court of Appeals held that:

[W]hile [Dela Torre] did not have carnal knowledge with [AAA],
his tacit and spontaneous participation and cooperation of
pulling her towards the parked jeep, molesting her and
doing nothing to prevent the commission of the rape,
made him a co-conspirator. As such, he was properly
adjudged as a principal in the commission of the crime.73
ChanRobles Vi rtualaw lib rary

Here, unlike in the foregoing case of Lobrigo, Alquizola’s participation in


the crime is not at all uncertain. As the caretaker of the Alquizola
Lodging House, he provided a room so the rape could be accomplished
with ease and furtiveness. He was likewise inside the room, intently
watching, while Oporto and Carampatana sexually abused AAA. He did
not do anything to stop the bestial acts of his companions. He even
admitted to kissing AAA’s lips, breasts, and other parts of her
body. Indubitably, there was conspiracy among Carampatana, Oporto,
and Alquizola to sexually abuse AAA. Hence, the act of any one was the
act of all, and each of them, Alquizola including, is equally guilty of the
crime of rape. While it is true that the RTC found Alquizola guilty as
mere accomplice, when he appealed from the decision of the trial
court,74 he waived the constitutional safeguard against double jeopardy
and threw the whole case open to the review of the appellate court,
which is then called upon to render such judgment as law and justice
dictate, whether favorable or unfavorable to the accused-appellant.75 cralawlawli bra ry

Finally, the Court notes that although the prosecution filed only a single
Information, it, however, actually charged the accused of several
rapes. As a general rule, a complaint or information must charge only
one offense, otherwise, the same is defective.76 The rationale behind
this rule prohibiting duplicitous complaints or informations is to give the
accused the necessary knowledge of the charge against him and enable
him to sufficiently prepare for his defense. The State should not heap
upon the accused two or more charges which might confuse him in his
defense.77 Non-compliance with this rule is a ground78 for quashing the
duplicitous complaint or information under Rule 117 of the Rules on
Criminal Procedure and the accused may raise the same in a motion to
quash before he enters his plea,79otherwise, the defect is deemed
waived.80 The accused herein, however, cannot avail of this defense
simply because they did not file a motion to quash questioning the
validity of the Information during their arraignment. Thus, they are
deemed to have waived their right to question the same. Also, where
the allegations of the acts imputed to the accused are merely different
counts specifying the acts of perpetration of the same crime, as in the
instant case, there is no duplicity to speak of.81 There is likewise no
violation of the right of the accused to be informed of the charges against
them because the Information, in fact, stated that they “took turns in
having carnal knowledge against the will of AAA” on March 25,
2004.82 Further, allegations made and the evidence presented to support
the same reveal that AAA was indeed raped and defiled several
times. Here, according to the accused themselves, after undressing AAA,
Carampatana positioned himself in between her legs and had intercourse
with her. On the other hand, Oporto admitted that he had sexual
intercourse with AAA three times. When two or more offenses are
charged in a single complaint or information but the accused fails to
object to it before trial, the court may convict him of as many offenses as
are charged and proved, and impose upon him the proper penalty for
each offense.83 Carampatana, Oporto, and Alquizola can then be held
liable for more than one crime of rape, or a total of four (4) counts in all,
with conspiracy extant among the three of them during the commission
of each of the four violations. Each of the accused shall thus be held
liable for every act of rape committed by the other. But while Oporto
himself testified that he inserted his sexual organ into AAA’s mouth, the
Court cannot convict him of rape through sexual assault therefor because
the same was not included in the Information. This is, however, without
prejudice to the filing of a case of rape through sexual assault as long as
prescription has not yet set in.

Anent the appropriate penalty to be imposed, rape committed by two or


more persons is punishable by reclusion perpetua to death under Article
266-B of the RPC. But in view of the presence of the mitigating
circumstance of voluntary surrender and the absence of an aggravating
circumstance to offset the same, the lighter penalty of reclusion
perpetua shall be imposed upon them,84 for each count. With regard to
Oporto, appreciating in his favor the privileged mitigating circumstance of
minority, the proper imposable penalty upon him is reclusion temporal,
being the penalty next lower to reclusion perpetua to death. Being a
divisible penalty, the Indeterminate Sentence Law is applicable. Applying
the Indeterminate Sentence Law, Oporto can be sentenced to an
indeterminate penalty the minimum of which shall be within the range of
prision mayor (the penalty next lower in degree to reclusion temporal)
and the maximum of which shall be within the range of reclusion
temporal in its minimum period, there being the ordinary mitigating
circumstance of voluntary surrender, and there being no aggravating
circumstance.85 With that, the Court shall impose the indeterminate
penalty of imprisonment from six (6) years and one (1) day of prision
mayor as minimum to twelve (12) years and one (1) day of reclusion
temporal as maximum, for each count of rape committed.86 However,
Oporto shall be entitled to appropriate disposition under Section 51, R.A.
No. 9344,87 which extends even to one who has exceeded the age limit
of twenty-one (21) years, so long as he committed the crime when he
was still a child,88 and provides for the confinement of convicted children
as follows:89
cralawlawl ibra ry

Sec. 51. Confinement of Convicted Children in


Agricultural Camps and Other Training Facilities. – A child
in conflict with the law may, after conviction and upon order of
the court, be made to serve his/her sentence, in lieu of
confinement in a regular penal institution, in an agricultural
camp and other training facilities that may be established,
maintained, supervised and controlled by the BUCOR, in
coordination with the DSWD.

Hence, in the proper execution of judgment by the lower court, the


foregoing provision should be taken into consideration by the judge in
order to accord children in conflict with the law, who have already gone
beyond twenty-one (21) years of age, the proper treatment envisioned
by law.

As to their civil liability, all of them shall pay AAA the amount of
P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and another P50,000.00 as moral
damages, in each case. Exemplary damages of P30,000.00 shall likewise
be imposed by way of an example and to deter others from committing
the same bestial acts.

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, the petition is GRANTED.


The assailed Decision dated June 6, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-
G.R. CR HC No. 00422-MIN is REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. The Court
hereby renders judgment:
a) Finding accused-respondent Raymund Carampatana GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt
of four (4) counts of rape, and the Court hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty
of reclusion perpetua in each case;
b) Finding accused-respondent Joefhel Oporto GUILTYbeyond reasonable doubt of four
(4) counts of rape, and the Court hereby sentences him to suffer the indeterminate
penalty of imprisonment from six (6) years and one (1) day of prision mayor as
minimum to twelve (12) years and one (1) day of reclusion temporal as maximum, in
each case; and
c) Finding accused-respondent Moises Alquizola GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of four
(4) counts of rape, and the Court hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of
reclusion perpetua in each case.

The Court hereby ORDERS the accused-respondents to pay AAA, jointly


and severally, the amounts of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00
as moral damages, and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages, for each of
the four (4) counts of rape. The case is REMANDED to the court of
origin for its appropriate action in accordance with Section 51 of Republic
Act No. 9344.

Let the records of this case be forwarded to the court of origin for the
execution of judgment.

SO ORDERED. chanroblesv irt uallawl i brary

Velasco, Jr., (Chairperson), Villarama, Jr., Mendoza,* andReyes, JJ.,


concur. chanrobleslaw

G.R. No. 178321. October 5, 2011.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. CONRADO LAOG y RAMIN, accused-appellant.

Criminal Law; Witnesses; Jurisprudence has decreed that the issue of credibility of witnesses is a question
best addressed to the province of the trial court because of its unique position of having observed that
elusive and incommunicable evidence of the witnesses’ deportment on the stand while testifying which
opportunity is denied to the appellate courts.—Appellant principally attacks the credibility of prosecution
witness AAA. Jurisprudence has decreed that the issue of credibility of witnesses is “a question best
addressed to the province of the trial court because of its unique position of having observed that elusive
and incommunicable evidence of the witnesses’ deportment on the stand while testifying which
opportunity is denied to the appellate courts” and “absent any substantial reason which would justify the
reversal of the trial court’s assessments and conclusions, the reviewing court is generally bound by the
former’s findings, particularly when no significant facts and circumstances are shown to have been
overlooked or disregarded which when considered would have affected the outcome of the case.” This rule
is even more stringently applied if the appellate court concurred with the trial court.

Same; Same; Alibi and Denial; Positive identification of the accused, when categorical and consistent and
without any showing of ill motive on the part of the eyewitness testifying, should prevail over the alibi and
denial of the accused whose testimony is not substantiated by clear and convincing evidence.—On the other
hand, appellant merely interposed the defense of denial and alibi. He claimed that at the time of the
incident, he was at his house with his children and nephew cooking dinner. His defense, however, cannot
prevail over the straightforward and credible testimony of AAA who positively identified him as the
perpetrator of the murder and rape. Time and again, we have held that positive identification of the
accused, when categorical and consistent and without any showing of ill motive on the part of the
eyewitness testifying, should prevail over the alibi and denial of the appellant whose testimony is not
substantiated by clear and convincing evidence. AAA was firm and unrelenting in pointing to appellant as
the one who attacked her and Jennifer, stabbing the latter to death before raping AAA. It should be noted
that AAA knew appellant well since they were relatives by affinity. As correctly held by the CA, with
AAA’s familiarity and proximity with the appellant during the commission of the crime, her identification
of appellant could not be doubted or mistaken. In fact, AAA, upon encountering appellant, did not run
away as she never thought her own uncle would harm her and her friend. Moreover, the most natural
reaction of victims of violence is to strive to see the appearance of the perpetrators of the crime and
observe the manner in which the crime is being committed. There is no evidence to show any improper
motive on the part of AAA to testify falsely against appellant or to falsely implicate him in the
commission of a crime. Thus, the logical conclusion is that the testimony is worthy of full faith and
credence.

Same; Same; Rape; It cannot be overemphasized that the credibility of a rape victim is not diminished, let
alone impaired, by minor inconsistencies in her testimony.—Based on AAA’s account, appellant did not
undress her completely—her blouse and bra were merely lifted up (“nililis”) while her undergarments
were just pulled down, which therefore explains why she still had her clothes on when she crawled to her
grandfather’s farm. Nonetheless, this matter raised by appellant is a minor detail which had nothing to
do with the elements of the crime of rape. Discrepancies referring only to minor details and collateral
matters—not to the central fact of the crime—do not affect the veracity or detract from the essential
credibility of witnesses’ declarations, as long as these are coherent and intrinsically believable on the
whole. For a discrepancy or inconsistency in the testimony of a witness to serve as a basis for acquittal, it
must establish beyond doubt the innocence of the appellant for the crime charged. It cannot be
overemphasized that the credibility of a rape victim is not diminished, let alone impaired, by minor
inconsistencies in her testimony.

Same; Same; Same; The foremost consideration in the prosecution of rape is the victim’s testimony and not
the findings of the medico-legal officer.—As to the fact that the physician who examined AAA at the
hospital did not testify during the trial, we find this not fatal to the prosecution’s case. It must be
underscored that the fore most consideration in the prosecution of rape is the victim’s testimony and not
the findings of the medico-legal officer. In fact, a medical examination of the victim is not indispensable in
a prosecution for rape; the victim’s testimony alone, if credible, is sufficient to convict. Thus we have ruled
that a medical examination of the victim, as well as the medical certificate, is merely corroborative in
character and is not an indispensable element for conviction in rape. What is important is that the
testimony of private complainant about the incident is clear, unequivocal and credible, as what we find in
this case.

Same; Rape with Homicide; Complex Crimes; Special Complex Crimes (Composite Crimes); Words and
Phrases; Composite crimes are neither of the same legal basis as nor subject to the rules on complex crimes
in Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, since they do not consist of a single act giving rise to two or more
grave or less grave felonies (compound crimes) nor do they involve an offense being a necessary means to
commit another (complex crime proper); Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, provides
only a single penalty for the composite acts of rape and the killing committed by reason or on the occasion
of the rape.—A special complex crime, or more properly, a composite crime, has its own definition and
special penalty in the Revised Penal Code, as amended. Justice Regalado, in his Separate Opinion in the
case of People v. Barros, 245 SCRA 312 (1995),explained that composite crimes are “neither of the same
legal basis as nor subject to the rules on complex crimes in Article 48 [of the Revised Penal Code], since
they do not consist of a single act giving rise to two or more grave or less grave felonies [compound crimes]
nor do they involve an offense being a necessary means to commit another [complex crime proper].
However, just like the regular complex crimes and the present case of aggravated illegal possession of
firearms, only a single penalty is imposed for each of such composite crimes although composed of two or
more offenses.” Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, provides only a single penalty for
the composite acts of rape and the killing committed by reason or on the occasion of the rape.

Same; Same; Same; Same; In rape with homicide, it is immaterial that the person killed is someone other
than the woman victim of the rape.—The facts established showed that the constitutive elements of rape
with homicide were consummated, and it is immaterial that the person killed in this case is someone
other than the woman victim of the rape. An analogy may be drawn from our rulings in cases of robbery
with homicide, where the component acts of homicide, physical injuries and other offenses have been
committed by reason or on the occasion of robbery.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Aggravating Circumstances; Words and Phrases; In the special complex crime
of rape with homicide, the term “homicide” is to be understood in its generic sense, and includes murder
and slight physical injuries committed by reason or on occasion of the rape; As in the case of robbery with
homicide, the aggravating circumstance of treachery is to be considered as a generic aggravating
circumstance only.—In the special complex crime of rape with homicide, the term “homicide” is to be
understood in its generic sense, and includes murder and slight physical injuries committed by reason or
on occasion of the rape. Hence, even if any or all of the circumstances (treachery, abuse of superior
strength and evident premeditation) alleged in the information have been duly established by the
prosecution, the same would not qualify the killing to murder and the crime committed by appellant is
still rape with homicide. As in the case of robbery with homicide, the aggravating circumstance of
treachery is to be considered as a generic aggravating circumstance only.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Abuse of Superior Strength; The aggravating circumstance of abuse of
superior strength is considered whenever there is notorious inequality of forces between the victim and the
aggressor that is plainly and obviously advantageous to the aggressor and purposely selected or taken
advantage of to facilitate the commission of the crime.—The aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior
strength is considered whenever there is notorious inequality of forces between the victim and the
aggressor that is plainly and obviously advantageous to the aggressor and purposely selected or taken
advantage of to facilitate the commission of the crime. It is taken into account whenever the aggressor
purposely used excessive force that is out of proportion to the means of defense available to the person
attacked.

Same; Same; Damages; Exemplary Damages; Even without the attendance of aggravating circumstances,
exemplary damages may still be awarded where the circumstances of the case show the “highly
reprehensible or outrageous conduct of the offender.”—The failure of the prosecution to allege in the
information AAA’s relationship to appellant will not bar the consideration of the said circumstance in the
determination of his civil liability. In any case, even without the attendance of aggravating
circumstances, exemplary damages may still be awarded where the circumstances of the case show the
“highly reprehensible or outrageous conduct of the offender.”

FIRST DIVISION

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


Plaintiff-Appellee, G.R. No. 178321

Present:

- versus - CORONA, C.J.,


Chairperson,
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
BERSAMIN,
DEL CASTILLO, and
VILLARAMA, JR., JJ.
CONRADO LAOG y RAMIN,

Accused-Appellant. Promulgated:

October 5, 2011
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x

DECISION

VILLARAMA, JR., J.:


For our review is the March 21, 2007 Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR HC
No. 00234 which affirmed appellants conviction for murder in Criminal Case No. 2162-M-2000
and rape in Criminal Case No. 2308-M-2000.

Appellant Conrado Laog y Ramin was charged with murder before the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 11, of Malolos, Bulacan. The Information,[2] which was docketed as Criminal Case No.
2162-M-2000, alleged:
That on or about the 6th day of June, 2000, in the municipality of San Rafael, province of Bulacan,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed with a
lead pipe and with intent to kill one Jennifer Patawaran-Rosal, did then and there wil[l]fully, unlawfully
and feloniously, with evident premeditation, abuse of superior strength and treachery, attack, assault and
hit with the said lead pipe the said Jennifer Patawaran-Rosal, thereby inflicting upon said Jennifer
Patawaran-Rosal serious physical injuries which directly caused her death.

Contrary to law.

He was likewise charged before the same court with the crime of rape of AAA. [3]The second
Information,[4] which was docketed as Criminal Case No. 2308-M-2000, alleged:
That on or about the 6th day of June, 2000, in the municipality of San Rafael, province of Bulacan,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with lewd
designs, by means of force, violence and intimidation, that is, by attacking and hitting with a lead pipe one
[AAA] which resulted [in] her incurring serious physical injuries that almost caused her death, and while
in such defenseless situation, did then and there have carnal knowledge of said [AAA] against her will and
consent.

Contrary to law.

When arraigned, appellant pleaded not guilty to both charges. The two cases were thereafter
tried jointly because they arose from the same incident.

The prosecution presented as its principal witness AAA, the rape victim who was 19 years
old at the time of the incident. Her testimony was corroborated by her grandfather BBB, Dr. Ivan
Richard Viray, and her neighbor CCC.

AAA testified that at around six oclock in the evening of June 6, 2000, she and her friend,
Jennifer Patawaran-Rosal, were walking along the rice paddies on their way to apply for work at
a canteen near the National Highway in Sampaloc, San Rafael, Bulacan. Suddenly, appellant,
who was holding an ice pick and a lead pipe, waylaid them and forcibly brought them to a grassy
area at the back of a concrete wall. Without warning, appellant struck AAA in the head with the
lead pipe causing her to feel dizzy and to fall down. When Jennifer saw this, she cried out for
help but appellant also hit her on the head with the lead pipe, knocking her down. Appellant
stabbed Jennifer several times with the ice pick and thereafter covered her body with thick
grass.[5] Appellant then turned to AAA. He hit AAA in the head several times more with the lead
pipe and stabbed her on the face. While AAA was in such defenseless position, appellant pulled
down her jogging pants, removed her panty, and pulled up her blouse and bra. He then went on
top of her, sucked her breasts and inserted his penis into her vagina. After raping AAA, appellant
also covered her with grass. At that point, AAA passed out.[6]

When AAA regained consciousness, it was nighttime and raining hard. She crawled until
she reached her uncles farm at daybreak on June 8, 2000.[7] When she saw him, she waved at
him for help. Her uncle, BBB, and a certain Nano then brought her to Carpa Hospital in Baliuag,
Bulacan where she stayed for more than three weeks. She later learned that Jennifer had died.[8]

During cross-examination, AAA explained that she did not try to run away when appellant
accosted them because she trusted appellant who was her uncle by affinity. She said that she
never thought he would harm them.[9]

BBB testified that on June 8, 2000, at about six oclock in the morning, he was at his rice field at
Sampaloc, San Rafael, Bulacan when he saw a woman waving a hand and then fell down. The
woman was about 200 meters away from him when he saw her waving to him, and he did not
mind her. However, when she was about 100 meters away from him, he recognized the woman
as AAA, his granddaughter. He immediately approached her and saw that her face was swollen,
with her hair covering her face, and her clothes all wet. He asked AAA what happened to her,
and AAA uttered, Si Tata Coni referring to appellant who is his son-in-law.[10]With the help of his
neighbor, he brought AAA home.[11] AAA was later brought to Carpa Hospital in Baliuag, Bulacan
where she recuperated for three weeks.

CCC, neighbor of AAA and Jennifer, testified that sometime after June 6, 2000, she visited AAA
at the hospital and asked AAA about the whereabouts of Jennifer.AAA told her to look for
Jennifer somewhere at Buenavista. She sought the assistance of Barangay Officials and they
went to Buenavista where they found Jennifers cadaver covered with grass and already
bloated.[12]

Meanwhile, Dr. Ivan Richard Viray, a medico-legal officer of the Province of Bulacan, conducted
the autopsy on the remains of Jennifer. His findings are as follows:
the body is in advanced stage of decomposition[;] eyeballs and to[n]gue were protru[d]ed; the lips and
abdomen are swollen; desquamation and bursting of bullae and denudation of the epidermis in the head,
trunks and on the upper extremities[;] [f]rothy fluid and maggots coming from the nose, mouth, genital
region and at the site of wounds, three (3) lacerations at the head[;] two (2) stab wounds at the
submandibular region[;] four [4] punctured wounds at the chest of the victim[.]

cause of death of the victim was hemorrhagic shock as result of stab wounds [in] the head and trunk.[13]
The prosecution and the defense also stipulated on the testimony of Elizabeth Patawaran,
Jennifers mother, as to the civil aspect of Criminal Case No. 2162-M-2000. It was stipulated
that she spent P25,000 for Jennifers funeral and burial.[14]

Appellant, on the other hand, denied the charges against him. Appellant testified that he
was at home cooking dinner around the time the crimes were committed. With him were his
children, Ronnie, Jay, Oliver and Conrado, Jr. and his nephew, Rey Laog. At around seven oclock,
he was arrested by the police officers of San Rafael, Bulacan. He learned that his wife had
reported him to the police after he went wild that same night and struck with a lead pipe a man
whom he saw talking to his wife inside their house. When he was already incarcerated, he
learned that he was being charged with murder and rape.[15]

Appellant further testified that AAA and Jennifer frequently went to his nipa hut whenever they
would ask for rice or money. He claimed that in the evening of June 5, 2000, AAA and Jennifer
slept in his nipa hut but they left the following morning at around seven oclock. An hour later,
he left his house to have his scythe repaired. However, he was not able to do so because that
was the time when he went wild after seeing his wife with another man. He admitted that
his nipa hut is more or less only 100 meters away from the scene of the crime.[16]

The defense also presented appellants nephew, Rey Laog, who testified that he went to
appellants house on June 5, 2000, at around three oclock in the afternoon, and saw AAA and
Jennifer there. He recalled seeing AAA and Jennifer before at his uncles house about seven times
because AAA and his uncle had an illicit affair.He further testified that appellant arrived
before midnight on June 5, 2000 and slept with AAA. The following morning, at around six
oclock, AAA and Jennifer went home. He and appellant meanwhile left the house
together. Appellant was going to San Rafael to have his scythe repaired while he proceeded to
his house in Pinakpinakan, San Rafael, Bulacan.[17]

After trial, the RTC rendered a Joint Decision[18] on June 30, 2003 finding appellant guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of both crimes. The dispositive portion of the RTC decision reads:
WHEREFORE, in Crim. Case No. 2162-M-2000, this court finds the accused Conrado Laog GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of Murder under Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and hereby sentences
him to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua and to pay the heirs of Jennifer Patawaran, the following
sums of money:

a. P60,000.00 as civil indemnity;


b. P50,000.00 as moral damages;
c. P30,000.00 as exemplary damages.

WHEREFORE, in Crim. Case No. 2308-M-2000, this Court hereby finds the accused Conrado Laog GUILTY
beyond reasonable doubt of Rape under Art. 266-A par. (a) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and
hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua and to pay the private complainant the
following sums of money.

a. P50,000.00 as civil indemnity;


b. P50,000.00 as moral damages;
c. P30,000.00 as exemplary damages.

SO ORDERED.[19]

Appellant appealed his conviction to this Court. But conformably with our
pronouncement in People v. Mateo,[20] the case was referred to the CA for appropriate action
and disposition.

In a Decision dated March 21, 2007, the CA affirmed with modification the trial courts judgment.
The dispositive portion of the CA decision reads:
WHEREFORE, the instant Appeal is DISMISSED. The assailed Joint Decision, dated June 30, 2003, of the
Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 11, in Criminal Case Nos. 2162-M-2000 & 2308-M-2000,
is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. In Criminal Case [No.] 2162-M-2000, Accused-Appellant is
further ordered to pay the heirs of Jennifer Patawaran [an] additional P25,000.00 as actual damages. The
exemplary damages awarded by the Trial Court in 2162-M-2000 & 2308-M-2000 are hereby reduced to
P25,000.00 each.

SO ORDERED.[21]

Appellant is now before this Court assailing the CAs affirmance of his conviction for both crimes
of rape and murder. In a Resolution[22] dated August 22, 2007, we required the parties to submit
their respective Supplemental Briefs, if they so desire. However, the parties submitted separate
Manifestations in lieu of Supplemental Briefs, adopting the arguments in their respective briefs
filed in the CA. Appellant had raised the following errors allegedly committed by the trial court:
I

THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING CREDENCE TO THE INCONSISTENT AND INCREDIBLE
TESTIMONY OF PROSECUTION WITNESS [AAA].

II

THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY OF THE CRIMES
CHARGED DESPITE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.[23]

Appellant asserts that the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt
for the killing of Jennifer Patawaran-Rosal and the rape of AAA.He assails AAAs credibility, the
prosecutions main witness, and points out alleged inconsistencies in her testimony. Appellant
also contends that the prosecution failed to establish that he carefully planned the execution of
the crimes charged.According to him, AAAs narration that he waylaid them while walking along
the rice paddies on their way to apply for work negates evident premeditation since there was
no evidence that the said path was their usual route.

Appellant further contends that the trial court and CA erred in appreciating the qualifying
circumstance of abuse of superior strength. He argues that for abuse of superior strength to be
appreciated in the killing of Jennifer, the physical attributes of both the accused and the victim
should have been shown in order to determine whether the accused had the capacity to
overcome the victim physically or whether the victim was substantially weak and unable to put
up a defense. Additionally, he attempts to cast doubt upon AAAs testimony, arguing that it
lacked some details on how, after she was raped and stabbed by appellant, she was still able to
put on her clothes and crawl to her grandfathers farm.

The appeal lacks merit.

Appellant principally attacks the credibility of prosecution witness AAA.Jurisprudence has


decreed that the issue of credibility of witnesses is a question best addressed to the province of
the trial court because of its unique position of having observed that elusive and
incommunicable evidence of the witnesses deportment on the stand while testifying which
opportunity is denied to the appellate courts[24] and absent any substantial reason which would
justify the reversal of the trial courts assessments and conclusions, the reviewing court is
generally bound by the formers findings, particularly when no significant facts and
circumstances are shown to have been overlooked or disregarded which when considered
would have affected the outcome of the case.[25] This rule is even more stringently applied if the
appellate court concurred with the trial court.[26]

Here, both the trial and appellate courts gave credence and full probative weight to the
testimony of AAA, the lone eyewitness to Jennifers killing and was herself brutally attacked by
appellant who also raped her. Appellant had not shown any sufficiently weighty reasons for
us to disturb the trial courts evaluation of the prosecution eyewitness credibility. In particular,
we defer to the trial courts firsthand observations on AAAs deportment while testifying and its
veritable assessment of her credibility, to wit:
From the moment [AAA] took the stand, this Court has come to discern in her the trepidations of
a woman outraged who is about to recount the ordeal she had gone through. She took her oath with
trembling hands, her voice low and soft, hardly audible. Face down, her eyes were constantly fixed on the
floor as if avoiding an eye contact with the man she was about to testify against. After a few questions in
direct, the emotion building up inside her came to the fore and she burst into tears, badly shaken, unfit
to continue any further with her testimony. Thus, in deference to her agitated situation, this Court has to
defer her direct-examination. When she came back, however, to continue with her aborted questioning,
this time, composed and collected, direct and straightforward in her narration, all vestiges of doubt on
her credibility vanished.[27]
Indeed, records bear out that AAA became so tense and nervous when she took the
witness stand for the first time that the trial court had to cut short her initial direct examination.
However, during the next hearing she was able to narrate her harrowing ordeal in a clear and
straightforward manner, describing in detail how appellant waylaid them and mercilessly hit
and attacked her and Jennifer with a lead pipe and ice pick before raping her. We quote the
pertinent portions of her testimony:
Q: During your previous testimony, Madam Witness, you said that youre not able to reach your place of
work on June 6, 2000, what is the reason why you did not reach your place of work?
A: We were waylaid (hinarang) by Conrado Laog, sir.

Q: In what manner were you waylaid by Conrado Laog?


A: Conrado Laog hit me with the pipe on my head, sir.

xxxx

Q: Where were you when you were hit?


A: We were walking along the rice puddies (sic), Your Honor.

Fiscal:
Q: And what happened to you when you were hit with the lead pipe by Conrado Laog?
A: I fell down (nabuwal) because I felt dizzy, sir.

Q: Now, what happened next, if any?


A: I heard Jennifer crying, sir.

Q: And you heard Jennifer but did you see her?


A: Yes, sir.

Q: Where was Conrado Laog when you heard Jennifer crying?


A: He was beside me, sir.

Court:
Q: How about Jennifer, where was she when you heard her crying?
A: She was standing on the rice puddies, (sic), Your Honor.

Fiscal:
Q: And what was Conrado Laog doing?
A: He approached Jennifer, sir.

Q: Then, what happened next?


A: He hit Jennifer with the pipe, sir.

Q: And what happened to Jennifer?


A: She fell down, sir.

Q: What did Conrado Laog do next?


A: He stabbed Jennifer, sir.
Q: After Conrado Laog stabbed Jennifer, what happened next?
A: He covered Jennifer with grasses, sir.

Q: And after that, what did Conrado Laog do?


A: He came back to me, sir.

Q: When Conrado Laog came back to you, what did you do, if any?
A: He hit me with the pipe several times, sir.

Q: And what happened to you?


A: And he stabbed me on my face, sir.

Q: Then, what happened to you?


A: After that, he pulled down my jogging pants, sir. He removed my panty and my blouse and my bra.

Q: After that, what did he do next?


A: And then, he went on top of me, sir.

Q: Then, what happened?


A: He sucked my breast, sir.

Q: And after that?


A: He was forcing his penis into my vagina, sir.

Q: Did he suc[c]eed in putting his penis into your vagina?


A: Yes, sir.

Q: For how long did the accused Conrado Laog insert his penis into your vagina?
A: For quite sometime, sir.

