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June 5, 2013 | Leonardo-de Castro, J. | Appeal from CA | Rape

PETITIONER: People of the Philippines

RESPONDENT: Moises Caoile
SUMMARY: Caoile was charged with two counts of rape of a demented person (an eighteen year old with a mental age of seven).
The victim AAA was his neighbor and playmate of his daughter Marivic. The SC affirmed his conviction.
 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. The absence of reason or free will determines