Q: After that, what happened?


A: After that, he stood up, sir.

Q: And where did he go?


A: After that, he covered me with grasses, sir.

Q: And after that, what did you do?


A: I fell unconscious, sir.

Q: Now, if Conrado Laog is inside the courtroom, will you be able to point to him?

Interpreter:
Witness is pointing to a man wearing an inmates uniform and when asked his name, answered: Conrado
Laog.

x x x x[28]
On the other hand, appellant merely interposed the defense of denial and alibi. He claimed that
at the time of the incident, he was at his house with his children and nephew cooking dinner. His
defense, however, cannot prevail over the straightforward and credible testimony of AAA who
positively identified him as the perpetrator of the murder and rape. Time and again, we have
held that positive identification of the accused, when categorical and consistent and without
any showing of ill motive on the part of the eyewitness testifying, should prevail over the alibi
and denial of the appellant whose testimony is not substantiated by clear and convincing
evidence.[29] AAA was firm and unrelenting in pointing to appellant as the one who attacked her
and Jennifer, stabbing the latter to death before raping AAA. It should be noted that AAA knew
appellant well since they were relatives by affinity. As correctly held by the CA, with AAAs
familiarity and proximity with the appellant during the commission of the crime, her
identification of appellant could not be doubted or mistaken. In fact, AAA, upon encountering
appellant, did not run away as she never thought her own uncle would harm her and her
friend. Moreover, the most natural reaction of victims of violence is to strive to see the
appearance of the perpetrators of the crime and observe the manner in which the crime is being
committed.[30] There is no evidence to show any improper motive on the part of AAA to testify
falsely against appellant or to falsely implicate him in the commission of a crime. Thus, the
logical conclusion is that the testimony is worthy of full faith and credence.[31]

In People v. Nieto,[32] we reiterated that --


It is an established jurisprudential rule that a mere denial, without any strong evidence to support it, can
scarcely overcome the positive declaration by the victim of the identity and involvement of appellant in
the crimes attributed to him. The defense of alibi is likewise unavailing. Firstly, alibi is the weakest of all
defenses, because it is easy to concoct and difficult to disprove. Unless substantiated by clear and
convincing proof, such defense is negative, self-serving, and undeserving of any weight in law. Secondly,
alibi is unacceptable when there is a positive identification of the accused by a credible witness. Lastly, in
order that alibi might prosper, it is not enough to prove that the accused has been somewhere else during
the commission of the crime; it must also be shown that it would have been impossible for him to be
anywhere within the vicinity of the crime scene.

Appellant does not dispute that he was near the vicinity of the crime on the evening of June 6,
2000. In fact, during his cross-examination, appellant admitted that his house was more or less
only 100 meters from the crime scene. Thus, his defense of alibi is not worthy of any credit for
the added reason that he has not shown that it was physically impossible for him to be at the
scene of the crime at the time of its commission.

In view of the credible testimony of AAA, appellants defenses of denial and alibi deserve
no consideration. We stress that these weak defenses cannot stand against the positive
identification and categorical testimony of a rape victim.[33]
Appellant attempts to discredit AAA's accusation of rape by pointing out that while she testified
on being very weak that she even passed out after she was raped by appellant, she nevertheless
stated that when she crawled her way to her grandfather's farm she was wearing her clothes.
Appellant also contends that the prosecution should have presented the physician who
examined AAA to prove her allegations that she was beaten and raped by appellant.

We are not persuaded.

Based on AAAs account, appellant did not undress her completely -- her blouse and bra
were merely lifted up (nililis) while her undergarments were just pulled down, which therefore
explains why she still had her clothes on when she crawled to her grandfathers farm.
Nonetheless, this matter raised by appellant is a minor detail which had nothing to do with the
elements of the crime of rape.Discrepancies referring only to minor details and collateral
matters -- not to the central fact of the crime -- do not affect the veracity or detract from the
essential credibility of witnesses declarations, as long as these are coherent and intrinsically
believable on the whole.[34] For a discrepancy or inconsistency in the testimony of a witness to
serve as a basis for acquittal, it must establish beyond doubt the innocence of the appellant for
the crime charged.[35] It cannot be overemphasized that the credibility of a rape victim is not
diminished, let alone impaired, by minor inconsistencies in her testimony.[36]

As to the fact that the physician who examined AAA at the hospital did not testify during
the trial, we find this not fatal to the prosecutions case.

It must be underscored that the foremost consideration in the prosecution of rape is the
victims testimony and not the findings of the medico-legal officer. In fact, a medical examination
of the victim is not indispensable in a prosecution for rape; the victims testimony alone, if
credible, is sufficient to convict.[37] Thus we have ruled that a medical examination of the victim,
as well as the medical certificate, is merely corroborative in character and is not an
indispensable element for conviction in rape. What is important is that the testimony of private
complainant about the incident is clear, unequivocal and credible,[38] as what we find in this case.

While we concur with the trial courts conclusion that appellant indeed was the one who raped
AAA and killed Jennifer, we find that appellant should not have been convicted of the separate
crimes of murder and rape. An appeal in a criminal case opens the entire case for review on any
question, including one not raised by the parties.[39] The facts alleged and proven clearly show
that the crime committed by appellant is rape with homicide, a special complex crime provided
under Article 266-B, paragraph 5 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act (R.A.)
No. 8353.[40]

In People v. Larraaga,[41] this Court explained the concept of a special complex crime, as follows:
A discussion on the nature of special complex crime is imperative. Where the law provides a
single penalty for two or more component offenses, the resulting crime is called a special complex crime.
Some of the special complex crimes under the Revised Penal Code are (1) robbery with
homicide, (2) robbery with rape, (3) kidnapping with serious physical injuries, (4) kidnapping with murder
or homicide, and (5) rape with homicide. In a special complex crime, the prosecution must necessarily
prove each of the component offenses with the same precision that would be necessary if they were
made the subject of separate complaints. As earlier mentioned, R.A. No. 7659 amended Article 267 of
the Revised Penal Code by adding thereto this provision: When the victim is killed or dies as a consequence
of the detention, or is raped, or is subjected to torture or dehumanizing acts, the maximum penalty shall
be imposed;[] and that this provision gives rise to a special complex crime. In the cases at bar, particularly
Criminal Case No. CBU-45303, the Information specifically alleges that the victim Marijoy was raped on
the occasion and in connection with her detention and was killed subsequent thereto and on the occasion
thereof. Considering that the prosecution was able to prove each of the component offenses, appellants
should be convicted of the special complex crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention with
homicide and rape. x x x[42](Emphasis supplied.)

A special complex crime, or more properly, a composite crime, has its own definition and special
penalty in the Revised Penal Code, as amended. Justice Regalado, in his Separate Opinion in the case
of People v. Barros,[43] explained that composite crimes are neither of the same legal basis as nor
subject to the rules on complex crimes in Article 48 [of the Revised Penal Code], since they do
not consist of a single act giving rise to two or more grave or less grave felonies [compound
crimes] nor do they involve an offense being a necessary means to commit another [complex
crime proper]. However, just like the regular complex crimes and the present case of aggravated
illegal possession of firearms, only a single penalty is imposed for each of such composite crimes
although composed of two or more offenses.[44]

Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, provides only a single penalty for the
composite acts of rape and the killing committed by reason or on the occasion of the rape.
ART. 266-B. Penalties. Rape under paragraph 1 of the next preceding article shall be punished
by reclusion perpetua.

Whenever the rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons, the
penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death.

When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, the victim has become insane, the penalty shall
be reclusion perpetua to death.

When the rape is attempted and a homicide is committed by reason or on the occasion thereof,
the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death.

When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, homicide is committed, the


penalty shall be death.
x x x x (Emphasis supplied.)
Considering that the prosecution in this case was able to prove both the rape of AAA and the
killing of Jennifer both perpetrated by appellant, he is liable for rape with homicide under the
above provision. There is no doubt that appellant killed Jennifer to prevent her from aiding AAA
or calling for help once she is able to run away, and also to silence her completely so she may
not witness the rape of AAA, the original intent of appellant. His carnal desire having been
satiated, appellant purposely covered AAAs body with grass, as he did earlier with Jennifers
body, so that it may not be easily noticed or seen by passersby. Appellant indeed thought that
the savage blows he had inflicted on AAA were enough to cause her death as with Jennifer. But
AAA survived and appellants barbaric deeds were soon enough discovered.

The facts established showed that the constitutive elements of rape with homicide were
consummated, and it is immaterial that the person killed in this case is someone other than the
woman victim of the rape. An analogy may be drawn from our rulings in cases of robbery with
homicide, where the component acts of homicide, physical injuries and other offenses have
been committed by reason or on the occasion of robbery. In People v. De Leon,[45] we
expounded on the special complex crime of robbery with homicide, as follows:
In robbery with homicide, the original criminal design of the malefactor is to commit robbery,
with homicide perpetrated on the occasion or by reason of the robbery. The intent to commit robbery
must precede the taking of human life. The homicide may take place before, during or after the robbery.
It is only the result obtained, without reference or distinction as to the circumstances, causes or modes
or persons intervening in the commission of the crime that has to be taken into consideration. There is no
such felony of robbery with homicide through reckless imprudence or simple negligence. The constitutive
elements of the crime, namely, robbery with homicide, must be consummated.

It is immaterial that the death would supervene by mere accident; or that the victim of
homicide is other than the victim of robbery, or that two or more persons are killed, or that aside from
the homicide, rape, intentional mutilation, or usurpation of authority, is committed by reason or on the
occasion of the crime. Likewise immaterial is the fact that the victim of homicide is one of the robbers;
the felony would still be robbery with homicide. Once a homicide is committed by or on the occasion of
the robbery, the felony committed is robbery with homicide. All the felonies committed by reason of
or on the occasion of the robbery are integrated into one and indivisible felony of robbery with
homicide. The word homicide is used in its generic sense. Homicide, thus, includes murder, parricide, and
infanticide.[46] (Emphasis supplied.)

In the special complex crime of rape with homicide, the term homicide is to be understood in
its generic sense, and includes murder and slight physical injuries committed by reason or on
occasion of the rape.[47] Hence, even if any or all of the circumstances (treachery, abuse of
superior strength and evident premeditation) alleged in the information have been duly
established by the prosecution, the same would not qualify the killing to murder and the crime
committed by appellant is still rape with homicide. As in the case of robbery with homicide, the
aggravating circumstance of treachery is to be considered as a generic aggravating circumstance
only. Thus we ruled in People v. Macabales[48]
Finally, appellants contend that the trial court erred in concluding that the
aggravating circumstance of treachery is present. They aver that treachery applies to
crimes against persons and not to crimes against property. However, we find that the
trial court in this case correctly characterized treachery as a generic aggravating,
rather than qualifying, circumstance. Miguel was rendered helpless by appellants in
defending himself when his arms were held by two of the attackers before he was
stabbed with a knife by appellant Macabales, as their other companions surrounded
them. In People v. Salvatierra, we ruled that when alevosia (treachery) obtains in the
special complex crime of robbery with homicide, such treachery is to be regarded as a
generic aggravating circumstance. Robbery with homicide is a composite crime with
its own definition and special penalty in the Revised Penal Code. There is no special
complex crime of robbery with murder under the Revised Penal Code. Here,
treachery forms part of the circumstances proven concerning the actual commission
of the complex crime.Logically it could not qualify the homicide to murder but, as
generic aggravating circumstance, it helps determine the penalty to be
imposed.[49] (Emphasis supplied.)

The aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength is considered whenever there is


notorious inequality of forces between the victim and the aggressor that is plainly and obviously
advantageous to the aggressor and purposely selected or taken advantage of to facilitate the
commission of the crime.[50] It is taken into account whenever the aggressor purposely used
excessive force that is out of proportion to the means of defense available to the person
attacked.[51]

In this case, as personally witnessed by AAA, appellant struck Jennifer in the head with a lead
pipe then stabbed her repeatedly until she was dead. Clearly, the manner by which appellant
had brutally slain Jennifer with a lethal weapon, by first hitting her in the head with a lead pipe
to render her defenseless and vulnerable before stabbing her repeatedly, unmistakably showed
that appellant intentionally used excessive force out of proportion to the means of defense
available to his unarmed victim. As aptly observed by the appellate court:
It has long been established that an attack made by a man with a deadly weapon upon an unarmed and
defenseless woman constitutes the circumstance of abuse of that superiority which his sex and the
weapon used in the act afforded him, and from which the woman was unable to defend herself. Unlike in
treachery, where the victim is not given the opportunity to defend himself or repel the aggression, taking
advantage of superior strength does not mean that the victim was completely defenseless. Abuse of
superiority is determined by the excess of the aggressors natural strength over that of the victim,
considering the momentary position of both and the employment of means weakening the defense,
although not annulling it. By deliberately employing deadly weapons, an ice pick and a lead pipe,
[a]ccused-[a]ppellant clearly took advantage of the superiority which his strength, sex and weapon gave
him over his unarmed victim. The accused-appellants sudden attack caught the victim off-guard rendering
her defenseless.[52]
Abuse of superior strength in this case therefore is merely a generic aggravating circumstance
to be considered in the imposition of the penalty. The penalty provided in Article 266-B of
the Revised Penal Code, as amended, is death. However, in view of the passage on June 24,
2006 of R.A. No. 9346, entitled An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of the Death Penalty in
the Philippines the Court is mandated to impose on the appellant the penalty of reclusion
perpetua without eligibility for parole.[53]

The aggravating/qualifying circumstances of abuse of superior strength and use of deadly


weapon have greater relevance insofar as the civil aspect of this case is concerned. While the
trial court and CA were correct in holding that both the victim of the killing (Jennifer) and the
rape victim (AAA) are entitled to the award of exemplary damages, the basis for such award
needs further clarification.

Articles 2229 and 2230 of the Civil Code provide:


Art. 2229. Exemplary or corrective damages are imposed, by way of example or correction for the
public good, in addition to the moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages.

Art. 2230. In criminal offenses, exemplary damages as a part of the civil liability may be imposed
when the crime was committed with one or more aggravating circumstances. Such damages are separate
and distinct from fines and shall be paid to the offended party.

In view of the presence of abuse of superior strength in the killing of Jennifer, her heirs are
entitled to exemplary damages pursuant to Article 2230. With respect to the rape committed
against AAA, Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, provides that a man who
shall have carnal knowledge of a woman through force, threat or intimidation under Article 266-
A (a), whenever such rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more
persons, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death. Since the use of a deadly weapon
raises the penalty for the rape, this circumstance would justify the award of exemplary damages
to the offended party (AAA) also in accordance with Article 2230.

Article 266-B likewise provides for the imposition of death penalty if the crime of rape is
committed with any of the aggravating/qualifying circumstances enumerated therein. Among
these circumstances is minority of the victim and her relationship to the offender:

1) When the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent,
ascendant, stepparent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the
third civil degree, or the common law spouse of the parent of the victim. (Emphasis
supplied.)

AAAs relationship to appellant, who is his uncle by affinity, was not alleged in the information
but admitted by appellant when he testified in court:
DIRECT EXAMINATION OF
CONRADO LAOG By:
Atty. Roque:

xxxx

Q Do you know a person by the name of [AAA]?


A Yes, sir.

Q Why do you know her?


A Because she is our neighbor. Her house is just adjacent to ours, sir.

Q How are you related to [AAA]?


A Her mother and my wife are sisters.

Q So she is your niece-in-law?


A Yes, sir.

x x x x[54] (Emphasis supplied.)

The failure of the prosecution to allege in the information AAAs relationship to appellant will
not bar the consideration of the said circumstance in the determination of his civil liability. In
any case, even without the attendance of aggravating circumstances, exemplary damages may
still be awarded where the circumstances of the case show the highly reprehensible or
outrageous conduct of the offender. Citing our earlier ruling in the case of People v.
Catubig,[55] this Court clarified in People v. Dalisay[56]:

Prior to the effectivity of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, courts


generally awarded exemplary damages in criminal cases when an aggravating
circumstance, whether ordinary or qualifying, had been proven to have attended the
commission of the crime, even if the same was not alleged in the information. This is
in accordance with the aforesaid Article 2230. However, with the promulgation of the
Revised Rules, courts no longer consider the aggravating circumstances not alleged
and proven in the determination of the penalty and in the award of damages. Thus,
even if an aggravating circumstance has been proven, but was not alleged, courts will
not award exemplary damages. Pertinent are the following sections of Rule 110:

xxxx

Nevertheless, People v. Catubig laid down the principle that courts may still
award exemplary damages based on the aforementioned Article 2230, even if the
aggravating circumstance has not been alleged, so long as it has been proven, in
criminal cases instituted before the effectivity of the Revised Rules which remained
pending thereafter. Catubig reasoned that the retroactive application of the Revised
Rules should not adversely affect the vested rights of the private offended party.
Thus, we find, in our body of jurisprudence, criminal cases, especially those involving rape,
dichotomized: one awarding exemplary damages, even if an aggravating circumstance attending the
commission of the crime had not been sufficiently alleged but was consequently proven in the light
of Catubig; and another awarding exemplary damages only if an aggravating circumstance has both been
alleged and proven following the Revised Rules. Among those in the first set are People v. Laciste, People
v. Victor, People v. Orilla, People v. Calongui, People v. Magbanua, People of the Philippines v. Heracleo
Abello y Fortada, People of the Philippines v. Jaime Cadag Jimenez, and People of the Philippines v. Julio
Manalili. And in the second set are People v. Llave, People of the Philippines v. Dante Gragasin y Par,
and People of the Philippines v. Edwin Mejia. Again, the difference between the two sets rests on when
the criminal case was instituted, either before or after the effectivity of the Revised Rules.

xxxx

Nevertheless, by focusing only on Article 2230 as the legal basis for the grant of
exemplary damagestaking into account simply the attendance of an aggravating
circumstance in the commission of a crime, courts have lost sight of the very reason
why exemplary damages are awarded. Catubig is enlightening on this point, thus

Also known as punitive or vindictive damages, exemplary or corrective


damages are intended to serve as a deterrent to serious wrong doings, and as a
vindication of undue sufferings and wanton invasion of the rights of an injured or a
punishment for those guilty of outrageous conduct. These terms are generally, but
not always, used interchangeably. In common law, there is preference in the use of
exemplary damages when the award is to account for injury to feelings and for the
sense of indignity and humiliation suffered by a person as a result of an injury that
has been maliciously and wantonly inflicted, the theory being that there should be
compensation for the hurt caused by the highly reprehensible conduct of the
defendantassociated with such circumstances as willfulness, wantonness, malice,
gross negligence or recklessness, oppression, insult or fraud or gross fraudthat
intensifies the injury. The terms punitive or vindictive damages are often used to
refer to those species of damages that may be awarded against a person to punish
him for his outrageous conduct. In either case, these damages are intended in good
measure to deter the wrongdoer and others like him from similar conduct in the
future.

Being corrective in nature, exemplary damages, therefore, can be awarded, not


only in the presence of an aggravating circumstance, but also where the
circumstances of the case show the highly reprehensible or outrageous conduct of
the offender. In much the same way as Article 2230 prescribes an instance when
exemplary damages may be awarded, Article 2229, the main provision, lays down the
very basis of the award. Thus, in People v. Matrimonio, the Court imposed exemplary
damages to deter other fathers with perverse tendencies or aberrant sexual behavior
from sexually abusing their own daughters. Also, in People v. Cristobal, the Court
awarded exemplary damages on account of the moral corruption, perversity and
wickedness of the accused in sexually assaulting a pregnant married woman. Recently,
in People of the Philippines v. Cristino Caada, People of the Philippines v. Pepito
Neverio and The People of the Philippines v. Lorenzo Layco, Sr., the Court awarded
exemplary damages to set a public example, to serve as deterrent to elders who abuse
and corrupt the youth, and to protect the latter from sexual abuse.

It must be noted that, in the said cases, the Court used as basis Article 2229, rather than Article
2230, to justify the award of exemplary damages. Indeed, to borrow Justice Carpio Morales words in her
separate opinion in People of the Philippines v. Dante Gragasin y Par, [t]he application of Article 2230 of
the Civil Code strictissimi juris in such cases, as in the present one, defeats the underlying public policy
behind the award of exemplary damagesto set a public example or correction for the public
good.[57](Emphasis supplied.)

In this case, the brutal manner by which appellant carried out his lustful design against his niece-
in-law who never had an inkling that her own uncle would do any harm to her and her friend,
justified the award of exemplary damages.Appellants sudden and fierce attack on AAA -- hitting
her several times on the head with a lead pipe before stabbing her face until she fell down,
hurriedly lifting her bra and blouse and pulling down her undergarments, raping her while she
was in such a defenseless position, covering her body with grasses and abandoning her to die in
a grassy field -- was truly despicable and outrageous. Such vicious assault was made even more
reprehensible as it also victimized Jennifer, who sustained more stab wounds and beatings,
causing her violent death. Article 2229 of the Civil Code allows the award of exemplary damages
in order to deter the commission of similar acts and to allow the courts to forestall behavior that
would pose grave and deleterious consequences to society.[58] In line with current jurisprudence,
the amount of P30,000 each for AAA and the heirs of Jennifer as exemplary damages was
correctly awarded by the trial court.

We also affirm the trial court and CA in ordering appellant to pay the heirs of Jennifer
Patawaran-Rosal the amounts of P50,000 as moral damages. In cases of murder and homicide,
the award of moral damages is mandatory, without need of allegation and proof other than the
death of the victim.[59] Anent the award of civil indemnity, the same is increased to P75,000 to
conform with recent jurisprudence.[60] As to expenses incurred for the funeral and burial of
Jennifer, the CA correctly awarded her heirs the amount of P25,000 as actual damages, said
amount having been stipulated by the parties during the trial.

Lastly, we affirm the award of P50,000 to AAA as civil indemnity for the crime of rape, as well as
the award of P50,000 as moral damages. Civil indemnity ex delictois mandatory upon a finding
of the fact of rape while moral damages are awarded upon such finding without need of further
proof, because it is assumed that a rape victim has actually suffered moral injuries entitling the
victim to such award.[61]
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The March 21, 2007

Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR HC No. 00234

is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. Accused-appellant Conrado Laog y Ramin is hereby

found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of Rape With Homicide under Article 266-B of the

Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 8353, and is accordingly sentenced to suffer the

penalty of reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole.

Accused-appellant is hereby ordered to pay the heirs of Jennifer Patawaran-Rosal P75,000


as civil indemnity ex delicto, P50,000 as moral damages, P25,000 as actual damages and P30,000
as exemplary damages. He is further ordered to pay to the victim AAA the sums of P50,000 as
civil indemnity ex delicto, P50,000 as moral damages and P30,000 as exemplary damages.

With costs against the accused-appellant.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 196315. October 22, 2014.*

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee vs. LEONARDO CATAYTAY ySILVANO,


accused-appellant.

Remedial Law; Evidence; Witnesses; A witness can testify only on the facts that she knows of her own
personal knowledge, or more precisely, those which are derived from her own perception.—At the outset, we
agree with accused-appellant that the details concerning the manner of the commission of the rape, which
was merely narrated by AAA at the barangayoutpost, is hearsay and cannot be considered by this Court. A
witness can testify only on the facts that she knows of his own personal knowledge, or more precisely, those
which are derived from her own perception. A witness may not testify on what she merely learned, read or
heard from others because such testimony is considered hearsay and may not be received as proof of the
truth of what she has learned, read or heard.

Same; Same; Same; Rape; When a woman, more so if she is a minor, says she has been raped, she says, in
effect, all that is necessary to prove that rape was committed.—As we have ruled in a litany of cases, when
a woman, more so if she is a minor, says she has been raped, she says, in effect, all that is necessary to
prove that rape was committed. Youth and, as is more applicable in the case at bar, immaturity are
generally badges of truth. Furthermore, the report of PC/Insp. Chua that the findings of the physical
examination were consistent with recent sexual intercourse, provide additional corroboration to the
testimonies of AAA and BBB. It should be noted that this report was stipulated upon by the prosecution
and the defense.

Criminal Law; Alibi; For the defense of alibi to prosper, it must be sufficiently convincing as to preclude
any doubt on the physical impossibility of the presence of the accused at the locus criminis or its immediate
vicinity at the time of the incident.—We have pronounced time and again that both denial and alibiare
inherently weak defenses which cannot prevail over the positive and credible testimony of the prosecution
witness that the accused committed the crime. Thus, as between a categorical testimony which has a ring
of truth on one hand, and a mere denial and alibi on the other, the former is generally held to prevail. For
the defense of alibi to prosper, it must be sufficiently convincing as to preclude any doubt on the physical
impossibility of the presence of the accused at the locus criminis or its immediate vicinity at the time of
the incident.

Remedial Law; Evidence; Witnesses; When it comes to evaluating the credibility of the testimonies of the
witnesses, great respect is accorded to the findings of the trial judge who is in a better position to observe
the demeanor, facial expression, and manner of testifying of witnesses, and to decide who among them is
telling the truth.—Other than alibi and denial, accused-appellant presented the testimony of Alicia, a
neighbor of AAA and accused-appellant, to prove that another person raped AAA. However, the record is
clear that AAA positively identified accused-appellant as the culprit both at the barangay outpost
minutes after the incident, and in open court. It is furthermore axiomatic that when it comes to
evaluating the credibility of the testimonies of the witnesses, great respect is accorded to the findings of
the trial judge who is in a better position to observe the demeanor, facial expression, and manner of
testifying of wit nesses, and to decide who among them is telling the truth. The trial court, which was
able to carefully observe the testimony of Alicia, was not adequately convinced by her allegations.

Criminal Law; Rape; “Deprived of Reason” and “Demented,” Distinguished.—In People v. Caoile, 697
SCRA 638 (2013), we differentiated the terms “deprived of reason” and “demented,” as follows: The
term demented refers to a person who has dementia, which is a condition of deteriorated mentality,
characterized by marked decline from the individual’s former intellectual level and often by emotional
apathy, madness, or insanity. On the other hand, the phrase deprived of reason under paragraph 1(b) has
been interpreted to include those suffering from mental abnormality, deficiency, or retardation. Thus,
AAA, who was clinically diagnosed to be a mental retardate, can be properly classified as a person who is
“deprived of reason,” and not one who is “demented.”

Same; Same; Special Qualifying Circumstances; Mental Retardates; Since the accused-appellant’s
knowledge of AAA’s mental retardation was alleged in the Information and admitted by the former during
the trial, the above special qualifying circumstance is applicable, and the penalty of death should have
been imposed.—Since the accused-appellant’s knowledge of AAA’s mental retardation was alleged in the
Information and admitted by the former during the trial, the above special qualifying circumstance is
applicable, and the penalty of death should have been imposed. With the passage, however, of Republic
Act No. 9346 prohibiting the imposition of the death penalty, the penalty of reclusion perpetua shall
instead be imposed.

Same; Same; Penalties; Death Penalty; In accordance to People v. Lumaho, 736 SCRA 542 (2014),where
the penalty for the crime committed is death which cannot be imposed because of Republic Act (RA) No.
9346, the Supreme Court (SC) increased the amounts of indemnity and damages to be imposed as follows:
P100,000.00 as civil indemnity; P100,000.00 as moral damages; and P100,000.00 as exemplary damages.
In addition, it imposed 6% interest per annum from finality of judgment until fully paid.—As regards
accused-appellant’s civil liability, the RTC ordered him to pay AAA in the amount of P75,000.00 as moral
damages and P75,000.00 as exemplary damages. The Court of Appeals modified the trial court’s deci sion
by granting the additional award of P75,000.00 as civil indemnity and reducing the award of exemplary
damages to P30,000.00. In accordance, however, to People v. Lumaho, 736 SCRA 542 (2014), where the
penalty for the crime committed is death which cannot be imposed because of Republic Act No. 9346, we
increase the amounts of indemnity and damages to be imposed as follows: P100,000.00 as civil indemnity;
P100,000.00 as moral damages; and P100,000.00 as exemplary damages. In addition, we impose 6%
interest per annum from finality of judgment until fully paid.

DIVISION

[ GR No. 196315, Oct 22, 2014 ]

PEOPLE v. LEONARDO CATAYTAY Y SILVANO +

DECISION

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:


This is an Appeal[1] from the Decision[2] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No.
32275 dated August 11, 2010 affirming the conviction of accused-appellant Leonardo
Cataytay ySilvano for the crime of rape.

Accused-appellant Cataytay was charged of said crime in an Information dated


September 9, 2003:

That on or about the 07th day of September 2003, in the City of Mandaluyong,
Philippines, a place within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, with lewd designs[,] and by means of force and intimidation, did, then and
there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously have carnal knowledge [of AAA],[3] 19 years
of age but with a mental age of a 5 year old, hence, a retardate, or demented, which is
known to accused at the time of the commission of the offense, against her will and
consent and to her damage and prejudice.[4]

Accused-appellant Cataytay entered a plea of not guilty at his arraignment on October


3, 2003. Trial thereafter ensued.

BBB (AAA's mother) testified that she knew accused-appellant Cataytay as her
neighbor in their compound in Mandaluyong City. Accused-appellant was a shoe
repairman who had a shop six houses away from BBB's house.[5]

On September 7, 2003, at around 6:30 p.m., BBB left AAA in their house to look for
BBB's youngest daughter. Thirty minutes later, when she reached the bridge near
Block 37, her neighbor, Lito, told her that there was a problem, and brought her to
the barangay outpost. AAA and the accused-appellant were already at the
outpost. Lito told the persons at the outpost that she was the mother of the
victim. When BBB saw AAA, the latter told her, "Mommy, ni-rape po ako." BBB asked
her who raped her. AAA responded by pointing to accused-appellant. During the
interviews made by the barangayofficials, AAA narrated how she was raped by
accused-appellant, which ended when a certain "Mimi" knocked at the door. When
accused-appellant answered the knock, Mimi told the former that she will shout if he
does not leave the house. AAA went out of the house and sought help from their
neighbors. One of their neighbors, Amelita Morante, called the barangayofficials at
the outpost.[6]

BBB identified a Psychological Evaluation Report from the Department of Social


Welfare and Development (DSWD) dated May 25, 1999, which was conducted in
connection with another rape case. The report stated that AAA had the mental capacity
of an eight-year-old child.[7] BBB also identified AAA's birth certificate which showed
that she was biologically 19 years old at the time of the incident.[8]

On cross-examination, BBB confirmed that AAA was the victim in a rape case in 1999
against a certain Norberto Lerit. BBB admitted that she did not personally witness the
alleged rape committed by the accused-appellant.[9]

When AAA appeared as the second witness for the prosecution, the prosecution
manifested that by merely looking at her, it was apparent that she was mentally
retardate.[10] AAA, who was crying while being asked questions, testified that she was
raped by accused-appellant by inserting his penis into her, despite her
protestations. After the deed, she was given money by accused-appellant. She knew
the accused-appellant before the incident as a shoe repairman.[11]

DSWD Social Worker Arlene Gampal testified that she referred AAA to the
National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) for psychological examination. She also
conducted a Social Case Study upon AAA in relation to the incident of sexual abuse at
the hands of the accused.[12] NCMH Psychologist Susan Sabado was presented as
a prosecution witness, but her testimony was dispensed with when the defense agreed
to a stipulation regarding her expertise and that the tests conducted on AAA affirmed
that the latter had a mental capacity of a seven-year-old child.[13]

Police Chief Inspector (PC/Insp.) Bonnie Chua, the medico-legal officer who
examined AAA on September 8, 2003 was likewise presented as a prosecution
witness. The defense agreed to a stipulation that the findings of the examination were
consistent with recent sexual intercourse.[14]

For the defense, accused-appellanttestified that on September 7, 2003, at around


7:00 p.m., he was in his house together with his brother, feeding his four-year-old
daughter. He then went out and proceeded to a videoke bar, which was around 20
meters from his house.[15] He stayed at the videoke bar for less than 15 minutes, as
barangay officers suddenly arrived and arrested him. Upon asking why he was being
arrested, the officers told him that he was the suspect in the rape of AAA. He was
brought to the Barangay Hall, where he denied the accusations against him. He
estimated that the house of BBB was more or less 50 meters away from his
house,[16] and that it would take more or less a one minute walk from the videoke bar to
the house of AAA.[17] Accused-appellant admitted that by merely looking at AAA, he
could tell that she has a mental disability.[18]

Accused-appellant's brother, Jose Fresco Cataytay (Jose), testified that at 6:30


p.m. of September 7, 2003, accused-appellant was inside their house feeding his
daughter. At around 7:00 p.m., accused-appellant told Jose that he will go to
the videoke bar, which was around 30 meters away from their house. Accused-
appellant stayed in the videoke bar for 5 to 10 minutes, then went back to their house
and watched television. Accused-appellant was arrested that night within the vicinity
of their house by the barangay tanods. He estimated that AAA's house is 20 to 30
meters away from the videoke bar, and that it would take less than five minutes to
reach the house of AAA from the videoke bar.[19]

Alicia Panaguitol (Alicia), a neighbor of AAA and accused-appellant, testified that


she lives two meters away from AAA's house and 60 meters away from that of accused-
appellant. She was inside her house at around 7:00 p.m. of September 7, 2003, during
which time she heard AAA shouting that she was raped. She asked AAA who raped
her. AAA replied "Pilay," apparently referring to their neighbor who was called Jun
Pilay. Alicia saw Jun Pilay run from AAA's house towards a dark area.[20]

On February 5, 2009, the RTC rendered its Judgment finding accused-appellant guilty
as charged, and disposing of the case as follows:

WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, accused LEONARDO CATAYTAY y


SILVANO is hereby found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of rape
against one [AAA] defined and penalized under Article 266-A, paragraph 1 of the
Revised Penal Code in relation to Article 266-B paragraph 10 of the same Code.

As a consequence thereof, accused LEONARDO CATAYTAY y SILVANO is hereby


sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of from TWENTY YEARS (20) and
ONE (1) DAY to FORTY (40) YEARS of reclusion perpetua.

Further, accused LEONARDO CATAYTAY y SILVANO is hereby ordered to indemnify


the victim [AAA], the amount of SEVENTY FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P75,000.00) as
and by way of moral damages and SEVENTY FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P75,000.00)
by way of exemplary damages.

Finally, the period of detention of accused LEONARDO CATAYTAY y SILVANO at the


Mandaluyong City Jail is hereby fully credited to his account.[21]
The case was elevated to the Court of Appeals, where it was docketed as CA-G.R. CR
No. 32275. On August 11, 2010, the Court of Appeals rendered the assailed Decision,
the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the instant appeal is DENIED. The
decision appealed from is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATIONS that an additional
award of P75,000.00 as civil indemnity is granted to the victim and the award of
exemplary damages of P75,000.00 is reduced to P30,000.00. The penalty of
imprisonment to be served is simply reclusion perpetua.[22]

Hence, this appeal, where accused-appellant Cataytay adopted his Appellant's Brief
with the Court of Appeals, which contained the following assignment of errors:

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-


APPELLANT DESPITE THE PROSECUTION'S FAILURE TO PROVE HIS GUILT
BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.

II

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-


APPELLANT DESPITE THE FACT THAT HE WAS ILLEGALLY ARRESTED.[23]

In his appellant's brief, accused-appellant claims that BBB's testimony concerning the
details of the commission of the rape as narrated by AAA is hearsay and therefore has
no probative value. Accused-appellant also points out that the Psychological
Evaluation Report dated May 25, 1999 and Psychological Report dated June 29, 2009
illustrate that AAA can be easily influenced.

At the outset, we agree with accused-appellant that the details concerning the manner
of the commission of the rape, which was merely narrated by AAA at
the barangay outpost, is hearsay and cannot be considered by this Court. A witness
can testify only on the facts that she knows of his own personal knowledge, or more
precisely, those which are derived from her own perception.[24] A witness may not
testify on what she merely learned, read or heard from others because such testimony
is considered hearsay and may not be received as proof of the truth of what she has
learned, read or heard.[25]
Notwithstanding the inadmissibility of the details of the rape which BBB merely heard
from AAA's narration, we nevertheless find no reason to disturb the findings of fact of
the trial court. Despite lacking certain details concerning the manner in which AAA
was allegedly raped, the trial court, taking into consideration the mental incapacity of
AAA and qualifying her to be a child witness,[26] found her testimony to be credible and
convincing:

Uulitin ko sa iyo 'yung unang tinanong ko sa'yo ha, bakit ka nandito sa office
Q-
ni Judge, para ano?
A- Para magsumbong.
Q- Sinong isusumbong mo?
A- Leonardo Cataytay.
INTERPRETER:
Witness at this moment is now crying.
Nandito ba si Leonardo Cataytay, [AAA], nandito ba siya ngayon sa office ni
Q- Judge? Tingin ka sa office ni Judge kung nandito ngayon si Leonardo, sabi mo
isusumbong mo siya kay Judge, diba?
COURT:
Ituro mo nga kung nandiyan siya, sige.
INTERPRETER:
Witness pointed to the male person seated in the first row of the gallery,
wearing white t-shirt, who when asked to identify himself, answered to the
name of LEONARDO CATAYTAY Y SILVANO.
PROS. LAZARO:
[AAA], itinuro mo si Leonardo, sabi mo kanina isusumbong mo siya, bakit mo
Q-
siya isusumbong, anong ginawa niya sa'yo?
A- Ni-rape po ako.
Q- Ilang beses ka niya ni-rape?
A- Isa lang po.
Q- Papaano ka niya ni-rape?
A- Pinasok niya 'yung ari niya sa akin.
Anong sinabi mo sa kanya 'nung ni-rape ka niya, anong sinabi mo kay
Q-
Leonardo?
A- Ayaw ko na po.
Q- Anong sinabi naman ni Leonardo habang nire-rape ka niya?
A- Wag daw po ako maingay.
Q- Kasi pag maingay ka, ano daw ang gagawin sa'yo?
A- Uulitin daw niya po.
Anong sinabi ni Leonardo sa'yo pagkatapos ka niyang ni-rape, [AAA]? May
Q-
sinabi sa'yo pagkatapos ka niya ni-rape? Meron o wala?
A- Wala po.
Q- May binigay sya sa'yo?
A- Opo.
Q- Anong binigay niya? Punasan mo ang luha mo.
A- Pera po.
Q- Alam mo kung magkano?
A- Hindi po.[27]

AAA's mental condition may have prevented her from delving into the specifics of the
assault in her testimony almost three years later, unlike the way she narrated the same
when she was asked at the barangay outpost merely minutes after the
incident. However, as we have ruled in a litany of cases, when a woman, more so if she
is a minor, says she has been raped, she says, in effect, all that is necessary to prove
that rape was committed. Youth and, as is more applicable in the case at bar,
immaturity are generally badges of truth.[28] Furthermore, the report of PC/Insp. Chua
that the findings of the physical examination were consistent with recent sexual
intercourse, provide additional corroboration to the testimonies of AAA and BBB. It
should be noted that this report was stipulated upon by the prosecution and the
defense.

We have pronounced time and again that both denial and alibi are inherently weak
defenses which cannot prevail over the positive and credible testimony of the
prosecution witness that the accused committed the crime. Thus, as between a
categorical testimony which has a ring of truth on one hand, and a mere denial and
alibi on the other, the former is generally held to prevail.[29] For the defense of alibi to
prosper, it must be sufficiently convincing as to preclude any doubt on the physical
impossibility of the presence of the accused at the locus criminis or its immediate
vicinity at the time of the incident.[30] In the case at bar, accused-appellant and his
brother, second defense witness Jose, claim that the former was taking care of his
daughter in his house at around 7:00 p.m. of September 7, 2003. He then went out and
proceeded to a videoke bar, which was merely 20 meters away from his
house. Accused-appellant and his brother admitted that their house was merely 50
meters away, or around a one-minute walk, from the house of AAA, where the alleged
incident occurred. Accused-appellant was therefore clearly in the immediate vicinity of
the locus criminis at the time of the commission of the crime, and thus accused-
appellant's defense of alibi must fail.

Other than alibi and denial, accused-appellant presented the testimony of Alicia, a
neighbor of AAA and accused-appellant, to prove that another person raped
AAA. However, the record is clear that AAA positively identified accused-appellant as
the culprit both at thebarangay outpost minutes after the incident, and in open
court. It is furthermore axiomatic that when it comes to evaluating the credibility of
the testimonies of the witnesses, great respect is accorded to the findings of the trial
judge who is in a better position to observe the demeanor, facial expression, and
manner of testifying of witnesses, and to decide who among them is telling the
truth.[31] The trial court, which was able to carefully observe the testimony of Alicia,
was not adequately convinced by her allegations.
To recall, the Information charged accused-appellant of committing the following act:
"by means of force and intimidation, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully, and
feloniously have carnal knowledge [of AAA], 19 years of age but with a mental age of a 5
year old, hence, a retardate, or demented, which is known to accused at the time of the
commission of the offense, against her will and consent and to her damage and
prejudice."[32] The Information, as worded, can conceivably comprehend rape under
either paragraph 1(b) or 1(d) of Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code, which
provides:

Article 266-A. Rape; When and How Committed. Rape is committed

1) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following
circumstances:

a) Through force, threat or intimidation;

b) When the offended party is deprived of reason or is otherwise unconscious;

c) By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority;

d) When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is


demented, even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be
present.(Emphasis supplied)

In People v. Caoile,[33] we differentiated the terms "deprived of reason" and


"demented," as follows:

The term demented refers to a person who has dementia, which is a condition of
deteriorated mentality, characterized by marked decline from the individual's former
intellectual level and often by emotional apathy, madness, or insanity. On the other
hand, the phrase deprived of reason under paragraph 1 (b) has been interpreted to
include those suffering from mental abnormality, deficiency, or retardation. Thus,
AAA, who was clinically diagnosed to be a mental retardate, can be properly classified
as a person who is "deprived of reason," and not one who is "demented."

In the case at bar, AAA was clinically diagnosed to have mental retardation with the
mental capacity of a seven-year old child.[34] The prosecution and the defense agreed to
stipulate on the conclusion of the psychologist that the "mental age of the victim whose
chronological age at the time of the commission of the offense is nineteen (19) years
old x x x is that of a seven (7) year old child."[35] Accused-appellant is therefore
criminally liable for rape under paragraph 1(b) of Article 266-A of the Revised Penal
Code. The appropriate penalty is provided for by Article 266-B, which relevantly
provides:

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

xxxx

10. When the offender knew of the mental disability, emotional disorder and/or
physical handicap of the offended party at the time of the commission of the crime.

Since the accused-appellant's knowledge of AAA's mental retardation was alleged in the
Information and admitted by the former during the trial, the above special qualifying
circumstance is applicable, and the penalty of death should have been imposed. With
the passage, however, of Republic Act No. 9346[36]prohibiting the imposition of the
death penalty, the penalty of reclusion perpetua shall instead be imposed.

The RTC sentenced accused-appellant to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of twenty


years and one day to forty years of reclusion perpetua. The Court of Appeals correctly
modified the penalty to be simply reclusion perpetua. Since reclusion perpetua is an
indivisible penalty, the Indeterminate Sentence Law cannot be applied.[37]

As regards accused-appellant's civil liability, the RTC ordered him to pay AAA in the
amount of P75,000.00 as moral damages and P75,000.00 as exemplary damages. The
Court of Appeals modified the trial court's decision by granting the additional award of
P75,000.00 as civil indemnity and reducing the award of exemplary damages to
P30,000.00. In accordance, however, to People v. Lumaho,[38]where the penalty for
the crime committed is death which cannot be imposed because of Republic Act No.
9346, we increase the amounts of indemnity and damages to be imposed as follows:
P100,000.00 as civil indemnity; P100,000.00 as moral damages; and P100,000.00 as
exemplary damages. In addition, we impose 6% interest per annum from finality of
judgment until fully paid.[39]

WHEREFORE, the present appeal is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals
in CA-G.R. CR No. 32275 dated August 11, 2010 is hereby AFFIRMED with
MODIFICATION increasing the amounts of indemnity and damages to be imposed
as follows: P100,000.00 as civil indemnity; P100,000.00 as moral damages; and
P100,000.00 as exemplary damages. All amounts are furthermore subject to interest
at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of finality of this judgment until fully paid.

SO ORDERED.

Sereno, CJ., (Chairperson), Bersamin, Perez, and Perlas-Bernabe, JJ., concur.


G.R. No. 206393. January 21, 2015.*

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MICHAEL JOSON y ROGANDO,


defendant-appellant.

Criminal Law; Rape; Elements of.—For a charge of rape under Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code,
as amended, the prosecution must prove that: (1) the offender had carnal knowledge of a woman; and (2)
he accomplished this act through force, threat or intimidation, when she was deprived of reason or
otherwise unconscious, or when she was under 12 years of age or was demented.
Same; Same; Anent appellant’s argument that as a brother he lacks moral ascendancy over her sister,
the victim, that could substitute for force and intimidation, our ruling in People v. Villaruel, 378 SCRA 400
(2002),as cited by the Court of Appeals (CA), has rejected such proposition.—Anent appellant’s argument
that as a brother he lacks moral ascendancy over her sister, the victim, that could substitute for force and
intimidation, our ruling in People v. Villaruel, 378 SCRA 400 (2002), as cited by the Court of Appeals, has
rejected such proposition. The fact remains that Myra positively testified in court that her brother sexually
molested her in the morning of February 21, 1996. The accused-appellant was her older brother who had
definitely moral ascendancy over her. He, being the eldest had definitely moral ascendancy over her. He,
being the eldest among the children since both of their parents were dead, the accused-appellant stood as
guardian of the siblings. Thus, when the complainant was roused from her sleep to accompany the accused-
appellant to buy bread, the complainant obediently followed him. To the accused-appellant, this was highly
improbable that the complainant would entertain his plea to go out with him at such an unholy hour or
even allegedly knowing fully well that the latter had taken shabu and liquor. There is nothing incredible
with the complainant’s story. Notwithstanding the time or the physical condition of her brother, Myra
certainly did not expect that he had other ill motives against her. It certainly is not normal for a brother to
take out his lust on his sister. Myra also testified that she did not resist his advances for fear of her life as
her brother had two (2) fan knives poking at her as she was being raped. More importantly, the moral
ascendancy and influence the accused-appellant has over the complainant sufficiently substitute for the
force and intimidation required in rape.
Same; Denials; Alibi; Denial and alibi cannot be given greater evidentiary value over the testimony of
credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters.—With respect to appellant’s defense of denial
and alibi, it is an oft-repeated rule that positive identification where categorical and consistent and without
any showing of ill motive on the part of the eyewitness testifying on the matter prevails over a denial which,
if not substantiated by clear and convincing evidence is negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of
weight in law. They cannot be given greater evidentiary value over the testimony of credible witnesses who
testify on affirmative matters.

Same; Rape; Penalties; Death Penalty; Pursuant to Republic Act (RA) No. 9346 which prohibits the
imposition of the death penalty, the imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua.—We likewise agree that
appellant should suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code
provides that the death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed when the victim is
under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, stepparent, guardian, relative by
consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of the
victim. Pursuant to Republic Act No. 9346 which prohibits the imposition of the death penalty, however,
the imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua.

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DIVISION

[ GR No. 206393, Jan 21, 2015 ]

PEOPLE v. MICHAEL JOSON Y ROGANDO +

DECISION

PEREZ, J.:
For consideration by the Court is the Court of Appeals Decision[1] dated 31 August 2012
that affirmed the judgment[2] of conviction by the Regional Trial Court of Dasmarinas
(RTC), Cavite, Branch 90 sitting in Imus, Cavite, convicting appellant Michael
Joson y Rogando of the crime or rape of his 14-year old sister.

Appellant was charged with violation of Articles 266-A of the Revised Penal Code in
relation to Republic Act No. 7610 in an Information, the accusatory portion of which
reads:

That on or about the 14th day of May 2009, in the Municipality of XXX, Province of
XXX, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
named accused, being the biological brother and thus a relative within the second
degree of consanguinity of [AAA],[3] a minor fourteen (14) years of age and born on
March 24, 1995, motivated by lust and with lewd design, with the use of force and
intimidation and taking advantage of his moral ascendancy over her, did then and
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of said [AAA], against
her will and consent, thereby debasing, degrading and demeaning her intrinsic worth
and integrity as a child, to the damage and prejudice of said complainant.[4]

On arraignment, appellant pleaded not guilty. Trial ensued. The prosecution's


evidence is based on the sole testimony of the victim. AAA lives with appellant and his
common-law partner. AAA testified that at around 1:00 in the morning of 14 May
2009, and while appellant's wife was away, AAA was awakened by appellant undressing
her. AAA tried to struggle but appellant was tightly holding her arms. After undressing
her, appellant kissed and mounted her. Appellant was able to insert his penis into her
vagina. AAA felt pain in her genitalia. Thereafter, appellant went back to sleep leaving
AAA crying. At about 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning, appellant left AAA with a letter
apologizing for what happened and begging her not to tell on his wife. The letter reads:
Ne!

Sorry Ne. Patawarin mo ko. Dala lang ng kalasingan kaya ko nagawa ang ganung
bagay. Sana po wala ng ibang makaalam nito lalu na si Ate Cindy mo. Ayokong
masira na naman ang pamilya ko at mga buhay natin. Paki tapon muna to pag tapos
mong basahin.[5]

At around 5:00 in the afternoon of that same date, AAA related to appellant's wife the
rape incident.[6] And on 1 June 2009, AAA, accompanied by her father, reported the
incident to the police and she executed a sworn statement detailing the rape.[7]

The prosecution presented a provisional medico-legal report on the examination


conducted on AAA by Irene D. Baluyut of Philippine General Hospital which essentially
states that there is no evident injury on AAA at the time of the examination.

Also submitted as part of the prosecution's evidence is the birth certificate of AAA to
prove that she was still a minor at the time the rape was committed on 14 May 2009.

Appellant admitted that AAA is his sister but he proffered the defense of alibi and
claimed that he was staying in Alfonso, Cavite on 14 May 2009 and only went back to
his house in Dasmariñas on 26 May 2009. Appellant vehemently denied the accusation
against him and speculated that AAA resented him because he was strict with his
sister. Appellant also denied writing the apology letter and presented his specimen
handwriting in court.[8]

After evaluating the evidence, the trial court found appellant guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of rape and meted out the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The
dispositive portion of the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused MICHAEL JOSON y ROGANDO guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape as defined in Article 266-A paragraph 1 of
the Revised Penal Code in relation to Republic Act No. 7610, and hereby sentences the
accused to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and the said accused is hereby
ordered to indemnify the victim by way of moral damages in the amount of
Php50,000.00, civil indemnity ex-delicto in the amount of Php50,000.00 and
exemplary damages in the amount of Php25,000.00.[9]

The trial court found credible the testimony of AAA. It noted that appellant even wrote
to the victim that he was sorry for what he has done. The trial court considered the
letter as admission against appellant's interest.
Appellant filed a Notice of Appeal.[10] On 31 August 2012, the Court of Appeals
rendered the assailed decision affirming the judgment of conviction.

Appellant filed a Notice of Appeal[11]with the appellate court. In a Resolution[12] dated


19 June 2013, the Court ordered the elevation of the records and directed the parties to
file their respective supplemental briefs should they so desire. However, appellant and
the Office of the Solicitor- General both manifested that they were adopting their
respective appeal briefs previously filed with the Court of Appeals.[13]

In his Appeal Brief, appellant maintains that the prosecution failed to prove all the
elements of rape as defined under Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code, particularly
the elements of force, threat or intimidation. Appellant argues that AAA did not allege
that she was threatened by appellant with the use of any firearm or any bladed weapon
nor did appellant say anything to threaten or intimidate her. With respect to moral
ascendancy, appellant contends that the Court in a recent case did not consider a
brother as one of those close kin who has moral ascendancy over a victim that would
substitute for force and intimidation. Appellant further points out that there was no
showing of any resistance on the part of AAA to his alleged sexual advances.

Upon a careful evaluation of the case, we find no reason to reverse appellant's


conviction.

For a charge of rape under Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, the
prosecution must prove that: (1) the offender had carnal knowledge of a woman; and
(2) he accomplished this act through force, threat or intimidation, when she was
deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious, or when she was under 12 years of age or
was demented.[14]

AAA gave a complete account of her ordeal in the hands of her own brother, to wit:

Q: Do you know one Michael Joson?


A: Opo.
Q: Why do you know him?
A: He is my brother.
Q: Is he inside the courtroom?
A: Opo.
Please point to him. (Witness points to a man wearing a yellow tshirt, who
Q:
when asked what his name is, answered "Michael Joson.")

Q: On May 14, 2009, around 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon, where were you?
A: Nasa bahay po.
Q: What were you doing in your house?
A: Tulog po.
Q: What time did you wake up?
A: Sa tingin ko po mga 1:00 o'clock.
Q: Will you please tell this Honorable Court the reason why you woke up early?
A: Hinuhubaran po niya ako.
Q: Who are you referring to?
A: Ng kapatid ko.
He was undressing you? So what did you do while he was undressing you,
Q:
while you were lying or sleeping? That's why you were awakened?
A: Opo.
Q: So what happened next when you felt that he was undressing you?
A: Pumalag po ako, kasi hinihigpitan po niya ako sa braso ko.
Q: So what else did you do?
A: Sabi po niya kasi, wag daw po ako maingay.
Who was your companion in the house, aside from your brother?
Q:
Who else was there in the house?
A: Wala po.
Q: Where were they?
A: 'Yung asawa niya po, umuwi sa kanila.
Q: What about your parents, where were they?
A: 'Yung tatay ko po, nagtatrabaho.
Q: Your mother?
A: Patay na po.
Q: What happened next when you were told not to shout?
Hinubaran niya po 'yung ibaba ko, tapos pumatong po siya sa ibabaw ko
A:
tapos pinaghahalikan niya ko.
Q: Was he able to undress you?
A: Opo.
Q: Totally?
A: Opo.
Q: Thereafter, what did you do?
A: Pinaghahalikan niya po ako.
Q: What were you doing?
A: Umiiyak lang po ako.
Q: What about the accused, what did he do to you?
A: Pumatong po siya sa ibabaw ko.
Q: He went on top of you? Thereafter what did the accused do next?
A: Pilit niya pong ipinapasok ang ari niya sa ari ko.
Q: Was he able to insert his penis?
A: Opo.
Q: For how long?
A: Matagal po.
Q: How did you feel when his organ was inside your organ?
A: Masakit po.
Q: And what (sic) you trying to do while his organ was inside?
A: Umiiyak lang po ako.
Q: After that, what happened next?
Pinaghahalikan niya pa rin po ako, tapos tumayo po siya sandali tapos
A:
humiga po uli siya. Natulog po.
Q: What about you, you went to sleep also?
A: Hindi po, umiiyak lang po ako.
The following day, in the morning, were you not able to sleep after that
Q:
incident?
A: Hindi po.
Q: What did you do?
A: Doon lang po, umiiyak lang po.
Q: What about the accused?
A: Doon lang din po siya.
Q: Beside you?
A: Opo.
Q: And what happened next, at 6:00 o'clock in the morning or 7:00 o'clock?
A: May iniwan po siyang sulat.
Q: Where did he go, if you know?
A: Sa trabaho po.
Q: What was the letter all about?
A: Humihingi po siya ng sorry.[15]

Her testimony has established all the elements of rape required under Article 266-A of
the Revised Penal Code. First, appellant had carnal knowledge of the victim. AAA
positively identified her own brother as the assailant. She was likewise unwavering in
her narration that appellant inserted his penis into her vagina. Second, appellant
employed threat, force and intimidation to satisfy his lust. At this juncture, we quote
with approval the ruling of the Court of Appeals on this point:

The Supreme Court has, time and again, ruled that the force or violence that is required
in rape cases is relative; when applied, it need not be overpowering or irresistible. That
it enables the offender to consummate his purpose is enough. The parties' relative age,
size and strength should be taken into account in evaluating the existence of the
element of force in the crime of rape. The degree of force which may not suffice when
the victim is an adult may be more than enough if employed against a person of tender
age.

In the case at bench, the accused-appellant employed that amount of force sufficient to
consummate the rape. It must be stressed that, at the time of the incident, AAA was
only 14 years old. Considering the tender years of the offended party as compared to
the accused-appellant who was in the prime of his life, the act of the accused-appellant
in pinning the arms of AAA to avoid any form of resistance from her suffices. Force or
intimidation is not limited to physical force. As long as it is present and brings the
desired result, all consideration of whether it was more or less irresistible is beside the
point.

xxxx

We are not persuaded by the accused-appellant's insistence that the absence of any
resistance on the part of AAA raised doubts as to whether the sexual congress was
without her consent. The failure of the victim to shout for help or resist the sexual
advances of the rapist is not tantamount to consent. Physical resistance need not be
established in rape when threats and intimidation are employed and the victim submits
herself to her attackers of because of fear.

Besides, physical resistance is not the sole test to determine whether a woman
voluntarily succumbed to the lust of an accused. Rape victims show no uniform
reaction. Some may offer strong resistance while others may be too intimidated to
offer any resistance at all. After all, resistance is not an element of rape and its absence
does not denigrate AAA's claim that the accused-appellant consummated his bestial
act.[16]

Anent appellant's argument that as a brother he lacks moral ascendancy over her sister,
the victim, that could substitute for force and intimidation, our ruling in People v.
Villaruel,[17] as cited by the Court of Appeals, has rejected such proposition.

The fact remains that Myra positively testified in court that her brother sexually
molested her in the morning of February 21, 1996. The accused-appellant was her older
brother who had definitely moral ascendancy over her. He, being the eldest had
definitely moral ascendancy over her. He, being the eldest among the children since
both of their parents were dead, the accused-appellant stood as guardian of the
siblings. Thus, when the complainant was roused from her sleep to accompany the
accused-appellant to buy bread, the complainant obediently followed him. To the
accused-appellant, this was highly improbable that the complainant would entertain
his plea to go out with him at such an unholy hour or even allegedly knowing fully well
that the latter had taken shabu and liquor. There is nothing incredible with the
complainant's story. Notwithstanding the time or the physical condition of her brother,
Myra certainly did not expect that he had other ill motives against her. It certainly is
not normal for a brother to take out his lust on his sister. Myra also testified that she
did not resist his advances for fear of her life as her brother had two (2) fan knives
poking at her as she was being raped. More importantly, the moral ascendancy and
influence the accused-appellant has over the complainant sufficiently substitute for the
force and intimidation required in rape.[18]

Moreover, the RTC, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals found AAA's testimony
credible. The trial court, having the opportunity to observe the witnesses and their
demeanor during the trial, can best assess the credibility of the witnesses and their
testimonies. Thus, the trial court's findings are accorded great respect unless the trial
court has overlooked or misconstrued some substantial facts, which if considered
might affect the result of the case.[19]

With respect to appellant's defense of denial and alibi, it is an oft- repeated rule that
positive identification where categorical and consistent and without any showing of ill-
motive on the part of the eyewitness testifying on the matter prevails over a denial
which, if not substantiated by clear and convincing evidence is negative and self-
serving evidence undeserving of weight in law. They cannot be given greater
evidentiary value over the testimony of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative
matters.[20]

We likewise agree that appellant should suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.Article
266-B of the Revised Penal Code provides that the death penalty shall also be imposed
if the crime of rape is committed when the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age
and the offender is a parent, ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by
consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the
parent of the victim. Pursuant to Republic Act No. 9346 which prohibits the imposition
of the death penalty, however, the imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua.

In conformance with the prevailing jurisprudence, we deem it proper to modify the


amount of damages awarded in this case. In People v. Gambao,[21]we increase the
amounts of indemnity and damage where the penalty for the crime committed is death
but which cannot be imposed because of Republic Act No. 9346, as follow:

1. P100,000.00 as civil indemnity;

2. P100,000.00 as moral damages which the victim is assumed to have suffered and
thus needs no proof; and

3. P100,000.00 as exemplary damages to set an example for the public good.

All damages awarded shall earn legal interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the
date of finality of judgment until fully paid.[22]

WHEREFORE, the Court of Appeals' decision dated 31 August 2012 finding appellant
Michael Joson y Rogando guilty beyond reasonable doubt of rape and sentencing him
to reclusion perpetua is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. The civil indemnity
awarded is increased to P100,000.00; moral damages to P100,000.00; and the
exemplary damages to P100,000.00. The award of damages shall earn interest at the
rate of 6% per annum from the date of finality of the judgment until fully paid.

SO ORDERED.

Sereno, C.J., (Chairperson), Leonardo-De Castro, Bersamin, and Perlas-Bernabe, JJ.,


concur.

G.R. No. 189293. July 10, 2013.*


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. VICENTE CANDELLADA, accused-
appellant.

Criminal Law; Qualified Rape; Elements of.—For a conviction of qualified rape, the prosecution must
allege and prove the ordinary elements of (1) sexual congress, (2) with a woman, (3) by force and without
consent; and in order to warrant the imposition of the death penalty, the additional elements that (4) the
victim is under eighteen years of age at the time of the rape, and (5) the offender is a parent (whether
legitimate, illegitimate or adopted) of the victim.
Same; Alibi; No jurisprudence in criminal law is more settled than that alibi is the weakest of all
defenses, for it is easy to contrive and difficult to disprove, and for which reason it is generally rejected.—
Accused-appellant’s denial and alibi deserve scant consideration. No jurisprudence in criminal law is more
settled than that alibi is the weakest of all defenses, for it is easy to contrive and difficult to disprove, and
for which reason it is generally rejected. It has been consistently held that denial and alibi are the most
common defenses in rape cases. Denial could not prevail over complainant’s direct, positive and categorical
assertion. As between a positive and categorical testimony which has the ring of truth, on one hand, and a
bare denial, on the other, the former is generally held to prevail.

Same; Penalties; Parole; Section 3 of Republic Act No. 9346 provides that persons convicted of offenses
punished with reclusion perpetua, or whose sentences will be reduced to reclusion perpetua, shall not be
eligible for parole under Act No. 4103, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended.—
With the guilt of accused-appellant for the eight rapes already established beyond reasonable doubt, the
Court of Appeals was correct in imposing the penalty of reclusion perpetua, without eligibility of parole,
instead of death, for each count of rape, pursuant to Republic Act No. 9346. Section 2 of Republic Act No.
9346 imposes the penalty of reclusion perpetua in lieu of death, when the law violated makes use of the
nomenclature of the penalties of the Revised Penal Code. Section 3 of Republic Act No. 9346 further provides
that persons convicted of offenses punished with reclusion perpetua, or whose sentences will be reduced
to reclusion perpetua, shall not be eligible for parole under Act No. 4103, otherwise known as the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 189293 July 10, 2013

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
VICENTE CANDELLADA, Accused-Appellant.

DECISION

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:

Before this Court is the appeal of the Decision dated April 29, 2009 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G,R. CR.-H. C.
No. 00361-MIN,1 which affirmed the Consolidated Decision2 dated December 23, 2005 of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC), Branch 7, Tubod, Lanao del Norte in Criminal Case Nos. 118-07-2005 and 159-07-2005 to 166-07-2005,
acquitting accused-appellant Vicente Candellada of the charge of attempted rape but finding him guilty of eight
counts of rape.

Accused-appellant was charged with attempted rape before the RTC under the following Information, docketed as
Criminal Case No. 118-07-2005:

That on or about December 28, 2004, at about 7:00 o'clock in the evening at x x x, Lanao del Norte, Philippines and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, who is father of AAA3, a 14-year-old
minor, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously with lewd design, and who was under the influence of
liquor, wanted to have sexual intercourse with said AAA, but the latter strongly refused, so that accused got mad
and boxed, and battered AAA, by the use of a piece of wood, but did not perform all the acts of execution which
should have produced the crime of Rape as a consequence by reason of the fact that AAA, shouted for help and the
people of x x x, Lanao del Norte, were able to apprehend the aforesaid accused.4

Accused-appellant was likewise charged with eight counts of consummated rape committed on May 30, 2004,5 June
2, 2004,6 June 12, 2004,7 July 10, 2004,8 August 13, 2004,9 November 5, 2004,10December 15, 2004,11 and
December 25, 200412 under eight Informations, docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 159-07-2005 to 166-07-2005. The
Informations were similarly worded except for the different dates of commission of the crime and read as follows:

That on or about date at x x x, Lanao del Norte, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused, through force, threats and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
have (sic) carnal knowledge upon AAA, the accused’s own daughter, a minor 14 years of age, against her will and
consent, which sexual abuse by the accused debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of said
child as a human being.

CONTRARY to and in VIOLATION of R.A. 8353, otherwise known as the Anti-Rape Law in relation to R.A. 7610
otherwise known as the Anti-Child Abuse Law.

Accused-appellant was arraigned on May 17, 2005 with the assistance of counsel. He pleaded not guilty to the
charges against him.13

During pre-trial, the defense admitted that accused-appellant is the father of private complainant AAA and that AAA
was 15 years of age at the time of the commission of the crimes charged and/or filing of the cases.14

Thereafter, the nine criminal cases were tried jointly.

The prosecution presented as witnesses Dr. Jovenal Magtagad (Magtagad),15 the Municipal Health Officer who
physically examined AAA on December 29, 2004; AAA,16 the victim herself; Elsie Gemina (Gemina),17 the owner of
the house in Lanao del Norte where accused-appellant and AAA lived; and Senior Police Officer (SPO) 4 Rosa
Bastigue (Bastigue),18 Women’s Desk Police Non-Commissioned Officer (PNCO), Magsaysay Police Station. It also
presented the following documentary evidence: Gemina’s Affidavit19dated January 3, 2005; AAA’s Sworn
Statement20 dated January 3, 2005; Joint Affidavit21 dated January 3, 2005 of SPO4 Bastigue, Police Investigator
SPO3 Orlando Caroro, and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Officer Virgilio Yaral (Yaral);
and Dr. Magtagad’s Medical Certificate22 dated December 29, 2004.
The evidence for the prosecution presented the following version of events:

AAA was born in Davao on January 10, 1990. She was 15 years old when she testified before the RTC on August
24, 2005.23

AAA was the second of three daughters of accused-appellant and his deceased first wife. AAA lived with accused-
appellant and the latter’s second wife, while AAA’s two sisters lived with accused-appellant’s mother. While they
were still living in Davao, accused-appellant impregnated AAA. When AAA was already five months pregnant,
accused-appellant brought her with him to Lanao del Norte. Accused-appellant and AAA arrived in Lanao del Norte
on May 30, 2004.24

Accused-appellant approached Gemina, who he came to know during a previous visit to Lanao del Norte in 1993.
Accused-appellant asked permission if he could stay at Gemina’s old house with his wife, introducing AAA to
Gemina as his wife. Gemina immediately noticed that AAA was pregnant. She also commented that AAA was so
young she could already be accused-appellant’s daughter, but accused-appellant only laughed. Gemina and her
husband allowed accused-appellant and AAA to stay at their old house on the condition that accused-appellant
would pay for the electricity.25

While they were staying at Gemina’s old house, accused-appellant had intercourse with AAA many times, but AAA
could only remember eight specific dates, i.e., on May 30, 2004; June 2, 2004; June 12, 2004; July 10, 2004; August
13, 2004; November 5, 2004; December 15, 2004; and December 25, 2004. When asked to explain what
"intercourse" meant, AAA stated that accused-appellant inserted his penis into her vagina. AAA further testified that
she consistently resisted accused-appellant’s bestial acts but he threatened to stab her with a knife. Lastly, AAA
narrated that she delivered a baby boy with Gemina’s help on September 24, 2004, but the baby died four days
later, on September 28, 2004.26

On December 28, 2004, accused-appellant again made amorous advances on AAA. AAA refused so accused-
appellant became violently angry. He mauled AAA and hit her head with a piece of wood, which rendered her
unconscious.27 Gemina, who saw what happened, asked help from the Barangay Captain. The Barangay Captain
and civilian volunteers arrested the accused-appellant.28

According to Gemina, since accused-appellant and AAA arrived in Lanao del Norte, the two lived as husband and
wife. However, sometime in December 2004, a drunk accused-appellant already admitted to Gemina’s husband that
AAA was his (accused-appellant’s) daughter. Gemina further testified that the mauling incident that took place on
December 28, 2004 was already the fourth time she saw accused-appellant maltreating AAA.29

After conducting a physical examination of AAA on December 29, 2004, Dr. Magtagad observed hematoma,
contusions, and abrasions on different parts of AAA’s body, which were caused by a blunt object, possibly a piece of
wood.30 Dr. Magtagad estimated that AAA’s injuries would heal in five to seven days. AAA did not mention being
raped by accused-appellant to Dr. Magtagad.

SPO4 Bastigue, SPO3 Caroro, and DSWD Officer Yaral were assigned to AAA’s case. They were initially
investigating only the mauling of AAA, but during the course of their investigation, AAA claimed that she had been
raped by accused-appellant at least eight times.31 In their Joint Affidavit though, SPO4 Bastigue, SPO3 Caroro, and
DSWD Officer Yaral reported only the mauling of AAA and did not mention her being raped by accused-appellant.
SPO4 Bastigue reasoned on the witness stand that maybe the investigator merely forgot to include the rapes in the
Joint Affidavit.

The sole evidence for the defense is accused-appellant’s testimony, summarized as follows:

Accused-appellant acknowledged that AAA is his daughter with his deceased first wife.32 Accused-appellant stated
that AAA was born on January 10 but since he was unschooled, he could not remember the exact year of AAA’s
birth.

Accused-appellant recalled that AAA went to school in Davao. Accused-appellant and AAA had misunderstandings
because he would admonish AAA for roaming around late in the evening. In 2004, AAA got pregnant and had to
stop her studies. Accused-appellant did not inquire from AAA’s sisters, friends, classmates, or teachers who
impregnated AAA. Accused-appellant, upon the insistence of his second wife, brought AAA to Lanao del Norte to
conceal AAA’s pregnancy. Accused-appellant and AAA stayed at Gemina’s old house while in Lanao del Norte.
Accused-appellant denied introducing AAA to Gemina as his wife. He introduced AAA to Gemina as his daughter
and said that AAA was impregnated by a classmate. By accused-appellant’s account, AAA gave birth on October
10, 2004 but the baby died. Accused-appellant and AAA were planning to go back to Davao in January 2005 after
accused-appellant had saved enough money from making charcoal and cutting grass.33

Accused-appellant outright called AAA a liar. He denied raping AAA eight times between May 30, 2004 to December
25, 2004. He also asserted that he could not have made an attempt to rape AAA on December 28, 2004 as he was
already in jail by that time. Accused-appellant claimed that he was already arrested on December 23, 2004, a
Tuesday, after he struck AAA.34

The RTC rendered its Consolidated Decision on December 23, 2005.

The RTC found that there was not enough evidence to prove accusedappellant’s culpability for the charge of
attempted rape on December 28, 2004. Citing Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code,35 the RTC pointed out that the
overt acts committed by accused-appellant resulted only in AAA’s physical injuries that took five to seven days to
heal and slight physical injuries were not necessarily included in the charge of attempted rape. As for the charge of
eight counts of consummated rape, the RTC pronounced that "AAA’s down-to-earth testimony was convincing and
straightforward that she was abused by her father in x x x Lanao del Norte."36 In the end, the RTC adjudged:

WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing consideration, and by the weight or quantum of evidence, the Court
renders judgment as follows:

1. For failure of the prosecution to establish the guilt of accused beyond reasonable doubt in Crim. Case
No. 118-07-2005, for attempted rape in relation with Republic Act No. 9262, acquits him thereof;

2. In Criminal Case Nos. 159-07-2005, 160-07-2005, 161-07-2005, 162-07-2005, 163-07-2005, 164-07-


2005, 165-07-2005, and 166-07-2005, pursuant to Article 266-B, of the Revised Penal Code, as amended
by Republic Act No. 8353, otherwise known as the Anti-Rape Law of 1997, in relation with Republic Act No.
7610, otherwise known as Anti-Child Abuse Law, finding accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of rape as charged and committed against his minor daughter, AAA, and sentences him to suffer the
supreme penalty of DEATH in each of the 8 counts thereof;

3. Accused is ordered to pay moral damages to complainant of ₱75,000.00 and exemplary damages of
₱25,000.00 in each of the 8 cases of rape;

4. The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology warden of Tubod, Lanao de Norte is ordered to deliver the
living body of accused to the National Penitentiary, Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila within 15 days from the
promulgation of the decision.37

The records of the eight rape cases were then forwarded to the Court of Appeals for appellate review.

In his Brief, accused-appellant contended that the RTC erred in finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of eight
counts of rape. AAA’s short and simple answers during her testimony "were short of a mere allegation." Despite
remembering the dates of the alleged crimes, AAA could not vividly describe how she was molested. AAA merely
repeated that on all eight occasions, accused-appellant had intercourse with her by inserting his penis into her
vagina. AAA’s uniform manner of describing the alleged rapes created a strong suspicion that her testimony had
been coached, rehearsed, or contrived. Accused-appellant also labeled AAA’s testimony incredible because
according to AAA, accused-appellant immediately inserted his penis into her vagina without even taking off their
undergarments. Thus, accused-appellant argued that the presumption of innocence accorded to accused-appellant
must prevail, for it could not be overcome by mere suspicion, conjecture, or probability. The standard has always
been proof beyond reasonable doubt.38

Plaintiff-appellee, for its part, maintained that the RTC judgment of conviction against accused-appellant was
consistent with prevailing jurisprudence. However, it prayed that the sentence imposed upon accused-appellant be
modified in accordance with Republic Act No. 9346, An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of the Death Penalty in the
Philippines.39

In its Decision dated April 29, 2009, the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of conviction against accused-
appellant but modified the sentence and award of damages:

IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the decision of the court a quo is modified, and after taking into account the
qualified aggravating circumstances of minority of the victim and her relationship with accused-appellant Vicente
Candellada, he (Vicente Candellada) is DIRECTED and ORDERED to serve the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua
without the eligibility for parole for each rape committed under Criminal Cases Nos. 159-07-2005, 160-07-2005, 161-
07-2005, 162-07-2005, 163-07-2005, 164-07-2005, 165-07-2005, and 166-07-2005. Accused-appellant Vicente
Candellada is further DIRECTED and ORDERED to pay AAA the following for each rape committed:

₱75,000.00 as Civil Indemnity;

₱75,000.00 as Moral Damages;

₱25,000.00 as Exemplary Damages.

Hence, the instant appeal.

Accused-appellant insists that the RTC erred in convicting him despite the failure of the prosecution to prove his
guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

There is no merit in the appeal.

Qualified rape is defined and punished under the following provisions of the Revised Penal Code, as amended:

ART. 266-A. Rape; When and How Committed. – Rape is committed –

1) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:

a) Through force, threat or intimidation;

b) When the offended party is deprived of reason or is otherwise unconscious;

c) By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority;

d) When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the
circumstances mentioned above be present.

xxxx

ART. 266-B. Penalties. – x x x.

xxxx

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

1) When the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, stepparent,
guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of
the victim.

For a conviction of qualified rape, the prosecution must allege and prove the ordinary elements of (1) sexual
congress, (2) with a woman, (3) by force and without consent; and in order to warrant the imposition of the death
penalty, the additional elements that (4) the victim is under eighteen years of age at the time of the rape, and (5) the
offender is a parent (whether legitimate, illegitimate or adopted) of the victim.40

The fourth and fifth elements, minority and relationship, were admitted by accused-appellant during the pre-trial
conference.

The existence of the first three elements was established by AAA’s testimony. Relevant are the pronouncements of
the Court in People v. Manjares41 that:

In a prosecution for rape, the accused may be convicted solely on the basis of the testimony of the victim that is
credible, convincing, and consistent with human nature and the normal course of things, as in this case. There is a
plethora of cases which tend to disfavor the accused in a rape case by holding that when a woman declares that
she has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape has been committed and, where her
testimony passes the test of credibility, the accused can be convicted on the basis thereof. Furthermore, the Court
has repeatedly declared that it takes a certain amount of psychological depravity for a young woman to concoct a
story which would put her own father to jail for the rest of his remaining life and drag the rest of the family including
herself to a lifetime of shame. For this reason, courts are inclined to give credit to the straightforward and consistent
testimony of a minor victim in criminal prosecutions for rape. (Citations omitted.)

The Court will not disturb the finding of the RTC, affirmed by the Court of Appeals, that AAA’s testimony deserves
full faith and credence. In resolving rape cases, primordial consideration is given to the credibility of the victim’s
testimony. The settled rule is that the trial court's conclusions on the credibility of witnesses in rape cases are
generally accorded great weight and respect, and at times, even finality. Having seen and heard the witnesses
themselves and observed their behavior and manner of testifying, the trial court stood in a much better position to
decide the question of credibility. Findings of the trial court on such matters are binding and conclusive on the
appellate court, unless some facts or circumstances of weight and substance have been overlooked,
misapprehended or misinterpreted.42 No such facts or circumstances exist in the present case.

The uniform way by which AAA described the eight rape incidents does not necessarily mean that her testimony
was coached, rehearsed, and contrived. Also, AAA’s failure to mention that accused-appellant removed their
undergarments prior to the rape does not destroy the credibility of AAA’s entire testimony. Rape victims do not
cherish keeping in their memory an accurate account of the manner in which they were sexually violated. Thus,
errorless recollection of a harrowing experience cannot be expected of a witness, especially when she is recounting
details from an experience so humiliating and painful as rape.43 In addition, bearing in mind that AAA had been
repeatedly raped by accused-appellant for a period of time (beginning in Davao, which resulted in AAA’s
pregnancy), it is not surprising for AAA to recall each incident in much the same way. What is important is that AAA
had categorically testified that on eight specific dates, her father, accused-appellant, armed with a knife,
successfully had sexual intercourse with her by inserting his penis into her vagina.

It is noteworthy to mention that even if accused-appellant did not use a knife or made threats to AAA, accused-
appellant would still be guilty of raping AAA, for in rape committed by a close kin, such as the victim's father,
stepfather, uncle, or the common-law spouse of her mother, it is not necessary that actual force or intimidation be
employed; moral influence or ascendancy takes the place of violence or intimidation.44

Although Gemina did not personally witness the rapes of AAA by accused-appellant, she did confirm that accused-
appellant had introduced AAA as his wife; and when Gemina stayed a week with accused-appellant and AAA at the
old house, Gemina observed that the two apparently lived as husband and wife. Accused-appellant’s imprudence in
representing himself as AAA’s husband to the public lends credence to AAA’s assertions that accused-appellant
took perverted liberties with her in private.

Accused-appellant’s denial and alibi deserve scant consideration. No jurisprudence in criminal law is more settled
1âwphi1

than that alibi is the weakest of all defenses, for it is easy to contrive and difficult to disprove, and for which reason it
is generally rejected. It has been consistently held that denial and alibi are the most common defenses in rape
cases. Denial could not prevail over complainant's direct, positive and categorical assertion. As between a positive
and categorical testimony which has the ring of truth, on one hand, and a bare denial, on the other, the former is
generally held to prevail.45
Accused-appellant proffered a general denial of all eight rapes. Accused-appellant’s alibi that he was arrested and
imprisoned on December 23, 2004 is not supported by positive, clear, and satisfactory evidence. In fact, it was
entirely uncorroborated. Moreover, he was charged of seven other counts of rape that happened on earlier dates. In
contrast, prosecution witnesses AAA, Gemina, and SPO4 Bastigue consistently testified that accused-appellant was
arrested only on December 28, 2004.

With the guilt of accused-appellant for the eight rapes already established beyond reasonable doubt, the Court of
Appeals was correct in imposing the penalty of reclusion perpetua, without eligibility of parole, instead of death, for
each count of rape, pursuant to Republic Act No. 9346.

Section 2 of Republic Act No. 9346 imposes the penalty of reclusion perpetua in lieu of death, when the law violated
makes use of the nomenclature of the penalties of the Revised Penal Code. Section 3 of Republic Act No. 9346
further provides that persons convicted of offenses punished with reclusion perpetua, or whose sentences will be
reduced to reclusion perpetua, shall not be eligible for parole under Act No. 4103, otherwise known as the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended.46

As for the damages, the Court affirms the award to AAA of ₱75,000.00 civil indemnity and ₱75,000.00 moral
damages for each count of rape. However, in line with jurisprudence,47 the Court increases the amount of exemplary
damages awarded to AAA from ₱25,000.00 to ₱30,000.00 for each count of rape; and imposes an interest of 6%
per annum on the aggregate amount of damages awarded from finality of this judgment until full payment thereof.

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 00361-MIN is AFFIRMED with
MODIFICATION that the amount of exemplary damages awarded to AAA shall be increased to ₱30,000.00 for each
count of rape, and all damages awarded shall be subject to interest at the legal rate of 6% per annum from the date
of finality of this Decision until fully paid. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO


Associate Justice

G.R. No. 191362. October 9, 2013.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MARCIANO CIAL y LORENA, accused-


appellant.

Criminal Law; Rape; It is settled jurisprudence that rape can be committed even in places where people
congregate.―We are not persuaded by appellant’s argument that if he indeed raped “AAA” inside their
house, then “AAA’s” maternal grandmother would have noticed the same. It is settled jurisprudence that
rape can be committed even in places where people congregate. As held by the CA, “lust is no respecter of
time and place.” Thus, the presence of “AAA’s” grandmother would not negate the commission of the rape;
neither would it prove appellant’s innocence.

Same; Qualifying Circumstances; Suffice it to state that qualifying circumstances must be proved beyond
reasonable doubt just like the crime itself.―Suffice it to state that qualifying circumstances must be
proved beyond reasonable doubt just like the crime itself. In this case, the prosecution utterly failed to
prove beyond reasonable doubt the qualifying circumstances of minority and relationship. As such,
appellant should only be convicted of the crime of simple rape, the penalty for which is reclusion perpetua.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 191362 October 9, 2013

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
MARCIANO CIAL y LORENA, Accused-Appellant.

DECISION

DEL CASTILLO, J.:

Assailed before this Court is the November 24, 2009 Decision1 of the Court or Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C.
No. 03162 which affirmed with modifications the November 26, 2007 Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) or
Gumaca, Quezon, Branch 62 finding appellant Marciano Cial y Lorena guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
of qualified rape.

On February 5, 2004, appellant was charged with the crime of rape. The Information3 reads as follows:

That on or about the month of December. 2002. at Barangay Balubad, Municipality of Atimonan, Province of
Quezon, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court the above-named accused. with lewd design,
by means of force and intimidation did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of
"AAA",4 a minor, 13 years old, against her will.

That the commission of the rape was attended by the qualifying circumstances of minority, the victim being less than
18 years old, and relationship, the accused being the common-law husband of complainant’s mother.

Contrary to law.

During his arraignment on June 29, 2004, appellant pleaded not guilty.5After pre-trial, trial on the merits ensued.

Version of the Prosecution

The version of the prosecution as summarized in the Appellee’s Brief6 is as follows:

"AAA" is one of the six (6) children born to "BBB" and "CCC." After "CCC" died, "BBB" cohabited with appellant
Marciano Cial (also known as "Onot"). Appellant and "BBB" have two (2) children.

In 2002, "AAA", then thirteen (13) years old, was a Grade I pupil and was residing with her family and appellant in x
x x Quezon Province. "AAA" calls appellant "Papa."

Sometime in December 2002, appellant called "AAA" and told her to go to the bedroom inside their house. Once
inside, appellant took off "AAA’s" shorts and panty and spread her legs. Appellant pulled his pants down to his
thighs and inserted his penis into the little girl’s vagina. "AAA" felt intense pain but she did not try to struggle
because appellant had a bolo on his waist. After satiating his lust, appellant threatened to kill "AAA" and her family if
she reported the incident to anyone. At that time, "AAA’s" maternal grandmother was in the house but was unaware
that "AAA" was being ravished.

xxxx

Unable to endure the torment, "AAA" confided her ordeal to her mother. But "AAA’s" mother did not believe her.
"AAA" ran away from home and went to her maternal uncle’s house. There, she disclosed her harrowing experience
to her mother’s siblings. Her uncle appeared to be angered by appellant’s wrong doing. But nonetheless, her uncle
allowed appellant to bring her home when appellant fetched her.

For fear that she might be raped again, "AAA" ran away and went to the house of her aunt. Her aunt helped her file
the complaint against her stepfather.

On March 19, 2003, "AAA" was brought to Doña Marta Memorial District Hospital in Atimonan, Quezon where she
was physically examined by Dr. Arnulfo Imperial. Dr. Imperial issued a Medico-Legal Report which essentially states
that:

1) she was negative to pubic hair; there was a negative physical injury at the pubic area, with normal
external genitalia;

2) the hymen has an old laceration on the 12 o’clock and 5o’clock positions, introitus admits one examining
finger with ease; and

3) spermatozoa determination result was negative for examination of spermatozoa.

According to Dr. Imperial, the negative result for pubic hair as indicated in his report means that the victim has not
yet fully developed her secondary characteristics which usually manifests during puberty. Dr. Imperial explained that
the easy insertion of one finger into her vagina means that the child was no longer a virgin and that it would be
difficult to insert even the tip of the little finger into the private part of a virgin as she would have suffered pain. On
the absence of spermatozoa on the victim’s genitals, Dr. Imperial explained that a sperm has a life span of three (3)
days. The lapse of almost four months from the time of the rape would naturally yield negative results for
spermatozoa.

On April 7, 2003, "AAA" and her aunt sought the assistance of the Crisis Center for Women at Gumaca, Quezon.
"AAA" was admitted to the said center and still continued to reside therein at the time of her testimony.7

Version of the Defense

As to be expected, appellant denied the charge. He alleged that he treated "AAA" as his own daughter. He also
claimed that "AAA’s" aunt fabricated the charge because appellant called her a thief.

Ruling of the Regional Trial Court

The trial court lent credence to the testimony of "AAA" especially considering that the same is corroborated by the
medical findings. On the other hand, the RTC found appellant’s defense not only "laughable" and "sickening" but
also completely untrue.8

The court a quo also found the qualifying circumstances of minority and relationship to be present. Thus, on
November 26, 2007, the RTC rendered its Decision finding appellant guilty of qualified rape. Considering, however,
the proscription on the imposition of the death penalty, the trial court instead sentenced appellant to reclusion
perpetua.

The dispositive portion of the RTC Decision reads:

WHEREFORE, accused Marciano Cial is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape and he is
sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and the complainant "AAA" is awarded moral and exemplary
damages in the amount of Fifty Thousand (₱50,000.00) Pesos.

Costs against the accused.

SO ORDERED.9

Ruling of the Court of Appeals


Appellant appealed to the CA but the appellate court found the appeal to be without merit and dismissed the same.
The appellate court thus affirmed the RTC finding appellant guilty of qualified rape but with modifications as to the
damages, viz:

FOR THESE REASONS, the decision dated November 26, 2007 of the RTC is AFFIRMED with the following
MODIFICATIONS:

1. MARCIANO CIAL y LORENA is sentenced to reclusion perpetua conformably with R.A. No. 9346, without
eligibility for parole; and

2. He is ordered to indemnify AAA (a) ₱75,000.00 as civil indemnity; (b)₱75,000.00 as moral damages; and
(c) ₱30,000.00 as exemplary damages.

SO ORDERED.10

The CA found that the elements of rape have been duly established. "AAA’s" testimony proved that appellant had
carnal knowledge of her against her will and without her consent. The examining doctor corroborated "AAA’s"
narration by testifying that the hymenal lacerations could have been possibly caused by an erect penis. The CA
disregarded appellant’s contention that he could not have raped "AAA" in the presence of "AAA’s" grandmother as
"lust is no respecter of time and place."11Moreover, the appellate court found that the prosecution satisfactorily
established "AAA’s" minority as well as the qualifying circumstance of relationship, appellant being the common-law
husband of "AAA’s" mother.

Hence, this appeal raising the following arguments, viz:

THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING THECIRCUMSTANCES CLEARLY POINTING TO
THE INNOCENCE OF THEACCUSED-APPELLANT.

II

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING ACCUSED-APPELLANTGUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF


RAPE.12

Appellant argues that if he indeed raped "AAA" in the manner that she narrated, it would be improbable for "AAA’s"
maternal grandmother not to have noticed the same. Appellant also claims that it was illogical for "AAA’s" uncle to
allow "AAA" to return home after learning about the alleged rape incident. Appellant also insists that the examining
physician was unsure as to what actually caused "AAA’s" hymenal lacerations.

Our Ruling

The appeal lacks merit.

In this appeal, appellant assails the factual findings of the trial court and the credibility it lent to the testimony of the
victim. As a general rule, however, this Court accords great respect to the factual findings of the RTC, especially
when affirmed by the CA. We find no cogent reason to depart from this rule.

Time and again, we have held that when it comes to the issue of credibility of the victim or the prosecution
witnesses, the findings of the trial courts carry great weight and respect and, generally, the appellate courts will not
overturn the said findings unless the trial court overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some facts or
circumstances of weight and substance which will alter the assailed decision or affect the result of the case. This is
so because trial courts are in the best position to ascertain and measure the sincerity and spontaneity of witnesses
through their actual observation of the witnesses’ manner of testifying, her ‘furtive glance, blush of unconscious
shame, hesitation, flippant or sneering tone, calmness, sigh, or the scant or full realization of an oath’ – all of which
are useful aids for an accurate determination of a witness’ honesty and sincerity. Trial judges, therefore, can better
determine if such witnesses are telling the truth, being in the ideal position to weigh conflicting testimonies. Again,
unless certain facts of substance and value were overlooked which, if considered, might affect the result of the case,
its assessment must be respected, for it had the opportunity to observe the conduct and demeanor of the witnesses
while testifying and detect if they were lying. The rule finds an even more stringent application where the said
findings are sustained by the Court of Appeals. (Citations omitted.)13

Besides, it would not be amiss to point out that "AAA" was only 13 years of age when she testified in court.14

Testimonies of child-victims are normally given full weight and credit, since when a girl, particularly if she is a minor,
says that she has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape has in fact been committed.
When the offended party is of tender age and immature, courts are inclined to give credit to her account of what
transpired, considering not only her relative vulnerability but also the shame to which she would be exposed if the
matter to which she testified is not true. Youth and immaturity are generally badges of truth and sincerity.
Considering her tender age, AAA could not have invented a horrible story. x x x15

We are not persuaded by appellant’s argument that if he indeed raped "AAA" inside their house, then "AAA’s"
maternal grandmother would have noticed the same. It is settled jurisprudence that rape can be committed even in
places where people congregate. As held by the CA, "lust is no respecter of time and place."16 Thus, the presence
of "AAA’s" grandmother would not negate the commission of the rape; neither would it prove appellant’s innocence.

There is also no merit to appellant’s contention that it was irrational for "AAA’s" uncle to allow her to return home
even after learning about the rape incident. The considerations or reasons which impelled "AAA’s" uncle to allow her
to return home are immaterial to the rape charge. Such have no bearing on appellant’s guilt.

Likewise undeserving of our consideration is appellant’s imputation that the examining physician was unsure as to
what caused "AAA’s" hymenal lacerations. It must be stressed that the examining physician was presented to testify
only on the fact that he examined the victim and on the results of such examination. He is thus expected to testify on
the nature, extent and location of the wounds. Dr. Arnulfo Imperial (Dr. Imperial) found, among others, that "AAA"
suffered hymenal lacerations. This refers to the location and nature of the wounds suffered by the victim. Dr.
Imperial could not be expected to establish the cause of such lacerations with particularity because he has no
personal knowledge of how these hymenal lacerations were inflicted on "AAA." He could only surmise that the
lacerations could have been caused "by activities like cycling, horseback riding x x x or the insertion of a hard object
into the vagina of the victim x x x such as the penis."17 In any case, a medical examination is not even indispensable
in prosecuting a rape charge. In fact, an accused’s conviction for rape may be anchored solely on the testimony of
the victim. At best, the medical examination would only serve as corroborative evidence.

We find however that both the trial court and the CA erred in convicting appellant of the crime of qualified rape.
According to both courts, the twin qualifying circumstances of minority and relationship attended the commission of
the crime. We rule otherwise.

In its Formal Offer of Evidence,18 the prosecution mentioned "AAA’s" Certificate of Live Birth. Also attached to the
Folder of Exhibits marked as Exhibit "B" is "AAA’s" Certificate of Live Birth showing that "AAA" was born on October
31, 1991. However, upon closer scrutiny, we note that the said Certificate of Live Birth was never presented or
offered during the trial of the case. During the March 28, 2006 hearing, the prosecution manifested before the RTC
that it will be presenting "AAA’s" Certificate of Live Birth at the next setting. In its Order19 dated June 27, 2006, the
trial court reset the hearing of the case to allow the prosecution to present evidence with respect to "AAA’s"
Certificate of Live Birth. However, up until the prosecution rested its case, nobody was presented to testify on
"AAA’s" Certificate of Live Birth. Records show that the prosecution presented only "AAA" and Dr. Imperial as its
witnesses. Dr. Imperial never testified on "AAA’s" age. On the other hand, "AAA" even testified on the witness stand
that she does not know her age, viz:

Q. Do you remember how old were you during that time?

A. I do not know, ma’am.

Q. Do you know your birthday?

A. I do not know, ma’am.20


Clearly, the prosecution failed to prove the minority of "AAA".

The same is true with respect to the other qualifying circumstance of relationship. The prosecution likewise
miserably failed to establish "AAA’s" relationship with the appellant. Although the Information alleged that appellant
is the common-law husband of "AAA’s" mother, "AAA’" referred to appellant as her step-father.

Q. And who is Onot?

A. He is my step father, ma’am.

Q. What do you mean step father, what is his relation to your mother?

A. He is the husband of my mother, ma’am.

xxxx

Q. When did this Onot become the husband of your mother?

A. I could no longer remember, ma’am.

Q. Were you still small or big when he [became] the husband of your mother?

A. I was still small when he became the husband of my mother, ma’am.

Q. And how do you call this Onot?

A. Papa, ma’am.

Q. Is this Onot whom you called Papa inside this room now?

A. Yes, ma’am. (Witness pointed to the bald man who when asked his name responded that he is Marciano Cial).

Q. Do you know that person?

A. Yes, ma’am.

Q. Why do you know him?

A. Because he is the husband of my mother, ma’am.21

Meanwhile, appellant claimed that he is married to "AAA’s" mother:

Q. You identified yourself Mr. Witness as married. You are married to the mother of "AAA"?A. Yes, Your Honor.

xxxx

Q. So, you mean to say that you are the step father of "AAA"?

A. Yes, sir.22

Even the RTC interchangeably referred to appellant as the common-law husband of "AAA’s" mother23 as well as the
step-father of "AAA".24Moreover, the RTC failed to cite any basis for its reference to appellant as such. In fact, the
RTC Decision is bereft of any discussion as to how it reached its conclusion that appellant is the common-law
husband of "AAA’s" mother or that "AAA" is his step-daughter.
The CA committed the same error. Notwithstanding appellant's claim that he is married to "AAA's" mother, it went on
to declare, without any explanation or justification, that appellant is the common-law husband of "AAA's" mother, viz:

x x x Also. given that Marciano and AAA's mother were not legally married, the qualifying circumstance that the
accused is the common-law husband of the victim's mother may be properly appreciated.25

The tem1s "common-law husband" and "step-father" have different legal connotations. For appellant to be a step-
1âw phi 1

father to "AAA," he must be legally married to "AAA's" mother.26

Suffice it to state that qualifying circumstances must be proved beyond reasonable doubt just like the crime itself In
this case, the prosecution utterly tailed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the qualifying circumstances of minority
and relationship. As such, appellant should only be convicted of the crime of simple rape, the penalty for which is
reclusion perpetua.27

As regards damages, "AAA" is entitled to civil indemnity in the amount of ₱50,000.00, moral damages in the amount
of ₱50,000.00 and exemplary damages in the amount of ₱30,000.00. In addition, interest at the rate of 6% per
annum is imposed on all damages awarded from date of finality of this judgment until fully paid.

WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED. The November 24, 2009Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-
H.C. No. 03162 is MODIFIED. Appellant Marciano Cia! y Lorena is hereby found guilty of rape and is sentenced to
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Appellant is ordered to pay "AAA" the amounts of ₱50,000.00 as civil
indemnity, ₱50,000.00 as moral damages, and ₱30,000.00 as exemplary damages. All damages awarded shall
earn interest at the rate of 6% per annum from date of finality of this judgment until fully paid.

SO ORDERED.

MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO


Associate Justice

G.R. No. 190632. February 26, 2014.*


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MANOLITO
LUCENA y VELASQUEZ, alias “Machete,” accused-appellant.

Criminal Law; Rape; Guiding Principles in the Prosecution of Rape Cases.—Primarily, in reviewing
rape cases, this Court is guided with three settled principles: (1) an accusation of rape can be made with
facility and while the accusation is difficult to prove, it is even more difficult for the person accused,
although innocent, to disprove; (2) considering the intrinsic nature of the crime, only two persons being
usually involved, the testimony of the complainant should be scrutinized with great caution; and (3) the
evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merit, and cannot be allowed to draw strength
from the weakness of the evidence for the defense.

Same; Same; For rape to exist, it is not necessary that the force or intimidation be so great or be of such
character as could not be resisted — it is only necessary that the force or intimidation be sufficient to
consummate the purpose which the accused had in mind; Force is sufficient if it produces fear in the victim,
such as when the latter is threatened with death.—Certainly, carnal knowledge of a woman under any of
the following instances constitutes rape: (1) when force or intimidation is used; (2) when the woman is
deprived of reason or is otherwise unconscious; and (3) when she is under twelve (12) years of age. The force
and violence required in rape cases is relative and need not be overpowering or irresistible when applied.
For rape to exist, it is not necessary that the force or intimidation be so great or be of such character as
could not be resisted — it is only necessary that the force or intimidation be sufficient to
consummate the purpose which the accused had in mind. Further, it should be viewed from the
perception and judgment of the victim at the time of the commission of the crime. What is vital is that
the force or intimidation be of such degree as to cow the unprotected and vulnerable victim
into submission. Force is sufficient if it produces fear in the victim, such as when the latter is
threatened with death.

Same; Same; The workings of a human mind placed under emotional stress are unpredictable; people
react differently. Some may shout, some may faint, while others may be shocked into insensibility.—It must
be borne in mind that when a rape victim becomes paralyzed with fear, she cannot be expected to think and
act coherently. Further, as has been consistently held by this Court, physical resistance is not an
essential element of rape and need not be established when intimidation is exercised upon the victim,
and, the latter submits herself, against her will, to the rapist’s embrace because of fear for her life and
personal safety. The victim’s failure to shout or offer tenacious resistance did not make voluntary her
submission to the criminal acts of her aggressor. It bears stressing that not every rape victim can be
expected to act with reason or in conformity with the usual expectations of everyone. The workings of a
human mind placed under emotional stress are unpredictable; people react differently. Some may shout,
some may faint, while others may be shocked into insensibility.

Same; Denials; Alibi; Time and again, the Supreme Court has viewed denial and alibi as inherently
weak defenses, unless supported by clear and convincing evidence, the same cannot prevail over the positive
declarations of the victim who, in a simple and straightforward manner, convincingly identified the
appellant as the defiler of her chastity.—Time and again, this Court has viewed denial and alibi as
inherently weak defenses, unless supported by clear and convincing evidence, the same cannot prevail over
the positive declarations of the victim who, in a simple and straightforward manner, convincingly identified
the appellant as the defiler of her chastity. Simply put, the positive assertions of AAA that he raped her
are entitled to greater weight. While denial and alibi are legitimate defenses in rape cases, bare assertions
to this effect cannot overcome the categorical testimony of the victim, as in this case.

Same; Rape; Appellant should be convicted of three (3) counts of rape. It appears from the facts that the
appellant thrice succeeded in inserting his penis into the private part of AAA. The three (3) penetrations
occurred one after the other at an interval of five (5) minutes wherein the appellant would rest after satiating
his lust upon his victim and, after he has regained his strength, he would again rape AAA.—As to the number
of rapes committed. The appellant, citing People v. Aaron, 389 SCRA 526 (2002), (Aaron Case), insists that
he cannot be convicted of three (3) counts of rape despite the three (3) penetrations because he was
motivated by a single criminal intent. This Court finds this contention fallacious. In the Aaron Case, the
accused inserted his penis into the victim’s vagina; he then withdrew it and ordered the latter to lie down
on the floor and, for the second time, he inserted again his penis into the victim’s vagina; the accused,
thereafter, stood up and commanded the victim to lie near the headboard of the makeshift bed and, for the
third time, he inserted again his penis into the victim’s vagina and continued making pumping motions.
From these sets of facts, this Court convicted the accused therein for only one count of rape despite the
three successful penetrations because there is no indication in the records from which it can be inferred
that the accused decided to commit those separate and distinct acts of sexual assault other than his
lustful desire to change positions inside the room where the crime was committed. This Court,
thus, viewed that the three penetrations occurred during one continuing act of rape in which the accused
was obviously motivated by a single criminal intent. The circumstances in the present case, however, are
far different from the Aaron Case. Here, we quote with approval the observations of the Court of Appeals,
which affirmed that of the trial court, to wit: We agree with the trial court that the [herein appellant] should
be convicted of three (3) counts of rape. It appears from the facts that the [appellant] thrice succeeded in
inserting his penis into the private part of [AAA]. The three (3) penetrations occurred one after the other
at an interval of five (5) minutes wherein the [appellant] would rest after satiating his lust upon his
victim and, after he has regained his strength, he would again rape [AAA]. Hence, it can be clearly
inferred from the foregoing that when the [appellant] decided to commit those separate and distinct
acts of sexual assault upon [AAA], he was not motivated by a single impulse[,] but rather by
several criminal intent. Hence, his conviction for three (3) counts of rape is indubitable. (Emphasis
supplied). This Court sustains the findings of both lower courts that, indeed, the three insertions into AAA
were in satiation of successive but distinct criminal carnality. Therefore, the appellant’s conviction for three
counts of rape is proper.

Same; Same; Penalties; As it was properly alleged and proved that the appellant used a gun in order to
consummate his evil desires, thus, both lower courts correctly imposed upon him the penalty of reclusion
perpetua for each count of rape.—The second paragraph of Art. 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended, provides that “[w]henever the rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon x x x the
penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death.” As it was properly alleged and proved that the appellant used
a gun in order to consummate his evil desires, thus, both lower courts correctly imposed upon him the
penalty of reclusion perpetua for each count of rape.

Same; Same; Civil Indemnity; Civil indemnity, which is mandatory in a finding of rape is distinct from
and should not be denominated as moral damages which are based on different jural foundations and
assessed by the court in the exercise of sound discretion.—Civil indemnity, which is mandatory in a finding
of rape is distinct from and should not be denominated as moral damages which are based on different jural
foundations and assessed by the court in the exercise of sound discretion.

Same; Same; Damages; Moral Damages; The award of moral damages is automatically granted in rape
cases without need of further proof other than the commission of the crime because it is assumed that a rape
victim has actually suffered moral injuries entitling her to such award.—The award of moral damages, on
the other hand, is automatically granted in rape cases without need of further proof other than the
commission of the crime because it is assumed that a rape victim has actually suffered moral injuries
entitling her to such award.

Same; Same; Exemplary Damages; The award of exemplary damages is justified under Article 2230 of
the Civil Code if there is an aggravating circumstance, whether ordinary or qualifying.—This Court deems
it proper to award exemplary damages in favor of AAA. The award of exemplary damages is justified under
Article 2230 of the Civil Code if there is an aggravating circumstance, whether ordinary or qualifying. In
this case, since the qualifying circumstance of the use of a deadly weapon was present in the commission of
the crime, exemplary damages in the amount of P30,000.00, for each count of rape, is awarded in favor of
AAA. Moreover, in line with recent jurisprudence, the interest at the rate of 6% per annum shall be imposed
on all damages awarded from the date of the finality of this judgment until fully paid.

DIVISION

[ GR No. 190632, Feb 26, 2014 ]

PEOPLE v. MANOLITO LUCENA Y VELASQUEZ +

DECISION

PEREZ, J.:
The subject of this appeal is the Decision[1] dated 24 August 2009 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 03371 affirming the Decision[2]dated 30 April 2008 of
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Parañaque City, Branch 260, in Criminal Cases Nos.
03-0763 to 03-0765, finding herein appellant Manolito Lucena y Velasquez
alias "Machete" guilty beyond reasonable doubt of three counts of rape, thereby
sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for each count and ordering
him to pay AAA[3]the amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages and P50,000.00 as civil
indemnity also for each count.
Three (3) similarly worded Informations,[4] all dated 24 June 2003 allege:
That on or about the 28th day of April 2003, in the City of Parañaque, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named [appellant],
a Barangay TanodVolunteer, who took advantage of his position to facilitate the
commission of the crime, by means of force, threat or intimidation and with the
use of a gun did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal
knowledge of the complainant AAA, a minor, 17 years of age, against her will
and consent. (Emphasis and italics supplied).

The appellant, assisted by counsel de oficio, pleaded NOT GUILTY to all the charges
against him.[5] Thereafter, the cases were jointly tried.
The prosecution presented AAA, the victim herself; and Dr. Merle Tan (Dr. Tan) of the
Child Protection Unit, University of the Philippines Philippine General Hospital (UP-
PGH), who examined the victim.
The testimonies of the above-named prosecution witnesses established that on 28 April
2003, at around 11:30 p.m., while AAA, who was then 17 years old, having been born on
10 July 1986, was walking and chatting with her friends along one of the streets of San
Dionisio, Parañaque City, two (2) barangay tanods, one of whom is the appellant,
approached and informed them that they were being arrested for violating a city
ordinance imposing curfew against minors. AAA's companions, however, managed to
escape, thus, she alone was apprehended.[6] AAA was then ordered by the barangay
tanods to board the tricycle. Afraid that she might spend the night in jail, AAA pleaded
with them and protested that she did not commit any offense as she was just chatting
with her friends. AAA's plea, however, remained unheeded.[7]
AAA was then brought by the two (2) barangay tanods within the vicinity of the San
Dionisio Barangay Hall. Afterwards, one of them alighted from the tricycle and went
inside the barangay hall. The appellant, on the other hand, stayed in the tricycle to
guard AAA. After a while, the barangay tanod, the one who went inside
the barangay hall, returned. But, the appellant told the former that he will just be the one
to bring AAA back to her house.[8]
But, instead of escorting AAA back to her house, the appellant brought her
to Kabuboy Bridge in San Dionisio, Parañaque City. While on their way, the appellant
threatened AAA that he would kill her once she resists or jumps off the tricycle. Upon
arrival, the appellant ordered AAA to alight from the tricycle. AAA asked the appellant
what he would do with her but the former did not respond. The appellant then took out
the backseat of the tricycle and positioned it in a grassy area. He subsequently pointed a
gun at AAA and commanded her to lie down and to take off her clothes. The appellant
later put the gun down on the ground and inserted his penis into AAA's vagina despite
the latter's plea not to rape her. Satisfied, the appellant stopped. But, after a short while,
or after about five (5) minutes, the appellant, once again, inserted his penis into AAA's
vagina. Thereafter, he stopped. On the third time, the appellant inserted again his penis
into AAA's vagina. Fulfilling his bestial desire, the appellant stopped and finally ordered
AAA to dress up. The appellant even threatened AAA that he would kill her should she
tell anyone about what happened between them.[9]
The appellant, thereafter, directed AAA to board the tricycle. He then brought AAA in
front of a school in Parañaque City. But, before allowing AAA to get off, the appellant
repeated his threat to kill her should she tell anyone about the incident.[10]
The following day, AAA took the courage to seek the assistance of their barangay
kagawad, who simply advised her to just proceed to the barangay hall to lodge her
complaint against the appellant. AAA and her mother subsequently went to PGH, where
she was subjected to physical examination by Dr. Tan,[11]which resulted in the following
findings:
Tanner Stage 3, healing laceration[s] 3 and 5 o'clock area with petechiae,
HYMENfresh laceration at 9 o'clock area with eccymosi at 8-10 o'clock area, Type of
Hymen: Crescentic

xxxx

Perianal Skin: fresh laceration[s] at 12 and 1 o'clock area. No


ANAL EXAMINATION
evident injury at the time of examination.

xxxx

IMPRESSIONS
Disclosure of sexual abuse.
Genital findings show clear Evidence Of Blunt Force Or Penetrating
Trauma.[12](Emphasis supplied).

AAA also went to the Coastal Road Police Headquarters, where she executed her sworn
statement accusing the appellant of rape. AAA was able to identify the appellant as her
assailant because the former was wearing a jacket emblazoned with "Barangay Police,"
as well as a Barangay Identification Card, at the time of the incident.[13]
The appellant and Rodel Corpuz (Corpuz) took the witness stand for the defense.
In the course of Corpuz's direct examination, however, the parties made the following
stipulations: (1) that the [herein appellant] was the assigned barangay radio operator
on that date, [28 April 2003], and he stayed at the barangay hall from 12:00 midnight
to 5:00 a.m.; (2) that the witness was there up to 12:00 midnight, but at about past 12:00,
he left and returned after two (2) hours, at 2:00 o'clock a.m.; and (3) that when he woke
up at 5:00 o'clock in the morning, the [appellant] was still there. With these stipulations,
Corpuz's testimony was dispensed with.[14]
The appellant, for his part, could only muster the defenses of denial and alibi. He, thus,
offered a different version of the story.
On 28 April 2003, the appellant claimed that he was on duty as a radio operator at
the barangay hall. His task as such was to receive complaints from the residents of
the barangay, as well as to receive calls from fellow barangayofficials who are in need
of assistance. On the same day, he received a call from his companion, who is also
a barangay tanod. He cannot, however, recall any unusual incident that transpired on
that day.[15]
The appellant admitted that he knew AAA as the one who lodged a complaint against
him but he denied that he knew her personally. He also vehemently denied the following:
(1) that he raped AAA; (2) that he was one of those barangay tanods who apprehended
AAA for violating the curfew ordinance of their barangay; and (3) that he was the one
driving the tricycle in going to the barangay hall. Instead, the appellant claimed that
after 12:00 midnight of 28 April 2003, he went home already. In fact, he was shocked
when he was arrested on 25 September 2003 as he did not commit any crime.[16]
In its Decision dated 30 April 2008, the trial court, giving credence to the categorical,
straightforward and positive testimony of AAA, coupled with the medical findings of
sexual abuse, convicted the appellant of three (3) counts of rape as defined and penalized
under paragraph 1(a) of Article 266-A, in relation to Article 266-B, of the Revised Penal
Code of the Philippines, as amended. The trial court, thus, decreed:
WHEREFORE, the Court finds the [herein appellant] MANOLITO
LUCENA y VELASQUEZ aliasMACHETE, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of
three (3) counts of Rape (under Art. 266-a par. 1(a) in relation to Art. 266-B of
the RPC as amended by RA 8353) and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty
of reclusion perpetua for each count of Rape. In addition, the [appellant] is
ordered to pay [AAA] the amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages and
P50,000.00 as civil indemnity for each count.[17] (Emphasis and italics theirs).

The appellant appealed[18] the trial court's Decision to the Court of Appeals with the
following assignment of errors:
I.
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE [HEREIN APPELLANT]
OF RAPE DESPITE THE PROSECUTION'S FAILURE TO PROVE THE ELEMENT OF
FORCE AND INTIMIDATION.
II.
GRANTING, ARGUENDO, THAT THE [APPELLANT] COMMITTED THE CRIME
CHARGED, THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING HIM OF THREE
(3) COUNTS OF RAPE.[19]
After a thorough study of the records, the Court of Appeals rendered its now assailed
Decision dated 24 August 2009 sustaining appellant's conviction for three (3) counts of
rape, as well as the damages awarded to AAA. In doing so, the Court of Appeals explained
that the facts revealed that the appellant succeeded thrice in inserting his penis into
AAA's vagina. The said three (3) penetrations happened one after another at an interval
of five (5) minutes, wherein the appellant would take a rest after satiating his lust and
after regaining his strength would again rape AAA. Undoubtedly, the appellant decided
to commit those separate and distinct acts of sexual assault on AAA. Thus, his conviction
for three (3) counts of rape is irrefutable.[20]
Hence, this appeal.[21]
Both parties in their manifestations[22]before this Court adopted their respective appeal
briefs[23] filed with the Court of Appeals in lieu of Supplemental Briefs.
In his Brief, the appellant contends that the prosecution failed to prove that force or
intimidation attended the commission of rape. Records revealed that AAA did not even
attempt to resist his alleged sexual advances over her person. Instead, AAA opted to
remain passive throughout her ordeal despite the fact that during the three (3) episodes
of their sexual intercourse he was unarmed and she, thus, had all the opportunity to
escape, which she never did. These reactions of AAA were contrary to human experience,
thus, cast serious doubts on the veracity of her testimony and on her credibility as a
witness.
The appellant similarly argues that the result of AAA's medical examination is quite
disturbing as it appears that her anal orifice was also penetrated by a hard object though
nothing was said to this effect in her testimony.
The appellant likewise avers that he cannot be convicted of three counts of rape. The
intervening period of five (5) minutes between each penetration does not necessarily
prove that he decided to commit three separate acts of rape. He maintains that what is
of prime importance is that he was motivated by a single criminal intent.
With the foregoing, the appellant believes that his guilt was not proven beyond
reasonable doubt; hence, his acquittal is inevitable.
This Court holds otherwise. The conviction of the appellant, thus, stands but the
damages awarded in favor AAA must be modified.
Primarily, in reviewing rape cases, this Court is guided with three settled principles: (1)
an accusation of rape can be made with facility and while the accusation is difficult to
prove, it is even more difficult for the person accused, although innocent, to disprove;
(2) considering the intrinsic nature of the crime, only two persons being usually involved,
the testimony of the complainant should be scrutinized with great caution; and (3) the
evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merit, and cannot be allowed
to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense.[24]
Rape is a serious transgression with grave consequences both for the accused and the
complainant. Following the above principles, this Court is duty-bound to conduct a
thorough and exhaustive evaluation of a judgment of conviction for rape.[25]
After a careful scrutiny of the entire records, however, this Court finds no justifiable
reason to reverse the rulings of the lower courts.
All the Informations in this case charged the appellant with rape under paragraph 1(a),
Article 266-A, in relation to paragraph 2, Article 266-B, of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended. These provisions specifically state:
ART. 266-A. Rape; When and How Committed. - Rape is committed -
1) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following
circumstances:
a) Through force, threat or intimidation;
b) When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious;
c) By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and d) When the
offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the
circumstances mentioned above be present.

xxxx
ART. 266-B. Penalties. Rape under paragraph 1 of the next preceding article shall be
punished by reclusion perpetua.
Whenever the rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more
persons, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death. (Emphasis supplied).

Certainly, carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following instances constitutes
rape: (1) when force or intimidation is used; (2) when the woman is deprived of
reason or is otherwise unconscious; and (3) when she is under twelve (12) years of age.[26]
The force and violence required in rape cases is relative and need not be overpowering
or irresistible when applied. For rape to exist, it is not necessary that the force or
intimidation be so great or be of such character as could not be resisted it is only
necessary that the force or intimidation be sufficient to consummate the
purpose which the accused had in mind.[27]Further, it should be viewed from the
perception and judgment of the victim at the time of the commission of the crime. What
is vital is that the force or intimidation be of such degree as to cow the
unprotected and vulnerable victim into submission. Force is sufficient if it
produces fear in the victim, such as when the latter is threatened with
death.[28]
In the case at bench, as can be gleaned from the transcript of stenographic notes and as
observed by the trial court, which the Court of Appeals sustained, AAA's categorical,
straightforward and positive testimony revealed that the appellant was armed with a gun
and the same was pointed at her while she was ordered to lie down and to take off her
clothes, to which she acceded because of fear for her life and personal safety. The
appellant then put the gun down on the ground and successfully inserted his penis into
AAA's vagina, not only once but thrice. This happened despite AAA's plea not to rape her.
And, after satisfying his lust, the appellant threatened AAA that he would kill her should
she tell anyone about the incident. This same threat of killing AAA was first made by the
appellant while the former was still inside the tricycle on their way
to Kabuboy Bridge.[29] It cannot be denied, therefore, that force and intimidation were
employed by the appellant upon AAA in order to achieve his depraved desires.
While it is true that the appellant had already put the gun down on the ground the
moment he inserted his penis into AAA's vagina and was actually unarmed on those three
(3) episodes of sexual intercourse, the same does not necessarily take away the fear of
being killed that had already been instilled in the mind of AAA. Emphasis must be given
to the fact that the gun was still within appellant's reach, therefore, he could still make
good of his threat on AAA at anytime the latter would show any resistance to his evil
desires. AAA's lack of physical resistance, therefore, is understandable and would not in
any way discredit her testimony.
It must be borne in mind that when a rape victim becomes paralyzed with fear, she
cannot be expected to think and act coherently. Further, as has been consistently held by
this Court, physical resistance is not an essential element of rape and need not
be established when intimidation is exercised upon the victim, and, the latter submits
herself, against her will, to the rapist's embrace because of fear for her life and personal
safety. The victim's failure to shout or offer tenacious resistance did not make voluntary
her submission to the criminal acts of her aggressor. It bears stressing that not every rape
victim can be expected to act with reason or in conformity with the usual expectations of
everyone. The workings of a human mind placed under emotional stress are
unpredictable;people react differently. Some may shout, some may faint, while
others may be shocked into insensibility.[30]
In his attempt to ruin AAA's credibility in order to exculpate himself from all the charges,
the appellant puts stress on the portion of the result of AAA's medical examination
disclosing that even her anal orifice was also penetrated by a hard object, which she never
mentioned in her testimony.
To the mind of this Court, such argument is flimsy and totally misplaced. It would not
even work to appellant's advantage and would not in any way cast doubt on the veracity
of AAA's testimony. As this Court has previously stated, a medical examination and a
medical certificate, albeit corroborative of the commission of rape, are not indispensable
to a successful prosecution for rape.[31] Moreover, even though AAA made no mention of
any anal penetration, such omission would not change the fact that she was, indeed,
raped by the appellant. As succinctly found by both lower courts, AAA categorically,
straightforwardly, clearly and positively narrated her harrowing experience in the hands
of the appellant. She recounted in detail how the appellant took advantage of her by
bringing her to Kabuboy Bridge, where nobody was present; commanding her to lie
down and undress herself at a point of a gun; and successfully inserting his penis into
her vagina, not only once but thrice. AAA stated that after the first penetration the
appellant stopped. After about five minutes, however, the appellant, once again, inserted
his penis into her vagina. Thereafter, the appellant stopped. For the third and last time,
the appellant again inserted his penis into her vagina. This narration was consistent with
the rest of the medical findings showing fresh hymenal lacerations on AAA's vagina,
which according to Dr. Tan is a clear evidence of "blunt force or penetrating trauma" - a
disclosure of sexual abuse.
For his ultimate defense, the appellant puts forward denial and alibi. Notably, these
defenses are totally inconsistent with his line of argument that the rape was committed
without force or intimidation thereby implying that the sexual intercourse between him
and AAA was consensual.
Time and again, this Court has viewed denial and alibi as inherently weak defenses,
unless supported by clear and convincing evidence, the same cannot prevail over the
positive declarations of the victim who, in a simple and straightforward manner,
convincingly identified the appellant as the defiler of her chastity.[32] Simply put, the
positive assertions of AAA that he raped her are entitled to greater weight. While denial
and alibi are legitimate defenses in rape cases, bare assertions to this effect cannot
overcome the categorical testimony of the victim,[33] as in this case.
Also, appellant's alibi that on the night the rape incident happened, he was at
the barangay hall doing his job as radio operator and at 12:00 midnight he already went
home, failed to sufficiently establish that it was physically impossible for him to be at the
scene of the crime when it was committed. Moreover, the corroborating testimony of
defense witness Corpuz that the appellant left at about past 12:00 midnight, almost the
same time the rape incident happened, and then returned after two (2) hours, even
bolster the possibility of the appellant's presence at the scene of the crime.
This Court also notes that the appellant failed to show any ill-motive on the part of AAA
to testify falsely against him. This bolsters the veracity of AAA's accusation since no
woman would concoct a tale that would tarnish her reputation, bring humiliation and
disgrace to herself and her family, and submit herself to the rigors, shame, and stigma
attendant to the prosecution of rape, unless she is motivated by her quest to seek justice
for the crime committed against her.[34]
In light of the foregoing, it is beyond any cavil of doubt that the appellant's guilt for the
crime of rape has been proven beyond reasonable doubt.
As to the number of rapes committed.The appellant, citing People v. Aaron (Aaron
Case),[35] insists that he cannot be convicted of three (3) counts of rape despite the three
(3) penetrations because he was motivated by a single criminal intent. This Court finds
this contention fallacious.
In the Aaron Case, the accused inserted his penis into the victim's vagina; he then
withdrew it and ordered the latter to lie down on the floor and, for the second time, he
inserted again his penis into the victim's vagina; the accused, thereafter, stood up and
commanded the victim to lie near the headboard of the makeshift bed and, for the third
time, he inserted again his penis into the victim's vagina and continued making pumping
motions. From these sets of facts, this Court convicted the accused therein for only one
count of rape despite the three successful penetrations because there is no indication in
the records from which it can be inferred that the accused decided to commit those
separate and distinct acts of sexual assault other than his lustful desire to change
positions inside the room where the crime was committed. This Court, thus,
viewed that the three penetrations occurred during one continuing act of rape in which
the accused was obviously motivated by a single criminal intent.
The circumstances in the present case, however, are far different from the Aaron Case.
Here, we quote with approval the observations of the Court of Appeals, which affirmed
that of the trial court, to wit:
We agree with the trial court that the [herein appellant] should be convicted of three (3)
counts of rape. It appears from the facts that the [appellant] thrice succeeded in inserting
his penis into the private part of [AAA]. The three (3) penetrations occurred one after
the other at an interval of five (5) minutes wherein the [appellant] would rest after
satiating his lust upon his victim and, after he has regained his strength, he
would again rape [AAA]. Hence, it can be clearly inferred from the foregoing that
when the[appellant] decided to commit those separate and distinct acts of
sexual assault upon [AAA], he was not motivated by a single impulse[,] but
rather by several criminal intent. Hence, his conviction for three (3) counts of rape
is indubitable.[36] (Emphasis supplied).

This Court sustains the findings of both lower courts that, indeed, the three insertions
into AAA were in satiation of successive but distinct criminal carnality. Therefore, the
appellant's conviction for three counts of rape is proper.
As to penalty. The second paragraph of Art. 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended, provides that "[w]henever the rape is committed with the use of a deadly
weapon x x x the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death." As it was properly
alleged and proved that the appellant used a gun in order to consummate his evil desires,
thus, both lower courts correctly imposed upon him the penalty of reclusion
perpetua for each count of rape.
As to damages. Civil indemnity, which is mandatory in a finding of rape is distinct from
and should not be denominated as moral damages which are based on different jural
foundations and assessed by the court in the exercise of sound discretion. [37] The award
of moral damages, on the other hand, is automatically granted in rape cases without need
of further proof other than the commission of the crime because it is assumed that a rape
victim has actually suffered moral injuries entitling her to such award. [38] Hence, this
Court upholds the P50,000.00 civil indemnity and P50,000.00 moral damages, for each
count of rape, that were awarded by both lower courts in favor of AAA.
In addition, this Court deems it proper to award exemplary damages in favor of AAA.
The award of exemplary damages is justified under Article 2230 of the Civil Code if there
is an aggravating circumstance, whether ordinary or qualifying.[39] In this case, since the
qualifying circumstance of the use of a deadly weapon was present in the commission of
the crime, exemplary damages in the amount of P30,000.00, for each count of rape, is
awarded in favor of AAA. Moreover, in line with recent jurisprudence, the interest at the
rate of 6% per annum shall be imposed on all damages awarded from the date of the
finality of this judgment until fully paid.[40]
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
CR-H.C. No. 03371 dated 24 August 2009 finding herein appellant guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of three counts of rape is hereby AFFIRMEDwith
the MODIFICATIONS that: (1) the exemplary damages in the amount of P30,000.00,
for each count of rape, is awarded in favor of AAA; and (2) the appellant is ordered to
pay AAA the interest on all damages at the legal rate of 6% per annum from the date of
finality of this judgment.
SO ORDERED.
Carpio,[*] Acting C.J., Del Castillo, Mendoza[**] and Leonen,[***] JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 187495. April 21, 2014.*


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. EDGAR JUMAWAN, accused-appellant.

Criminal Law; Rape; The law reclassified rape as a crime against person and removed it from the ambit
of crimes against chastity.—In 1997, R.A. No. 8353 eradicated the stereotype concept of rape in Article 335
of the RPC. The law reclassified rape as a crime against person and removed it from the ambit of crimes
against chastity. More particular to the present case, and perhaps the law’s most progressive proviso is the
2nd paragraph of Section 2 thereof recognizing the reality of marital rape and criminalizing its
perpetration, viz.: Article 266-C. Effect of Pardon.—The subsequent valid marriage between the offended
party shall extinguish the criminal action or the penalty imposed. In case it is the legal husband who
is the offender, the subsequent forgiveness by the wife as the offended party shall extinguish the criminal
action or the penalty: Provided, That the crime shall not be extinguished or the penalty shall not be abated
if the marriage is void ab initio. Read together with Section 1 of the law, which unqualifiedly uses the term
“man” in defining rape, it is unmistakable that R.A. No. 8353 penalizes the crime without regard to the
rapist’s legal relationship with his victim.
Same; Same; Marital Rape; In spite of qualms on tagging the crime as ‘marital rape’ due to conservative
Filipino impressions on marriage, the consensus of our lawmakers was clearly to include and penalize
marital rape under the general definition of ‘rape.’—The explicit intent to outlaw marital rape is deducible
from the records of the deliberations of the 10th Congress on the law’s progenitor’s, House Bill No. 6265 and
Senate Bill No. 650. In spite of qualms on tagging the crime as ‘marital rape’ due to conservative Filipino
impressions on marriage, the consensus of our lawmakers was clearly to include and penalize marital rape
under the general definition of ‘rape.’
Same; Same; Same; The paradigm shift on marital rape in the Philippine jurisdiction is further
affirmed by R.A. No. 9262, which regards rape within marriage as a form of sexual violence that may be
committed by a man against his wife within or outside the family abode.—The paradigm shift on marital
rape in the Philippine jurisdiction is further affirmed by R.A. No. 9262, which regards rape within marriage
as a form of sexual violence that may be committed by a man against his wife within or outside the family
abode, viz.: Violence against women and their children refers to any act or a series of acts
committed by any person against a woman who is his wife, former wife, or against a woman with
whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or
against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without the family abode, which result
in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse including
threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. It includes,
but is not limited to, the following acts: A. “Physical Violence” refers to acts that include bodily or
physical harm; B. “Sexual violence” refers to an act which is sexual in nature, committed against
a woman or her child. It includes, but is not limited to: a) rape, sexual harassment, acts of
lasciviousness, treating a woman or her child as a sex object, making demeaning and sexually suggestive
remarks, physically attacking the sexual parts of the victim’s body, forcing her/him to watch obscene
publications and indecent shows or forcing the woman or her child to do indecent acts and/or make films
thereof, forcing the wife and mistress/lover to live in the conjugal home or sleep together in the same room
with the abuser; b) acts causing or attempting to cause the victim to engage in any sexual activity by force,
threat of force, physical or other harm or threat of physical or other harm or coercion; c) Prostituting the
woman or child. Statistical figures confirm the above characterization. Emotional and other forms of
nonpersonal violence are the most common type of spousal violence accounting for 23% incidence among
ever-married women. One in seven ever-married women experienced physical violence by their husbands
while eight percent (8%) experienced sexual violence.
Same; Same; Same; R.A. No. 8353 eradicated the archaic notion that marital rape cannot exist because
a husband has absolute proprietary rights over his wife’s body and thus her consent to every act of sexual
intimacy with him is always obligatory or at least, presumed.—The Philippines, as State Party to the
CEDAW, recognized that a change in the traditional role of men as well as the role of women in society and
in the family is needed to achieve full equality between them. Accordingly, the country vowed to take all
appropriate measures to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view
to achieving the elimination of prejudices, customs and all other practices which are based on the idea of
the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women. One of
such measures is R.A. No. 8353 insofar as it eradicated the archaic notion that marital rape cannot exist
because a husband has absolute proprietary rights over his wife’s body and thus her consent to every act of
sexual intimacy with him is always obligatory or at least, presumed. Another important international
instrument on gender equality is the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which
was promulgated by the UN General Assembly subsequent to the CEDAW. The Declaration, in
enumerating the forms of gender-based violence that constitute acts of discrimination against women,
identified ‘marital rape’ as a species of sexual violence.
Same; Same; Same; A man who penetrates her wife without her consent or against her will commits
sexual violence upon her, and the Philippines, as a State Party to the Convention on the Elimination of all
Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and its accompanying Declaration, defines and
penalizes the act as rape under R.A. No. 8353.—Clearly, it is now acknowledged that rape, as a form of
sexual violence, exists within marriage. A man who penetrates her wife without her consent or against her
will commits sexual violence upon her, and the Philippines, as a State Party to the CEDAW and its
accompanying Declaration, defines and penalizes the act as rape under R.A. No. 8353. A woman is no longer
the chattel-antiquated practices labeled her to be. A husband who has sexual intercourse with his wife is
not merely using a property, he is fulfilling a marital consortium with a fellow human being with dignity
equal to that he accords himself. He cannot be permitted to violate this dignity by coercing her to engage
in a sexual act without her full and free consent. Surely, the Philippines cannot renege on its international
commitments and accommodate conservative yet irrational notions on marital activities that have lost their
relevance in a progressive society. It is true that the Family Code, obligates the spouses to love one another
but this rule sanctions affection and sexual intimacy, as expressions of love, that are both spontaneous and
mutual and not the kind which is unilaterally exacted by force or coercion.
Same; Same; Same; The delicate and reverent nature of sexual intimacy between a husband and wife
excludes cruelty and coercion.—The delicate and reverent nature of sexual intimacy between a husband and
wife excludes cruelty and coercion. Sexual intimacy brings spouses wholeness and oneness. It is a gift and
a participation in the mystery of creation. It is a deep sense of spiritual communion. It is a function which
enlivens the hope of procreation and ensures the continuation of family relations. It is an expressive interest
in each other’s feelings at a time it is needed by the other and it can go a long way in deepening marital
relationship. When it is egoistically utilized to despoil marital union in order to advance a felonious urge
for coitus by force, violence or intimidation, the Court will step in to protect its lofty purpose, vindicate
justice and protect our laws and State policies. Besides, a husband who feels aggrieved by his indifferent or
uninterested wife’s absolute refusal to engage in sexual intimacy may legally seek the court’s intervention
to declare her psychologically incapacitated to fulfill an essential marital obligation. But he cannot and
should not demand sexual intimacy from her coercively or violently.112
Same; Same; Same; Equal Protection of the Laws; To treat marital rape cases differently from
nonmarital rape cases in terms of the elements that constitute the crime and in the rules for their proof,
infringes on the equal protection clause.—To treat marital rape cases differently from nonmarital rape cases
in terms of the elements that constitute the crime and in the rules for their proof, infringes on the equal
protection clause. The Constitutional right to equal protection of the laws ordains that similar subjects
should not be treated differently, so as to give undue favor to some and unjustly discriminate against others;
no person or class of persons shall be denied the same protection of laws, which is enjoyed, by other persons
or other classes in like circumstances.
Same; Same; Same; Same; The definition of rape in Section 1 of R.A. No. 8353 pertains to: (a) rape, as
traditionally known; (b) sexual assault; and (c) marital rape or that where the victim is the perpetrator’s own
spouse.—As above discussed, the definition of rape in Section 1 of R.A. No. 8353 pertains to: (a) rape, as
traditionally known; (b) sexual assault; and (c) marital rape or that where the victim is the perpetrator’s
own spouse. The single definition for all three forms of the crime shows that the law does not distinguish
between rape committed in wedlock and those committed without a marriage. Hence, the law affords
protection to women raped by their husband and those raped by any other man alike.
Same; Same; Same; A marriage license should not be viewed as a license for a husband to forcibly rape
his wife with impunity.—The Court adheres to and hereby adopts the rationale
in Liberta in rejecting the argument akin to those raised by herein accused-appellant. A marriage
license should not be viewed as a license for a husband to forcibly rape his wife with impunity. A married
woman has the same right to control her own body, as does an unmarried woman. She can give or withhold
her consent to a sexual intercourse with her husband and he cannot unlawfully wrestle such consent from
her in case she refuses.
Same; Same; Same; The human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide
freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of
coercion, discrimination and violence.—The human rights of women include their right to have control over
and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive
health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. Women do not divest themselves of such right by
contracting marriage for the simple reason that human rights are inalienable. In fine, since the law does
not separately categorize marital rape and nonmarital rape nor provide for different definition or elements
for either, the Court, tasked to interpret and apply what the law dictates, cannot trudge the forbidden
sphere of judicial legislation and unlawfully divert from what the law sets forth. Neither can the Court
frame distinct or stricter evidentiary rules for marital rape cases as it would inequitably burden its victims
and unreasonably and irrationally classify them differently from the victims of nonmarital rape. Indeed,
there exists no legal or rational reason for the Court to apply the law and the evidentiary rules on rape any
differently if the aggressor is the woman’s own legal husband. The elements and quantum of proof that
support a moral certainty of guilt in rape cases should apply uniformly regardless of the legal relationship
between the accused and his accuser.
Same; Same; Evidence; In rape cases, the conviction of the accused rests heavily on the credibility of the
victim.—In rape cases, the conviction of the accused rests heavily on the credibility of the victim. Hence,
the strict mandate that all courts must examine thoroughly the testimony of the offended party. While the
accused in a rape case may be convicted solely on the testimony of the complaining witness, courts are,
nonetheless, duty-bound to establish that their reliance on the victim’s testimony is justified. Courts must
ensure that the testimony is credible, convincing, and otherwise consistent with human nature. If the
testimony of the complainant meets the test of credibility, the accused may be convicted on the basis thereof.
Remedial Law; Evidence; Witnesses; It is settled that the evaluation by the trial court of the credibility
of witnesses and their testimonies are entitled to the highest respect.—It is settled that the evaluation by the
trial court of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies are entitled to the highest respect. This is in
view of its inimitable opportunity to directly observe the witnesses and their deportment, conduct and
attitude, especially during cross-examination. Thus, unless it is shown that its evaluation was tainted with
arbitrariness or certain facts of substance and value have been plainly overlooked, misunderstood, or
misapplied, the same will not be disturbed on appeal.
Criminal Law; Rape; Prosecution of Offenses; In the prosecution of rape cases, the essential element that
must be proved is the absence of the victim’s consent to the sexual congress.—Entrenched is the rule that in
the prosecution of rape cases, the essential element that must be proved is the absence of the victim’s
consent to the sexual congress. Under the law, consent is absent when: (a) it was wrestled from the victim
by force, threat or intimidation, fraudulent machinations or grave abuse of authority; or (b) the victim is
incapable of giving free and voluntary consent because he/she is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious
or that the offended party is under 12 years of age or is demented.
Same; Same; As an element of rape, force or intimidation need not be irresistible; it may be just enough
to bring about the desired result.—As an element of rape, force or intimidation need not be irresistible; it
may be just enough to bring about the desired result. What is necessary is that the force or intimidation be
sufficient to consummate the purpose that the accused had in mind or is of such a degree as to impel the
defenseless and hapless victim to bow into submission.
Same; Same; Medical Certificates; It is not the presence or absence of blood on the victim’s underwear
that determines the fact of rape inasmuch as a medical certificate is dispensable evidence that is not
necessary to prove rape.—Contrary to the accused-appellant’s allusions, the absence of blood traces in KKK’s
panties or the lack of a medical certificate do not negate rape. It is not the presence or absence of blood on
the victim’s underwear that determines the fact of rape inasmuch as a medical certificate is dispensable
evidence that is not necessary to prove rape. These details do not pertain to the elements that produce the
gravamen of the offense that is — sexual intercourse with a woman against her will or without her consent.
Same; Same; It must be stressed that rape is essentially committed in relative isolation, thus, it is
usually only the victim who can testify with regard to the fact of the forced sexual intercourse.—The accused-
appellant’s assertion that MMM and OOO’s testimonies lacked probative value as they did not witness the
actual rape is bereft of merit. It must be stressed that rape is essentially committed in relative isolation,
thus, it is usually only the victim who can testify with regard to the fact of the forced sexual intercourse.
Hence, the probative value of MMM and OOO’s testimonies rest not on whether they actually witnessed
the rape but on whether their declarations were in harmony with KKK’s narration of the circumstances,
preceding, subsequent to and concurrent with, the rape incidents.
Same; Same; Marital Rape; Fear of reprisal thru social humiliation which is the common factor that
deter rape victims from reporting the crime to the authorities is more cumbersome in marital rape cases.—
Fear of reprisal thru social humiliation which is the common factor that deter rape victims from reporting
the crime to the authorities is more cumbersome in marital rape cases. This is in view of the popular yet
outdated belief that it is the wife’s absolute obligation to submit to her husband’s carnal desires. A husband
raping his own wife is often dismissed as a peculiar occurrence or trivialized as simple domestic
trouble. Unfamiliarity with or lack of knowledge of the law criminalizing marital rape, the stigma and
public scrutiny that could have befallen KKK and her family had the intervention of police authorities or
even the neighbors been sought, are acceptable explanations for the failure or delay in reporting the subject
rape incidents.
Same; Alibi; Alibi is one of the weakest defenses not only because it is inherently frail and unreliable,
but also because it is easy to fabricate and difficult to check or rebut.—Alibi is one of the weakest defenses
not only because it is inherently frail and unreliable, but also because it is easy to fabricate and difficult to
check or rebut. It cannot prevail over the positive identification of the accused by eyewitnesses who had no
improper motive to testify falsely. For the defense of alibi to prosper, the accused must prove not only that
he was at some other place at the time of the commission of the crime, but also that it was physically
impossible for him to be at the locus delicti or within its immediate vicinity. Physical impossibility refers
not only to the geographical distance between the place where the accused was and the place where the
crime was committed when the crime transpired, but more importantly, the facility of access between the
two places.
Same; Same; Denials; Between the accused-appellant’s alibi and denial, and the positive identification
and credible testimony of the victim, and her two daughters, the Court must give weight to the latter.—
Between the accused-appellant’s alibi and denial, and the positive identification and credible testimony of
the victim, and her two daughters, the Court must give weight to the latter, especially in the absence of ill
motive on their part to falsely testify against the accused-appellant.
Same; Rape; Penalties; Parole; Persons convicted of offenses punished with reclusion perpetua, or whose
sentences will be reduced to reclusion perpetua, by reason of R.A. No. 9346, shall not be eligible for parole
under Act No. 4180, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended.—The Court affirms
the penalty of reclusion perpetua, for each count of rape, meted upon the accused-appellant for being in
accord with Article 266-A in relation to 266-B of the RPC. Further, he shall not be eligible for parole
pursuant to Section 3 of R.A. No. 9346, which states that “persons convicted of offenses punished
with reclusion perpetua, or whose sentences will be reduced to reclusion perpetua, by reason of this Act,
shall not be eligible for parole under Act No. 4180, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law,
as amended.”
Same; Same; Words and Phrases; Rape is a crime that evokes global condemnation because it is an
abhorrence to a woman’s value and dignity as a human being.—Rape is a crime that evokes global
condemnation because it is an abhorrence to a woman’s value and dignity as a human being. It respects no
time, place, age, physical condition or social status. It can happen anywhere and it can happen to anyone.
Even, as shown in the present case, to a wife, inside her time-honored fortress, the family home, committed
against her by her husband who vowed to be her refuge from cruelty. The herein pronouncement is an
affirmation to wives that our rape laws provide the atonement they seek from their sexually coercive
husbands.
Same; Same; Marital Rape; Husbands are reminded that marriage is not a license to forcibly rape their
wives.—Husbands are once again reminded that marriage is not a license to forcibly rape their wives. A
husband does not own his wife’s body by reason of marriage. By marrying, she does not divest herself of the
human right to an exclusive autonomy over her own body and thus, she can lawfully opt to give or withhold
her consent to marital coitus. A husband aggrieved by his wife’s unremitting refusal to engage in sexual
intercourse cannot resort to felonious force or coercion to make her yield. He can seek succor before the
Family Courts that can determine whether her refusal constitutes psychological incapacity justifying an
annulment of the marriage. Sexual intimacy is an integral part of marriage because it is the spiritual and
biological communion that achieves the marital purpose of procreation. It entails mutual love and self-
giving and as such it contemplates only mutual sexual cooperation and never sexual coercion or imposition.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Baguio City

FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 187495 April 21, 2014

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
EDGAR JUMAWAN, Accused-Appellant.

DECISION

"Among the duties assumed by the husband are his duties to love, cherish and protect his wife, to give her a home,
to provide her with the comforts and the necessities of life within his means, to treat her kindly and not cruelly or
inhumanely. He is bound to honor her x x x; it is his duty not only to maintain and support her, but also to protect her
from oppression and wrong."1

REYES, J.:
Husbands do not have property rights over their wives' bodies. Sexual intercourse, albeit within the realm of
marriage, if not consensual, is rape. This is the clear State policy expressly legislated in Section 266-A of the
Revised Penal Code (RPC), as amended by Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8353 or the Anti-Rape Law of 1997.

The Case

This is an automatic review2 of the Decision3 dated July 9, 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-HC No.
00353, which affirmed the Judgment4 dated April 1, 2002 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cagayan de Oro City,
Branch 19, in Criminal Case Nos. 99-668 and 99-669 convicting him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for
each count.

The Facts

Accused-appellant and his wife, KKK,5 were married on October 18, 1975. They Ii ved together since then and
raised their four (4) children6as they put up several businesses over the years.

On February 19, 1999, KKK executed a Complaint-Affidavit,7 alleging that her husband, the accused-appellant,
raped her at 3 :00 a.m. of December 3, 1998 at their residence in Phase 2, Villa Ernesto, Gusa, Cagayan de Oro
City, and that on December 12, 1998, the accused-appellant boxed her shoulder for refusing to have sex with him.

On June 11, 1999, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Cagayan de Oro City issued a Joint Resolution,8 finding
probable cause for grave threats, less serious physical injuries and rape and recommending that the appropriate
criminal information be filed against the accused-appellant.

On July 16, 1999, two Informations for rape were filed before the RTC respectively docketed as Criminal Case No.
99-6689 and Criminal Case No. 99-669.10 The Information in Criminal Case No. 99-668 charged the accused-
appellant as follows:

That on or about 10:30 in the evening more or less, of October 9, 1998, at Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused by means of force upon person did
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with the private complainant, her [sic] wife,
against the latter[']s will.

Contrary to and in Violation of R.A. 8353, the Anti-Rape Law of 1997.

Meanwhile the Information in Criminal Case No. 99-669 reads:

That on or about 10:30 in the evening more or less, of October 10, 1998, at Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused by means of force upon person did
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with the private complainant, her [sic] wife,
against the latter's will.

Contrary to and in Violation of R.A. 8353, the Anti-Rape Law of 1997.

The accused-appellant was arrested upon a warrant issued on July 21, 1999.11 On August 18, 1999, the accused-
appellant filed a Motion for Reinvestigation,12 which was denied by the trial court in an Order13dated August 19, 1999.
On even date, the accused-appellant was arraigned and he entered a plea of not guilty to both charges.14

On January 10, 2000, the prosecution filed a Motion to Admit Amended Information15 averring that the name of the
private complainant was omitted in the original informations for rape. The motion also stated that KKK, thru a
Supplemental Affidavit dated November 15, 1999,16 attested that the true dates of commission of the crime are
October 16, 1998 and October 1 7, 1998 thereby modifying the dates stated in her previous complaint-affidavit. The
motion was granted on January 18, 2000.17 Accordingly, the criminal informations were amended as follows:

Criminal Case No. 99-668:


That on or about October 16, 1998 at Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused by means of force upon person did then and there wilfully, unlawfully
and feloniously have carnal knowledge with the private complainant, his wife, [KKK], against the latter's will.

Contrary to and in violation of R.A. 8353, the Anti-Rape Law of 1997.18

Criminal Case No. 99-669:

That on or about October 17, 1998 at Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused by means of force upon person did then and there wilfully, unlawfully
and feloniously have carnal knowledge with the private complainant, his wife, [KKK], against the latter's will.

Contrary to and in violation of R.A. 8353, the Anti-Rape Law of 1997.19

The accused-appellant was thereafter re-arraigned. He maintained his not guilty plea to both indictments and a joint
trial of the two cases forthwith ensued.

Version of the prosecution

The prosecution's theory was anchored on the testimonies of KKK, and her daughters MMM and 000, which,
together with pertinent physical evidence, depicted the following events:

KKK met the accused-appellant at the farm of her parents where his father was one of the laborers. They got
married after a year of courtship.20 When their first child, MMM, was born, KKK and the accused-appellant put up a
sari-sari store.21 Later on, they engaged in several other businesses -trucking, rice mill and hardware. KKK managed
the businesses except for the rice mill, which, ideally, was under the accused-appellant's supervision with the help
of a trusted employee. In reality, however, he merely assisted in the rice mill business by occasionally driving one of
the trucks to haul goods.22

Accused-appellant's keenness to make the businesses flourish was not as fervent as KKK's dedication. Even the
daughters observed the disproportionate labors of their parents.23 He would drive the trucks sometimes but KKK was
the one who actively managed the businesses.24

She wanted to provide a comfortable life for their children; he, on the other hand, did not acquiesce with that
objective.25

In 1994, KKK and the accused-appellant bought a lot and built a house in Villa Ernesto, Gusa, Cagayan de Oro
City.26 Three of the children transferred residence therein while KKK, the accused-appellant and one of their sons
stayed in Dangcagan, Bukidnon. She shuttled between the two places regularly and sometimes he accompanied
her.27 In 1998, KKK stayed in Gusa, Cagayan De Oro City most of the days of the week.28 On Wednesdays, she went
to Dangcagan, Bukidnon to procure supplies for the family store and then returned to Cagayan de Oro City on the
same day.29

Conjugal intimacy did not really cause marital problems between KKK and the accused-appellant. It was, in fact,
both frequent and fulfilling. He treated her well and she, of course, responded with equal degree of
enthusiasm.30 However, in 1997, he started to be brutal in bed. He would immediately remove her panties and, sans
any foreplay, insert her penis in her vagina. His abridged method of lovemaking was physically painful for her so she
would resist his sexual ambush but he would threaten her into submission.31

In 1998, KKK and the accused-appellant started quarrelling usually upon his complaint that she failed to attend to
him. She was preoccupied with financial problems in their businesses and a bank loan. He wanted KKK to stay at
home because "a woman must stay in the house and only good in bed (sic) x x x." She disobeyed his wishes and
focused on her goal of providing a good future for the children.32

Four days before the subject rape incidents or on October 12, 1998, KKK and the accused-appellant slept together
in Cebu City where the graduation rites of their eldest daughter were held. By October 14, 1998, the three of them
were already back in Cagayan de Oro City.33
On October 16, 1998, the accused-appellant, his wife KKK and their children went about their nightly routine. The
family store in their residence was closed at about 9:00 p.m. before supper was taken. Afterwards, KKK and the
children went to the girls' bedroom at the mezzanine of the house to pray the rosary while the accused-appellant
watched television in the living room.34 OOO and MMM then prepared their beds. Soon after, the accused-appellant
fetched KKK and bid her to come with him to their conjugal bedroom in the third floor of the house. KKK complied.35

Once in the bedroom, KKK changed into a daster and fixed the matrimonial bed but she did not lie thereon with the
accused-appellant and instead, rested separately in a cot near the bed. Her reclusive behavior prompted him to ask
angrily: "[W]hy are you lying on the c{o]t[?]", and to instantaneously order: "You transfer here [to] our bed."36

KKK insisted to stay on the cot and explained that she had headache and abdominal pain due to her forthcoming
menstruation. Her reasons did not appease him and he got angrier. He rose from the bed, lifted the cot and threw it
against the wall causing KKK to fall on the floor. Terrified, KKK stood up from where she fell, took her pillow and
transferred to the bed.37

The accused-appellant then lay beside KKK and not before long, expressed his desire to copulate with her by
tapping his fingers on her lap. She politely declined by warding off his hand and reiterating that she was not feeling
well.38

The accused-appellant again asserted his sexual yearning and when KKK tried to resist by holding on to her
panties, he pulled them down so forcefully they tore on the sides.39 KKK stayed defiant by refusing to bend her legs.40

The accused-appellant then raised KKK's daster,41 stretched her legs apart and rested his own legs on them. She
tried to wrestle him away but he held her hands and succeeded in penetrating her. As he was carrying out his carnal
desires, KKK continued to protest by desperately shouting: "[D]on 't do that to me because I'm not feeling well."42

With a concrete wall on one side and a mere wooden partition on the other enclosing the spouses' bedroom,43 KKK's
pleas were audible in the children's bedroom where MMM lay awake.

Upon hearing her mother crying and hysterically shouting: "Eddie, don't do that to me, have pity on me,"44 MMM
woke up 000 who prodded her to go to their parents' room.45 MMM hurriedly climbed upstairs, vigorously knocked on
the door of her parents' bedroom and inquired: "Pa, why is it that Mama is crying?"46 The accused-appellant then
quickly put on his briefs and shirt, partly opened the door and said: "[D]on 't interfere because this is a family
trouble," before closing it again.47 Since she heard her mother continue to cry, MMM ignored his father's admonition,
knocked at the bedroom door again, and then kicked it.48 A furious accused-appellant opened the door wider and
rebuked MMM once more: "Don't interfere us. Go downstairs because this is family trouble!" Upon seeing KKK
crouching and crying on top of the bed, MMM boldly entered the room, approached her mother and asked: "Ma, why
are you crying?" before asking her father: "Pa, what happened to Mama why is it that her underwear is torn[?]"49

When MMM received no definite answers to her questions, she helped her mother get up in order to bring her to the
girls' bedroom. KKK then picked up her tom underwear and covered herself with a blanket.50However, their breakout
from the room was not easy. To prevent KKK from leaving, the accused-appellant blocked the doorway by extending
his arm towards the knob. He commanded KKK to "[S]tay here, you sleep in our room," when the trembling KKK
pleaded: "Eddie, allow me to go out." He then held KKK's hands but she pulled them back. Determined to get away,
MMM leaned against door and embraced her mother tightly as they pushed their way out.51

In their bedroom, the girls gave their mother some water and queried her as to what happened.52 KKK relayed:
"[Y]our father is an animal, a beast; he forced me to have sex with him when I'm not feeling well." The girls then
locked the door and let her rest."53

The accused-appellant's aggression recurred the following night. After closing the family store on October 17, 1998,
KKK and the children took their supper. The accused-appellant did not join them since, according to him, he already
ate dinner elsewhere. After resting for a short while, KKK and the children proceeded to the girls' bedroom and
prayed the rosary. KKK decided to spend the night in the room's small bed and the girls were already fixing the
beddings when the accused-appellant entered.
"Why are you sleeping in the room of our children", he asked KKK, who responded that she preferred to sleep with
the children.54 He then scoffed: "Its alright if you will not go with me, anyway, there are women that could be paid [P]
1,000.00." She dismissed his comment by turning her head away after retorting: "So be it." After that, he left the
room.55

He returned 15 minutes later56 and when KKK still refused to go with him, he became infuriated. He lifted her from
the bed and attempted to carry her out of the room as he exclaimed: "Why will you sleep here[?] Lets go to our
bedroom." When she defied him, he grabbed her short pants causing them to tear apart.57 At this point, MMM
interfered, "Pa, don't do that to Mama because we are in front of you."58

The presence of his children apparently did not pacify the accused-appellant who yelled, "[E]ven in front of you, I
can have sex of your mother [sic J because I'm the head of the family." He then ordered his daughters to leave the
room. Frightened, the girls obliged and went to the staircase where they subsequently heard the pleas of their
helpless mother resonate with the creaking bed.59

The episodes in the bedroom were no less disturbing. The accused-appellant forcibly pulled KKK's short pants and
panties. He paid no heed as she begged, "[D]on 't do that to me, my body is still aching and also my abdomen and I
cannot do what you wanted me to do [sic]. I cannot withstand sex."60

After removing his own short pants and briefs, he flexed her legs, held her hands, mounted her and forced himself
inside her. Once gratified, the accused-appellant put on his short pants and briefs, stood up, and went out of the
room laughing as he conceitedly uttered: "[I]t s nice, that is what you deserve because you are [a] flirt or fond of
sex." He then retreated to the masters' bedroom.61

Sensing that the commotion in their bedroom has ceased, MMM and OOO scurried upstairs but found the door
locked. MMM pulled out a jalousie window, inserted her arm, reached for the doorknob inside and disengaged its
lock. Upon entering the room, MMM and OOO found their mother crouched on the bed with her hair disheveled. The
girls asked: "Ma, what happened to you, why are you crying?" KKK replied: "[Y}our father is a beast and animal, he
again forced me to have sex with him even if I don't feel well. "62

Version of the defense

The defense spun a different tale. The accused-appellant's father owned a land adjacent to that of KKK's father. He
came to know KKK because she brought food for her father's laborers. When they got married on October 18, 1975,
he was a high school graduate while she was an elementary graduate.

Their humble educational background did not deter them from pursuing a comfortable life. Through their joint hard
work and efforts, the couple gradually acquired personal properties and established their own businesses that
included a rice mill managed by the accused-appellant. He also drove their trucks that hauled coffee, copra, or
com.63

The accused-appellant denied raping his wife on October 16 and 17, 1998. He claimed that on those dates he was
in Dangcagan, Bukidnon, peeling com. On October 7, his truck met an accident somewhere in Angeles Ranch,
Maluko, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. He left the truck by the roadside because he had to attend MMM's graduation in
Cebu on October 12 with KKK. When they returned to Bukidnon on October 14, he asked KKK and MMM to
proceed to Cagayan de Oro City and just leave him behind so he can take care of the truck and buy some com.64

Ryle Equia (Equia), the spouses' driver from January 1996 until June 1999 corroborated the above claims.
According to him, on October 16, 1998, the accused-appellant was within the vicinity of the rice mill's loading area in
Dangcagan, Bukidnon, cleaning a pick-up truck. On October 17, 1998, he and the accused-appellant were in
Dangcagan, Bukidnon, loading sacks of com into the truck. They finished loading at 3 :00 p.m. The accused-
appellant then instructed Equia to proceed to Maluko, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon while the former attended a fiesta in
New Cebu, Kianggat, Dangcagan, Bukidnon. At around 4:00 p.m., Equia, together with a helper and a mechanic, left
for Maluko in order to tow the stalled truck left there by the accused-appellant in October 7 and thereafter, bring it to
Cagayan de Oro City together with the separate truck loaded with com.
They arrived in Maluko at 7:00 p.m. and it took them three hours to turn the truck around and hoist it to the towing
bar of the other truck. At around 10:00 p.m., the accused-appellant arrived in Maluko. The four of them then
proceeded to Cagayan de Oro City where they arrived at 3 :00 a.m. of October 18, 1998. The accused-appellant
went to Gusa while the other three men brought the damaged truck to Cugman.65

The accused-appellant asserted that KKK merely fabricated the rape charges as her revenge because he took over
the control and management of their businesses as well as the possession of their pick-up truck in January 1999.
The accused-appellant was provoked to do so when she failed to account for their bank deposits and business
earnings. The entries in their bank account showed the balance of ₱3,190,539.83 on October 31, 1996 but after only
a month or on November 30, 1996, the amount dwindled to a measly ₱9,894.88.66Her failure to immediately report to
the police also belies her rape allegations.67

KKK wanted to cover-up her extra-marital affairs, which the accused-appellant gradually detected from her odd
behavior. While in Cebu on October 12, 1998 for MMM's graduation rites, the accused-appellant and KKK had
sexual intercourse. He was surprised when his wife asked him to get a napkin to wipe her after having sex. He
tagged her request as "high-tech," because they did not do the same when they had sex in the past. KKK had also
become increasingly indifferent to him. When he arrives home, it was an employee, not her, who opened the door
and welcomed him. She prettied herself and would no longer ask for his permission whenever she went out.68

Bebs,69 KKK's cousin and a cashier in their Bukidnon store, gave the accused-appellant several love letters
purportedly addressed to Bebs but were actually intended for KKK.70

KKK had more than ten paramours some of whom the accused-appellant came to know as: Arsenio, Jong-Jong, Joy
or Joey, somebody from the military or the Philippine National Police, another one is a government employee, a
certain Fernandez and three other priests.71 Several persons told him about the paramours of his wife but he never
confronted her or them about it because he trusted her.72

What further confirmed his suspicions was the statement made by OOO on November 2, 1998. At that time, OOO
was listening loudly to a cassette player. Since he wanted to watch a television program, he asked OOO to tum
down the volume of the cassette player. She got annoyed, unplugged the player, spinned around and hit the
accused-appellant's head with the socket. His head bled. An altercation between the accused-appellant and KKK
thereafter followed because the latter took OOO's side. During the argument, OOO blurted out that KKK was better
off without the accused-appellant because she had somebody young, handsome, and a businessman unlike the
accused-appellant who smelled bad, and was old, and ugly.73

KKK also wanted their property divided between them with three-fourths thereof going to her and one-fourth to the
accused-appellant. However, the separation did not push through because the accused-appellant's parents
intervened.74 Thereafter, KKK pursued legal separation from the accused-appellant by initiating Barangay Case No.
00588-99 before the Office of Lupong Tagapamayapa of Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City and thereafter obtaining a
Certificate to File Action dated February 18, 1999.75

Ruling of the RTC

In its Judgment76 dated April 1, 2002, the RTC sustained the version proffered by the prosecution by giving greater
weight and credence to the spontaneous and straightforward testimonies of the prosecution's witnesses. The trial
court also upheld as sincere and genuine the two daughters' testimonies, as it is not natural in our culture for
daughters to testify against their own father for a crime such as rape if the same was not truly committed.

The trial court rejected the version of the defense and found unbelievable the accused-appellant's accusations of
extra-marital affairs and money squandering against KKK. The trial court shelved the accused-appellant's alibi for
being premised on inconsistent testimonies and the contradicting declarations of the other defense witness, Equia,
as to the accused-appellant's actual whereabouts on October 16, 1998. Accordingly, the RTC ruling disposed as
follows:

WHEREFORE, the Court hereby finds accused Edgar Jumawan "GUILTY" beyond reasonable doubt of the two (2)
separate charges of rape and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for each, to pay
complainant [P]50,000.00 in each case as moral damages, indemnify complainant the sum of (P]75,000.00 in each
case, [P]50,000.00 as exemplary damages and to pay the costs.
SO ORDERED.77

Ruling of the CA

In its Decision78 dated July 9, 2008, the CA affirmed in toto the RTC ruling. The CA held that Section 14, Rule 110 of
the Rules of Criminal Procedure, sanctioned the amendment of the original informations. Further, the accused-
appellant was not prejudiced by the amendment because he was re-arraigned with respect to the amended
informations.

The CA found that the prosecution, through the straightforward testimony of the victim herself and the corroborative
declarations of MMM and OOO, was able to establish, beyond reasonable doubt, all the elements of rape under
R.A. No. 8353. The accused-appellant had carnal knowledge of KKK by using force and intimidation.

The CA also ruled that KKK's failure to submit herself to medical examination did not negate the commission of the
crime because a medical certificate is not necessary to prove rape.

The CA rejected the accused-appellant's argument that since he and KKK are husband and wife with mutual
obligations of and right to sexual intercourse, there must be convincing physical evidence or manifestations of the
alleged force and intimidation used upon KKK such as bruises. The CA explained that physical showing of external
injures is not indispensable to prosecute and convict a person for rape; what is necessary is that the victim was
forced to have sexual intercourse with the accused.

In addition, the CA noted that the fact that KKK and the accused-appellant are spouses only reinforces the
truthfulness of KKK's accusations because no wife in her right mind would accuse her husband of having raped her
if it were not true.

The delay in the filing of the rape complaint was sufficiently explained by KKK when she stated that she only found
out that a wife may charge his husband with rape when the fiscal investigating her separate complaint for grave
threats and physical injuries told her about it.

Finally, the CA dismissed the accused-appellant's alibi for lack of convincing evidence that it was physically
impossible for him to be at his residence in Cagayan de Oro City at the time of the commission of the crimes,
considering that Dangcagan, Bukidnon, the place where he allegedly was, is only about four or five hours away.
Accordingly, the decretal portion of the decision read:

WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the appealed Judgment is hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.79

Hence, the present review. In the Court Resolution80 dated July 6, 2009, the Court notified the parties that, if they so
desire, they may file their respective supplemental briefs. In a Manifestation and Motion81dated September 4, 2009,
the appellee, through the Office of the Solicitor General, expressed that it intends to adopt its Brief before the CA.
On April 16, 2012, the accused-appellant, through counsel, filed his Supplemental Brief, arguing that he was not in
Cagayan de Oro City when the alleged rape incidents took place, and the presence of force, threat or intimidation is
negated by: (a) KKK's voluntary act of going with him to the conjugal bedroom on October 16, 1998; (b) KKK's
failure to put up resistance or seek help from police authorities; and ( c) the absence of a medical certificate and of
blood traces in KKK's panties.82

Our Ruling

I. Rape and marriage: the historical connection

The evolution of rape laws is actually traced to two ancient English practices of 'bride capture' whereby a man
conquered a woman through rape and 'stealing an heiress' whereby a man abducted a woman and married her.83
The rape laws then were intended not to redress the violation of the woman's chastity but rather to punish the act of
obtaining the heiress' property by forcible marriage84 or to protect a man's valuable interest in his wife's chastity or
her daughter's virginity.85

If a man raped an unmarried virgin, he was guilty of stealing her father's property and if a man raped his wife, he
was merely using his property.86

Women were subjugated in laws and society as objects or goods and such treatment was justified under three
ideologies.

Under the chattel theory prevalent during the 6th century, a woman was the property of her father until she marries
to become the property of her husband.87 If a man abducted an unmarried woman, he had to pay the owner, and
later buy her from the owner; buying and marrying a wife were synonymous.88

From the 11th century to the 16th century, a woman lost her identity upon marriage and the law denied her political
power and status under the feudal doctrine of coverture.89

A husband had the right to chastise his wife and beat her if she misbehaved, allowing him to bring order within the
family.90

This was supplanted by the marital unity theory, which espoused a similar concept. Upon marrying, the woman
becomes one with her husband. She had no right to make a contract, sue another, own personal property or write a
will.91

II. The marital exemption rule

In the 17th century, Sir Matthew Hale (Hale), a Chief Justice in England, conceived the irrevocable implied consent
theory that would later on emerge as the marital exemption rule in rape. He stated that:

[T]he husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife, for by their mutual matrimonial
consent and contract the wife hath given up herself in this kind unto her husband, which she cannot retract.92

The rule was observed in common law countries such as the United States of America (USA) and England. It gives
legal immunity to a man who forcibly sexually assaults his wife, an act which would be rape if committed against a
woman not his wife.93 In those jurisdictions, rape is traditionally defined as "the forcible penetration of the body of a
woman who is not the wife of the perpetrator."94

The first case in the USA that applied the marital exemption rule was Commonwealth v. Fogerty95 promulgated in
1857. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts pronounced that it would always be a defense in rape to show
marriage to the victim. Several other courts adhered to a similar rationale with all of them citing Hale's theory as
basis.96

The rule was formally codified in the Penal Code of New York in 1909. A husband was endowed with absolute
immunity from prosecution for the rape of his wife.97 The privilege was personal and pertained to him alone. He had
the marital right to rape his wife but he will be liable when he aids or abets another person in raping her.98

In the 1970s, the rule was challenged by women's movements in the USA demanding for its abolition for being
violative of married women's right to be equally protected under rape laws.99

In 1978, the rule was qualified by the Legislature in New York by proscribing the application of the rule in cases
where the husband and wife are living apart pursuant to a court order "which by its terms or in its effects requires
such living apart," or a decree, judgment or written agreement of separation.100

In 1983, the marital exemption rule was abandoned in New York when the Court of Appeals of New York declared
the same unconstitutional in People v. Liberta101 for lack of rational basis in distinguishing between marital rape and
non-marital rape. The decision, which also renounced Hale's irrevocable implied consent theory, ratiocinated as
follows:
We find that there is no rational basis for distinguishing between marital rape and nonmarital rape. The various
rationales which have been asserted in defense of the exemption are either based upon archaic notions about the
consent and property rights incident to marriage or are simply unable to withstand even the slightest scrutiny. We
therefore declare the marital exemption for rape in the New York statute to be unconstitutional.

Lord Hale's notion of an irrevocable implied consent by a married woman to sexual intercourse has been cited most
frequently in support of the marital exemption. x x x Any argument based on a supposed consent, however, is
untenable. Rape is not simply a sexual act to which one party does not consent. Rather, it is a degrading, violent act
which violates the bodily integrity of the victim and frequently causes severe, long-lasting physical and psychic harm
x x x. To ever imply consent to such an act is irrational and absurd. Other than in the context of rape statutes,
marriage has never been viewed as giving a husband the right to coerced intercourse on demand x x x. Certainly,
then, a marriage license should not be viewed as a license for a husband to forcibly rape his wife with impunity. A
married woman has the same right to control her own body as does an unmarried woman x x x. If a husband feels
"aggrieved" by his wife's refusal to engage in sexual intercourse, he should seek relief in the courts governing
domestic relations, not in "violent or forceful self-help x x x."

The other traditional justifications for the marital exemption were the common-law doctrines that a woman was the
property of her husband and that the legal existence of the woman was "incorporated and consolidated into that of
the husband x x x." Both these doctrines, of course, have long been rejected in this State. Indeed, "[nowhere] in the
common-law world - [or] in any modem society - is a woman regarded as chattel or demeaned by denial of a
separate legal identity and the dignity associated with recognition as a whole human being x x x."102 (Citations
omitted)

By 1993, marital rape was a crime in all 50 states, with 17 of them, as well as the District of Columbia, outlawing the
act without exemptions. Meanwhile, the 33 other states granted some exemptions to a husband from prosecution
such as when the wife is mentally or physically impaired, unconscious, asleep, or legally unable to consent.103

III. Marital Rape in the Philippines

Interestingly, no documented case on marital rape has ever reached this Court until now. It appears, however, that
the old provisions of rape under Article 335 of the RPC adhered to Hale's irrevocable implied consent theory, albeit
in a limited form. According to Chief Justice Ramon C. Aquino,104 a husband may not be guilty of rape under Article
335 of Act No. 3815 but, in case there is legal separation, the husband should be held guilty of rape if he forces his
wife to submit to sexual intercourse.105

In 1981, the Philippines joined 180 countries in ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all
Forms of Discrimination Against Women (UN-CEDAW).106 Hailed as the first international women's bill of rights, the
CEDAW is the first major instrument that contains a ban on all forms of discrimination against women. The
Philippines assumed the role of promoting gender equality and women's empowerment as a vital element in
addressing global concerns.107 The country also committed, among others, to condemn discrimination against
women in all its forms, and agreed to pursue, by all appropriate means and without delay, a policy of eliminating
discrimination against women and, to this end, undertook:

(a) To embody the principle of the equality of men and women in their national constitutions or other
appropriate legislation if not yet incorporated therein and to ensure, through law and other appropriate
means, the practical realization of this principle;

(b) To adopt appropriate legislative and other measures, including sanctions where appropriate, prohibiting
all discrimination against women;

xxxx

(f) To take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or abolish existing laws, regulations,
customs and practices which constitute discrimination against women;

(g) To repeal all national penal provisions which constitute discrimination against women.108
In compliance with the foregoing international commitments, the Philippines enshrined the principle of gender
equality in the 1987 Constitution specifically in Sections 11 and 14 of Article II thereof, thus:

Sec. 11. The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.

xxxx

Sec. 14. The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the fundamental equality
before the law of women and men. The Philippines also acceded to adopt and implement the generally accepted
principles of international law such as the CEDA W and its allied issuances, viz:

Article II, Section 2. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, and adopts the generally
accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality,
justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations. (Emphasis ours)

The Legislature then pursued the enactment of laws to propagate gender equality. In 1997, R.A. No. 8353
eradicated the stereotype concept of rape in Article 335 of the RPC.109 The law reclassified rape as a crime against
person and removed it from the ambit of crimes against chastity. More particular to the present case, and perhaps
the law's most progressive proviso is the 2nd paragraph of Section 2 thereof recognizing the reality of marital rape
and criminalizing its perpetration, viz:

Article 266-C. Effect of Pardon. - The subsequent valid marriage between the offended party shall extinguish the
criminal action or the penalty imposed.

In case it is the legal husband who is the offender, the subsequent forgiveness by the wife as the offended party
shall extinguish the criminal action or the penalty: Provided, That the crime shall not be extinguished or the penalty
shall not be abated if the marriage is void ab initio.

Read together with Section 1 of the law, which unqualifiedly uses the term "man" in defining rape, it is unmistakable
that R.A. No. 8353 penalizes the crime without regard to the rapist's legal relationship with his victim, thus:

Article 266-A. Rape: When And How Committed. - Rape is committed:

1) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:

a) Through force, threat, or intimidation;

b) When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious;

c) By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and

d) When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the
circumstances mentioned above be present.

The explicit intent to outlaw marital rape is deducible from the records of the deliberations of the 10th Congress on
the law's progenitor's, House Bill No. 6265 and Senate Bill No. 650. In spite of qualms on tagging the crime as
'marital rape' due to conservative Filipino impressions on marriage, the consensus of our lawmakers was clearly to
include and penalize marital rape under the general definition of 'rape,' viz:

MR. DAMASING: Madam Speaker, Your Honor, one more point

of clarification in the House version on Anti-Rape Bill, House Bill No. 6265, we never agreed to marital rape. But
under Article 266-C, it says here: "In case it is the legal husband who is the offender... " Does this presuppose that
there is now marital rape? x x x.
MR. LARA: x x x [I]n this jurisdiction, well, I only have a limited, very limited 17 years of private practice in the legal
profession, Madam Speaker, and I believe that I can put at stake my license as a lawyer in this jurisdiction there is
no law that prohibits a husband from being sued by the wife for rape. Even jurisprudence, we don't have any
jurisprudence that prohibits a wife from suing a husband. That is why even if we don't provide in this bill expanding
the definition of crime that is now being presented for approval, Madam Speaker, even if we don't provide here for
marital rape, even if we don't provide for sexual rape, there is the right of the wife to go against the husband. The
wife can sue the husband for marital rape and she cannot be prevented from doing so because in this jurisdiction
there is no law that prohibits her from doing so. This is why we had to put second paragraph of 266-C because it is
the belief of many of us. x x x, that if it is true that in this jurisdiction there is marital rape even if we don't provide it
here, then we must provide for something that will unify and keep the cohesion of the family together that is why we
have the second paragraph.

MR. DAMASING: Madam Speaker, Your Honor, under the House version specifically House Bill No. 6265 our
provision on a husband forcing the wife is not marital rape, it is marital sexual assault.

MR. LARA: That is correct, Madam Speaker.

MR. DAMASING: But here it is marital rape because there is no crime of sexual assault. So, Your Honor, direct to
the point, under Article 266-C, is it our understanding that in the second paragraph, quote: "In case it is the legal
husband who is the offender, this refers to marital rape filed against the husband? Is that correct?

MR. LARA: No, Madam Speaker, not entirely, no. The answer is no.

MR. DAMASING: So if the husband is guilty of sexual assault, what do you call- it?

MR. LARA: Sexual assault, Madam Speaker.

MR. DAMASING: There is no crime of sexual assault, Your Honor, we have already stated that. Because under 1
and 2 it is all denominated as rape, there is no crime of sexual assault. That is why I am sorry that our House
version which provided for sexual assault was not carried by the Senate version because all sexual crimes under
this bicameral conference committee report are all now denominated as rape whether the penalty is from reclusion
perpetua to death or whether the penalty is only prision mayor. So there is marital rape, Your Honor, is that correct?

xxxx

MR. DAMASING: Madam Speaker, Your Honor, I am in favor of this. I am in favor of punishing the husband who
forces the wife even to 30 years imprisonment. But please do not call it marital rape, call it marital sexual assault
because of the sanctity of marriage. x x x.110 (Emphasis ours)

HON. APOSTOL: In our version, we did not mention marital rape but marital rape is not excluded.

HON. ROCO: Yeah. No. But I think there is also no specific mention.

HON. APOSTOL: No. No. No. Silent lang 'yung marital rape.

xxxx

HON. ROCO: xx x [I]f we can retain the effect of pardon, then this marital rape can be implicitly contained in the
second paragraph. x x x So marital rape actually was in the House version x x x. But it was not another definition of
rape. You will notice, it only says, that because you are the lawful husband does not mean that you cannot commit
rape. Theoretically, I mean, you can beat up your wife until she's blue. And if the wife complains she was raped, I
guess that, I mean, you just cannot raise the defense x x x[:] I am the husband. But where in the marriage contract
does it say that I can beat you up? That's all it means. That is why if we stop referring to it as marital rape,
acceptance is easy. Because parang ang marital rape, married na nga kami. I cannot have sex. No, what it is saying
is you're [the] husband but you cannot beat me up. x x x. That's why to me it's not alarming. It was just a way of
saying you're [the] husband, you cannot say when I am charged with rape x x x.
PRESIDING OFFICER SHAHAN!: All right, so how do you propose it if we put it in[?]

HON. ROCO: x x x [A]ll we are saying [is] that if you are the lawful husband does not mean you can have carnal
knowledge by force[,] threat or intimidation or by depriving your wife reason, a grave abuse of authority, I don't know
how that cannot apply. Di ba yung, or putting an instrument into the, yun ang sinasabi ko lang, it is not meant to
have another classification of rape. It is all the same definition x x x.

xxxx

HON.ROCO: What is 266-F? x x x. Now if we can retain 266-F x x x, we can say that this rule is implicit already in
the first proviso. It implies na there is an instance when a husband can be charged [with] rape x x x.

HON. ROXAS: Otherwise, silent na.

HON. ROCO: Otherwise, we are silent na. So parang i-delete natin ito. But it is understood that this rule of evidence
is now transport[ed], put into 266-F, the effect of pardon.

PRESIDING OFFICER APOSTOL: We will retain this effect of pardon. We will remove marital rape.

HON. ROCO: No, yun ang, oo we will remove this one on page 3 but we will retain the one on page 8, the effect of
pardon. x x x [I]t is inferred but we leave it because after all it is just a rule of evidence. But I think we should
understand that a husband cannot beat at his wife to have sex. Di ha? I think that should be made clear. x x x.

xxxx

HON. ROCO: x x x [W]e are not defining a crime of marital rape. All we are saying is that if you're [the] legal
husband, Jesus Christ, don't beat up to have sex. I almost want, you are my wife, why do you have to beat me up.

So, ganoon. So, if we both justify it that way in the Report as inferred in proviso, I mean, we can face up, I hope, to
the women and they would understand that it is half achieved.

HON. ZAMORA: I think, Raul, as long as we understand that we are not defining or creating a new crime but
instead, we are just defining a rule of evidence. x x x.

HON. ROCO: Then, in which case we may just want to clarify as a rule of evidence the fact that he is husband is
not, does not negate.111

CHAIRMAN LARA: x x x We all agree on the substance of the point in discussion. The only disagreement now is
where to place it. Let us clear this matter. There are two suggestions now on marital rape. One is that it is rape if it is
done with force or intimidation or any of the circumstances that would define rape x x x immaterial. The fact that the
husband and wife are separated does not come into the picture. So even if they are living under one roof x x x for as
long as the attendant circumstances of the traditional rape is present, then that is rape.112

PRESIDING OFFICER ANGARA-CASTILLO: Mr. Chairman, x x x [t]his provision on marital rape, it does not
actually change the meaning of rape. It merely erases the doubt in anybody's mind, whether or not rape can indeed
be committed by the husband against the wife. So the bill really says, you having been married to one another is not
a legal impediment. So I don't really think there is any need to change the concept of rape as defined presently
under the revised penal code. This do[es] not actually add anything to the definition of rape. It merely says, it is
merely clarificatory. That if indeed the wife has evidence to show that she was really brow beaten, or whatever or
forced or intimidated into having sexual intercourse against her will, then the crime of rape has been committed
against her by the husband, notwithstanding the fact that they have been legally married. It does not change
anything at all, Mr. Chairman.

PRESIDING OFFICER APOSTOL: Yes, I think, there is no change on this x x x.113


The paradigm shift on marital rape in the Philippine jurisdiction is further affirmed by R.A. No. 9262, 114 which regards
rape within marriage as a form of sexual violence that may be committed by a man against his wife within or outside
the family abode, viz:

Violence against women and their children refers to any act or a series of acts committed by any person against a
woman who is his wife, former wife, or against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating
relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or
without the family abode, which result in or is likely to result in. physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or
economic abuse including threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of
liberty. It includes, but is not limited to, the following acts:

A. "Physical Violence" refers to acts that include bodily or physical harm;

B. "Sexual violence" refers to an act which is sexual in nature, committed against a woman or her child. It
includes, but is not limited to:

a) rape, sexual harassment, acts of lasciviousness, treating a woman or her child as a sex object,
making demeaning and sexually suggestive remarks, physically attacking the sexual parts of the
victim's body, forcing her/him to watch obscene publications and indecent shows or forcing the
woman or her child to do indecent acts and/or make films thereof, forcing the wife and mistress/lover
to live in the conjugal home or sleep together in the same room with the abuser;

b) acts causing or attempting to cause the victim to engage in any sexual activity by force, threat of
force, physical or other harm or threat of physical or other harm or coercion;

c) Prostituting the woman or child.

Statistical figures confirm the above characterization. Emotional and other forms of non-personal violence are the
most common type of spousal violence accounting for 23% incidence among ever-married women. One in seven
ever-married women experienced physical violence by their husbands while eight percent (8%) experienced sexual
violence.115

IV. Refutation of the accused-appellant's arguments

The crux of the accused-appellant's plea for acquittal mirrors the irrevocable implied consent theory. In his appeal
brief before the CA, he posits that the two incidents of sexual intercourse, which gave rise to the criminal charges for
rape, were theoretically consensual, obligatory even, because he and the victim, KKK, were a legally married and
cohabiting couple. He argues that consent to copulation is presumed between cohabiting husband and wife unless
the contrary is proved.

The accused-appellant further claims that this case should be viewed and treated differently from ordinary rape
cases and that the standards for determining the presence of consent or lack thereof must be adjusted on the
ground that sexual community is a mutual right and obligation between husband and wife.116

The contentions failed to muster legal and rational merit.

The ancient customs and ideologies from which the irrevocable implied consent theory evolved have already been
superseded by modem global principles on the equality of rights between men and women and respect for human
dignity established in various international conventions, such as the CEDAW. The Philippines, as State Party to the
CEDAW, recognized that a change in the traditional role of men as well as the role of women in society and in the
family is needed to achieve full equality between them. Accordingly, the country vowed to take all appropriate
measures to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the
elimination of prejudices, customs and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the
superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women.117 One of such measures is R.A. No
8353 insofar as it eradicated the archaic notion that marital rape cannot exist because a husband has absolute
proprietary rights over his wife's body and thus her consent to every act of sexual intimacy with him is always
obligatory or at least, presumed.
Another important international instrument on gender equality is the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence
Against Women, which was Promulgated118 by the UN General Assembly subsequent to the CEDA W. The
Declaration, in enumerating the forms of gender-based violence that constitute acts of discrimination against
women, identified 'marital rape' as a species of sexual violence, viz:

Article 1

For the purposes of this Declaration, the term "violence against women" means any act of gender-based violence
that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats
of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.

Article 2

Violence against women shall be understood to encompass, but not be limited to, the following:

(a) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female
children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional
practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation;119 (Emphasis ours)

Clearly, it is now acknowledged that rape, as a form of sexual violence, exists within marriage. A man who
penetrates her wife without her consent or against her will commits sexual violence upon her, and the Philippines,
as a State Party to the CEDA W and its accompanying Declaration, defines and penalizes the act as rape under
R.A. No. 8353.

A woman is no longer the chattel-antiquated practices labeled her to be. A husband who has sexual intercourse with
his wife is not merely using a property, he is fulfilling a marital consortium with a fellow human being with dignity
equal120 to that he accords himself. He cannot be permitted to violate this dignity by coercing her to engage in a
sexual act without her full and free consent. Surely, the Philippines cannot renege on its international commitments
and accommodate conservative yet irrational notions on marital activities121 that have lost their relevance in a
progressive society.

It is true that the Family Code,122 obligates the spouses to love one another but this rule sanctions affection and
sexual intimacy, as expressions of love, that are both spontaneous and mutual123 and not the kind which is
unilaterally exacted by force or coercion.

Further, the delicate and reverent nature of sexual intimacy between a husband and wife excludes cruelty and
coercion. Sexual intimacy brings spouses wholeness and oneness. It is a gift and a participation in the mystery of
creation. It is a deep sense of spiritual communion. It is a function which enlivens the hope of procreation and
ensures the continuation of family relations. It is an expressive interest in each other's feelings at a time it is needed
by the other and it can go a long way in deepening marital relationship.124 When it is egoistically utilized to despoil
marital union in order to advance a felonious urge for coitus by force, violence or intimidation, the Court will step in
to protect its lofty purpose, vindicate justice and protect our laws and State policies. Besides, a husband who feels
aggrieved by his indifferent or uninterested wife's absolute refusal to engage in sexual intimacy may legally seek the
court's intervention to declare her psychologically incapacitated to fulfill an essential marital obligation.125 But he
cannot and should not demand sexual intimacy from her coercively or violently.

Moreover, to treat marital rape cases differently from non-marital rape cases in terms of the elements that constitute
the crime and in the rules for their proof, infringes on the equal protection clause. The Constitutional right to equal
protection of the laws126 ordains that similar subjects should not be treated differently, so as to give undue favor to
some and unjustly discriminate against others; no person or class of persons shall be denied the same protection of
laws, which is enjoyed, by other persons or other classes in like circumstances.127

As above discussed, the definition of rape in Section 1 of R.A. No. 8353 pertains to: (a) rape, as traditionally known;
(b) sexual assault; and (c) marital rape or that where the victim is the perpetrator's own spouse. The single definition
for all three forms of the crime shows that the law does not distinguish between rape committed in wedlock and
those committed without a marriage. Hence, the law affords protection to women raped by their husband and those
raped by any other man alike.
The posture advanced by the accused-appellant arbitrarily discriminates against married rape victims over
unmarried rape victims because it withholds from married women raped by their husbands the penal redress equally
granted by law to all rape victims.

Further, the Court adheres to and hereby adopts the rationale in Liberta in rejecting the argument akin to those
raised by herein accused-appellant. A marriage license should not be viewed as a license for a husband to forcibly
rape his wife with impunity. A married woman has the same right to control her own body, as does an unmarried
woman.128 She can give or withhold her consent to a sexual intercourse with her husband and he cannot unlawfully
wrestle such consent from her in case she refuses.

Lastly, the human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on
matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and
violence.129 Women do not divest themselves of such right by contracting marriage for the simple reason that human
rights are inalienable.130

In fine, since the law does not separately categorize marital rape and non-marital rape nor provide for different
definition or elements for either, the Court, tasked to interpret and apply what the law dictates, cannot trudge the
forbidden sphere of judicial legislation and unlawfully divert from what the law sets forth. Neither can the Court frame
distinct or stricter evidentiary rules for marital rape cases as it would inequitably burden its victims and unreasonably
and irrationally classify them differently from the victims of non-marital rape.

Indeed, there exists no legal or rational reason for the Court to apply the law and the evidentiary rules on rape any
differently if the aggressor is the woman's own legal husband. The elements and quantum of proof that support a
moral certainty of guilt in rape cases should apply uniformly regardless of the legal relationship between the
accused and his accuser.

Thus, the Court meticulously reviewed the present case in accordance with the established legal principles and
evidentiary policies in the prosecution and resolution of rape cases and found that no reversible error can be
imputed to the conviction meted the accused-appellant.

The evidence for the prosecution was


based on credible witnesses who gave
equally credible testimonies

In rape cases, the conviction of the accused rests heavily on the credibility of the victim. Hence, the strict mandate
that all courts must examine thoroughly the testimony of the offended party. While the accused in a rape case may
be convicted solely on the testimony of the complaining witness, courts are, nonetheless, duty-bound to establish
that their reliance on the victim's testimony is justified. Courts must ensure that the testimony is credible, convincing,
and otherwise consistent with human nature. If the testimony of the complainant meets the test of credibility, the
accused may be convicted on the basis thereof.131

It is settled that the evaluation by the trial court of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies are entitled to the
highest respect. This is in view of its inimitable opportunity to directly observe the witnesses and their deportment,
conduct and attitude, especially during cross-examination. Thus, unless it is shown that its evaluation was tainted
with arbitrariness or certain facts of substance and value have been plainly overlooked, misunderstood, or
misapplied, the same will not be disturbed on appeal.132

After approximating the perspective of the trial court thru a meticulous scrutiny of the entire records of the trial
proceedings and the transcript of each witnesses' testimony, the Court found no justification to disturb its findings.

Rather, the Court observed that KKK and her testimony were both credible and spontaneous. Hailed to the witness
stand on six separate occasions, KKK never wavered neither did her statements vacillate between uncertainty and
certitude. She remained consistent, categorical, straightforward, and candid during the rigorous cross-examination
and on rebuttal examination, she was able to convincingly explain and debunk the allegations of the defense.

She vividly recounted how the accused-appellant forced her to have sex with him despite her refusal on October 16,
1998. He initially ordered her to sleep beside him in their conjugal bed by violently throwing the cot where she was
resting. In order not to aggravate his temper, KKK obeyed. On the bed, he insinuated for them to have sex. When
she rejected his advances due to abdominal pain and headache, his request for intimacy transformed into a
stubborn demand. Unyielding, KKK held her panties but the accused-appellant forcibly pulled them down. The tug
caused the small clothing to tear apart. She reiterated that she was not feeling well and begged him to stop. But no
amount of resistance or begging subdued him. He flexed her two legs apart, gripped her hands, mounted her, rested
his own legs on hers and inserted his penis into her vagina. She continued pleading but he never desisted.133

Her accurate recollection of the second rape incident on October 1 7, 1998 is likewise unmistakable. After the
appalling episode in the conjugal bedroom the previous night, KKK decided to sleep in the children's bedroom.
While her daughters were fixing the beddings, the accused-appellant barged into the room and berated her for
refusing to go with him to their conjugal bedroom. When KKK insisted to stay in the children's bedroom, the
accused-appellant got angry and pulled her up. MMM's attempt to pacify the accused-appellant further enraged him.
He reminded them that as the head of the family he could do whatever he wants with his wife. To demonstrate his
role as patriarch, he ordered the children to go out of the room and thereafter proceeded to force KKK into sexual
intercourse. He forcibly pulled down her short pants and panties as KKK begged "Dont do that to me, my body is still
aching and also my abdomen and I cannot do what you wanted me to do. I cannot withstand sex."134 But her pleas
fell on deaf ears. The accused-appellant removed his shorts and briefs, spread KKK's legs apart, held her hands,
mounted her and inserted his penis into her vagina. After gratifying himself, he got dressed, left the room as he
chuckled: "Its nice, that is what you deserve because you are [a] flirt or fond of sex."135

Entrenched is the rule that in the prosecution of rape cases, the essential element that must be proved is the
absence of the victim's consent to the sexual congress.136

Under the law, consent is absent when: (a) it was wrestled from the victim by force, threat or intimidation, fraudulent
machinations or grave abuse of authority; or (b) the victim is incapable of giving free and voluntary consent because
he/she is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious or that the offended party is under 12 years of age or is
demented.

Contrary to the accused-appellant's asseverations, KKK's consent was wrestled from her through force and
intimidation both of which were established beyond moral certainty by the prosecution through the pertinent
testimony of KKK, viz:

On the October 16, 1998 rape incident:

(Direct Examination)

ATTY. LARGO:

Q So, while you were already lying on the bed together with your husband, do you remember what happened?

A He lie down beside me and asked me to have sex with him.

Q How did he manifest that he wanted to have sex with you?

A He put his hand on my lap and asked me to have sex with him but I warded off his hand.

Q Can you demonstrate to this Court how did he use his hand?

A Yes. "witness demonstrating on how the accused used his finger by touching or knocking her lap which means
that he wanted to have sex."

Q So, what did you do after that?

A I warded off his hand and refused because I was not feeling well. (at this juncture the witness is sobbing)

Q So, what did your husband do when you refused him to have sex with you?
A He insisted and he pulled my pantie forcibly, that is why my pantie [sic] was tom.

Q Why, what did you do when he started to pull your pantie [sic]?

A I resisted and tried to hold my pantie [sic] but I failed, because he is so strong.

xx xx

Q So, when your pantie [sic] was tom by your husband, what else did he do?

A He flexed my two legs and rested his two legs on my legs.

Q So after that what else did he do?

A He succeeded in having sex with me because he held my two hands no matter how I wrestled but I failed because
he is stronger than me.

COURT: Make it of record that the witness is sobbing while she is giving her testimony.

ATTY. LARGO: (To the witness cont'ng.)

Q So, what did you do when your husband already stretched your two legs and rode on you and held your two
hands?

A I told him, "don't do that because I'm not feeling well and my whole body is aching."

Q How did you say that to your husband?

A I told him, "don't do that to me because I'm not feeling well."

Q Did you say that in the manner you are saying now?

xxxx

A I shouted when I uttered that words.

xxxx

Q Was your husband able to consummate his desire?

xxxx

A Yes, sir, because I cannot do anything.137

(Cross-Examination)

ATTY. AMARGA;

Q Every time you have sex with your husband it was your husband normally remove your panty?

A Yes, Sir.

Q It was not unusual for your husband then to remove your panty because according to you he normally do that if he
have sex with you?
A Yes, Sir.

Q And finally according to you your husband have sex with you?

A Yes, Sir because he forcibly used me in spite of holding my panty because I don't want to have sex with him at
that time.

Q You did not spread your legs at that time when he removed your panty?

A Yes, Sir.

Q Meaning, your position of your legs was normal during that time?

A I tried to resist by not flexing my legs.

xxxx

Q At that time when your husband allegedly removed your panty he also remove your nightgown?

A No, Sir.

Q And he did pull out your duster [sic] towards your face?

A He raised my duster [sic] up.

Q In other words your face was covered when he raised your duster [sic]?

A No, only on the breast level.138

On the October 17, 1998 rape incident:

(Direct Examination)

ATTY. LARGO

Q So, after your children went out of the room, what transpired?

A He successfully having sex with me because he pulled my short pant and pantie forcible.

Q So, what did you say when he forcibly pulled your short and pantie?

A I told him, "don't do that to me, my body is still aching and also my abdomen and I cannot do what you wanted me
to do. I cannot withstand sex."

Q So, what happened to your short when he forcibly pulled it down?

A It was tom.

Q And after your short and pantie was pulled down by your husband, what did he do?

A He also removed his short and brief and flexed my two legs and mounted on me and succeeded in having sex
with me.139
The accused-appellant forced his wife when he knowingly overpowered her by gripping her hands, flexing her legs
and then resting his own legs thereon in order to facilitate the consummation of his much-desired non-consensual
sexual intercourse.

Records also show that the accused-appellant employed sufficient intimidation upon KKK. His actuations prior to the
actual moment of the felonious coitus revealed that he imposed his distorted sense of moral authority on his wife.
He furiously demanded for her to lay with him on the bed and thereafter coerced her to indulge his sexual craving.

The fury the accused-appellant exhibited when KKK refused to sleep with him on their bed, when she insisted to
sleep in the children's bedroom and the fact that he exercises dominance over her as husband all cowed KKK into
submission.

The fact that KKK voluntarily went with the accused-appellant to their conjugal bedroom on October 16, 1998 cannot
be stretched to mean that she consented to the forced sexual intercourse that ensued. The accused-appellant was
KKK's husband and hence it was customary for her to sleep in the conjugal bedroom. No consent can be deduced
from such act of KKK because at that juncture there were no indications that sexual intercourse was about to take
place. The issue of consent was still irrelevant since the act for which the same is legally required did not exist yet or
at least unclear to the person from whom the consent was desired. The significant point when consent must be
given is at that time when it is clear to the victim that her aggressor is soliciting sexual congress. In this case, that
point is when the accused-appellant tapped his fingers on her lap, a gesture KKK comprehended to be an invitation
for a sexual intercourse, which she refused.

Resistance, medical certificate and blood traces.

We cannot give credence to the accused-appellant's argument that KKK should have hit him to convey that she was
resisting his sexual onslaught. Resistance is not an element of rape and the law does not impose upon the victim
the burden to prove resistance140 much more requires her to raise a specific kind thereof.

At any rate, KKK put up persistent, audible and intelligible resistance for the accused-appellant to recognize that she
seriously did not assent to a sexual congress. She held on to her panties to prevent him from undressing her, she
refused to bend her legs and she repeatedly shouted and begged for him to stop.

Moreover, as an element of rape, force or intimidation need not be irresistible; it may be just enough to bring about
the desired result. What is necessary is that the force or intimidation be sufficient to consummate the purpose that
the accused had in mind141 or is of such a degree as to impel the defenseless and hapless victim to bow into
submission.142

Contrary to the accused-appellant's allusions, the absence of blood traces in KKK's panties or the lack of a medical
certificate do not negate rape. It is not the presence or absence of blood on the victim's underwear that determines
the fact of rape143 inasmuch as a medical certificate is dispensable evidence that is not necessary to prove
rape.144 These details do not pertain to the elements that produce the gravamen of the offense that is -sexual
intercourse with a woman against her will or without her consent.145

The accused-appellant harps on the acquittal ruling in People v. Godoy,146 the evidentiary circumstances of which
are, however, disparate from those in the present case. In Godoy, the testimony of the complainant was inherently
weak, inconsistent, and was controverted by the prosecution's medico-legal expert witness who stated that force
was not applied based on the position of her hymenal laceration. This led the Court to conclude that the absence of
any sign of physical violence on the victim's body is an indication of consent.147Here, however, KKK's testimony is, as
discussed earlier, credible, spontaneous and forthright.

The corroborative testimonies of


MMM and OOO are worthy of credence.

The accused-appellant's assertion that MMM and OOO's testimonies lacked probative value as they did not witness
the actual rape is bereft of merit. It must be stressed that rape is essentially committed in relative isolation, thus, it is
usually only the victim who can testify with regard to the fact of the forced sexual intercourse.148 Hence, the probative
value of MMM and OOO's testimonies rest not on whether they actually witnessed the rape but on whether their
declarations were in harmony with KKK's narration of the circumstances, preceding, subsequent to and concurrent
with, the rape incidents.

MMM and OOO's testimonies substantiated significant points in KKK's narration. MMM heard KKK shouting and
crying: "Eddie, don’t do that to me, have pity on me"149 on the night of October 16, 1998 shortly after KKK and the
accused-appellant went to their conjugal bedroom. When MMM went upstairs to check on her mother, the accused-
appellant admonished her for meddling. Frustrated to aid her mother who persistently cried, MMM kicked the door
so hard the accused-appellant was prompted to open it and rebuke MMM once more. OOO heard all these
commotion from the room downstairs.

MMM then saw her mother crouched on the bed, crying, with her hair disheveled while her tom panty lay on the
floor. After a brief struggle with the accused-appellant, MMM and KKK were finally able to escape and retreat to the
children's bedroom where KKK narrated to her daughters: "[Y]our father is an animal, a beast; he forced me to have
sex with him when I'm not feeling well. "

KKK gave a similar narration to MMM and OOO the following night after the accused-appellant barged inside the
children's bedroom. The couple had an argument and when MMM tried to interfere, the accused-appellant ordered
her and OOO to get out after bragging that he can have sex with his wife even in front of the children because he is
the head of the family. The girls then stayed by the staircase where they afterwards heard their mother helplessly
crying and shouting for the accused-appellant to stop.

Indeed, the testimonies of KKK, MMM and OOO coherently depicted that the accused-appellant, through the use of
force and intimidation, had non-consensual and forced carnal knowledge of his wife, KKK on the nights of October
16 and 17, 1998.

KKK's helpless screams and pleas from inside the bedroom coupled with her verbal and physical resistance were
clear manifestations of coercion. Her appearance when MMM saw her on the bed after the accused appellant
opened the door on October 16, 1998, her conduct towards the accused-appellant on her way out of the room, and
her categorical outcry to her children after the two bedroom episodes - all generate the conclusion that the sexual
acts that occurred were against her will.

Failure to immediately report to the


police authorities, if satisfactorily
explained, is not fatal to the
credibility of a witness.

The testimonies of KKK and her daughters cannot be discredited merely because they failed to report the rape
incidents to the police authorities or that KKK belatedly filed the rape charges. Delay or vacillation by the victims in
reporting sexual assaults does not necessarily impair their credibility if such delay is satisfactorily explained.150

At that time, KKK and her daughters were not aware that a husband forcing his wife to submit to sexual intercourse
is considered rape. In fact, KKK only found out that she could sue his husband for rape when Prosecutor Benjamin
Tabique, Jr. (Prosecutor Tabique) told her about it when she filed the separate charges for grave threats and
physical injuries against the accused-appellant.151

It must be noted that the incidents occurred a year into the effectivity of R.A. No. 8353 abolishing marital exemption
in rape cases hence it is understandable that it was not yet known to a layman as opposed to legal professionals
like Prosecutor Tabique. In addition, fear of reprisal thru social humiliation which is the common factor that deter
rape victims from reporting the crime to the authorities is more cumbersome in marital rape cases. This is in view of
the popular yet outdated belief that it is the wife's absolute obligation to submit to her husband's carnal desires. A
husband raping his own wife is often dismissed as a peculiar occurrence or trivialized as simple domestic trouble.

Unfamiliarity with or lack of knowledge of the law criminalizing marital rape, the stigma and public scrutiny that could
have befallen KKK and her family had the intervention of police authorities or even the neighbors been sought, are
acceptable explanations for the failure or delay in reporting the subject rape incidents.
The victim -S testimony on the
witness stand rendered
unnecessary the presentation of her
complaint-affidavit as evidence.

The failure of the prosecution to present KKK's complaint-affidavit for rape is not fatal in view of the credible, candid
and positive testimony of KKK on the witness stand. Testimonial evidence carries more weight than the affidavit
since it underwent the rudiments of a direct, cross, re-direct and re-cross examinations. Affidavits or statements
taken ex parte are generally considered incomplete and inaccurate. Thus, by nature, they are inferior to testimony
given in court.152

Ill motive imputed to the victim

The ill motive, which the accused-appellant imputed to KKK, does not inspire belief as it is riddled with loopholes
generated by incongruent and flimsy evidence. The prosecution was able to establish that the ₱3 Million deposit in
the spouses' bank account was the proceeds of their loan from the Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI). Exhibit J, which
is a BPI ML instruction sheet dated October 31, 1996 in the amount of ₱3,149,840.63 is the same amount the
accused-appellant claimed to have entrusted to her wife. Although the accused-appellant denied being aware of
such loan, he admitted that approximately ₱3 Million was spent for the construction of their house. These pieces of
evidence effectively belie the accused appellant's allegation that KKK could not account for the money deposited in
the bank.153

Anent, KKK's alleged extra-marital affairs, the accused-appellant failed to explain how Bebs could be his wife KKK
when the letter-sender greeted Bebs a "happy birthday" on October 28 while KKK's birthday is June 23. The
accused-appellant also did not present Bebs herself, being a more competent witness to the existence of the
alleged love letters for KKK. He likewise failed, despite promise to do so, to present the original copies of such love
letters neither did he substantiate KKK's supposed extra-marital affairs by presenting witnesses who could
corroborate his claims. Further, the Court finds it unbelievable that an able man would not have the temerity to
confront his wife who has fooled around with 10 men - some of whom he has even met. The accused-appellant's
erratic statements on the witness stand are inconsistent with the theory of extra-marital romance making it
reasonable to infer that he merely made up those malicious stories as a desperate ploy to extricate himself out of
this legal quandary.

At best, the basis of the alleged illicit affairs of KKK were the accused-appellant's unfounded suspicions that hold no
evidentiary weight in law and thus incompetent to destroy KKK's credibility and that of her testimony. In sum, the
defense failed to present sufficiently convincing evidence that KKK is a mere vindictive wife who is harassing the
accused-appellant with fabricated rape charges.

Alibi

It must be stressed that in raising the irrevocable implied consent theory as defense, the accused-appellant has
essentially admitted the facts of sexual intercourse embodied in the two criminal informations for rape. This
admission is inconsistent with the defense of alibi and any discussion thereon will thus be irrelevant.

At any rate, the courts a quo correctly rejected his alibi.

Alibi is one of the weakest defenses not only because it is inherently frail and unreliable, but also because it is easy
to fabricate and difficult to check or rebut. It cannot prevail over the positive identification of the accused by
eyewitnesses who had no improper motive to testify falsely.154

For the defense of alibi to prosper, the accused must prove not only that he was at some other place at the time of
the commission of the crime, but also that it was physically impossible for him to be at the locus delicti or within its
immediate vicinity. Physical impossibility refers not only to the geographical distance between the place where the
accused was and the place where the crime was committed when the crime transpired, but more importantly, the
facility of access between the two places.155
Even granting in arguendo that the accused-appellant had indeed attended a fiesta in Dangcagan, Bukidnon or was
hauling com with Equia on the dates of commission of the crime, the same will not easily exonerate him. The
accused-appellant failed to adduce clear and convincing evidence that it was physically impossible for him to be at
his residence in Cagayan de Oro City at the time of the commission of the crime. Dangcagan, Bukidnon can be
traversed by about four or five hours from Cagayan de Oro City, and even less by private vehicle which was
available to the accused appellant at any time.156 Thus, it was not physically impossible for him to be at the situs
criminis at the dates and times when the two rape incidents were committed.

Between the accused-appellant's alibi and denial, and the positive identification and credible testimony of the victim,
and her two daughters, the Court must give weight to the latter, especially in the absence of ill motive on their part to
falsely testify against the accused-appellant.

Conclusion

All told, the presumption of innocence endowed an accused-appellant was sufficiently overcome by KKK's clear,
straightforward, credible, and truthful declaration that on two separate occasions, he succeeded in having sexual
intercourse with her, without her consent and against her will. Evidence of overwhelming force and intimidation to
consummate rape is extant from KKK's narration as believably corroborated by the testimonies of MMM and OOO
and the physical evidence of KKK's tom panties and short pants. Based thereon, the reason and conscience of the
Court is morally certain that the accused-appellant is guilty of raping his wife on the nights of October 16 and 17,
1998.

Penalties

The Court affirms the penalty of reclusion perpetua, for each count of rape, meted upon the accused-appellant for
being in accord with Article 266-A in relation to 266-B of the RPC. Further, he shall not be eligible for parole
pursuant to Section 3 of R.A. No. 9346, which states that "persons convicted of offenses punished with reclusion
perpetua, or whose sentences will be reduced to reclusion perpetua, by reason of this Act, shall not be eligible for
parole under Act No. 4180, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended."157

The Court sustains the moral damages awarded in the amount of ₱50,000.00. Moral damages are granted to rape
victims without need of proof other than the fact of rape under the assumption that the victim suffered moral injuries
from the experience she underwent.158

The award of civil indemnity is proper; it is mandatory upon the finding that rape took place. Considering that the
1âwphi1

crime committed is simple rape, there being no qualifying circumstances attendant in its commission, the
appropriate amount is ₱50,000.00159 and not ₱75,000.00 as awarded by the RTC.

To serve as an example for public good and in order to deter a similar form of domestic violence, an award of
₱30,000.00 as exemplary damages is imperative.160

The damages awarded shall earn legal interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum to be reckoned from the
date of finality of this judgment until fully paid.161

A Final Note

Rape is a crime that evokes global condemnation because it is an abhorrence to a woman's value and dignity as a
human being. It respects no time, place, age, physical condition or social status. It can happen anywhere and it can
happen to anyone. Even, as shown in the present case, to a wife, inside her time-honored fortress, the family home,
committed against her by her husband who vowed to be her refuge from cruelty. The herein pronouncement is an
affirmation to wives that our rape laws provide the atonement they seek from their sexually coercive husbands.

Husbands are once again reminded that marriage is not a license to forcibly rape their wives. A husband does not
own his wife's body by reason of marriage. By marrying, she does not divest herself of the human right to an
exclusive autonomy over her own body and thus, she can lawfully opt to give or withhold her consent to marital
coitus. A husband aggrieved by his wife's unremitting refusal to engage in sexual intercourse cannot resort to
felonious force or coercion to make her yield. He can seek succor before the Family Courts that can determine
whether her refusal constitutes psychological incapacity justifying an annulment of the marriage.

Sexual intimacy is an integral part of marriage because it is the spiritual and biological communion that achieves the
marital purpose of procreation. It entails mutual love and self-giving and as such it contemplates only mutual sexual
cooperation and never sexual coercion or imposition.

The Court is aware that despite the noble intentions of the herein pronouncement, menacing personalities may use
this as a tool to harass innocent husbands. In this regard, let it be stressed that safeguards in the criminal justice
system are in place to spot and scrutinize fabricated or false marital rape complaints and any person who institutes
untrue and malicious charges will be made answerable under the pertinent provisions of the RPC and/or other laws.

WHEREFORE, all the foregoing considered, the Decision dated July 9, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
CR-HC No. 00353 is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. Accused-appellant Edgar Jumawan is found
GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of two (2) counts of RAPE and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua for each count, without eligibility for parole. He is further ordered to pay the victim, KKK, the amounts of
PS0,000.00 as civil indemnity, ₱50,000.00 as moral damages, and ₱30,000.00 as exemplary damages, for each
count of rape. The award of damages shall earn legal interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum from the
finality of this judgment until fully paid.

SO ORDERED.

BIENVENIDO L. REYES
Associate Justice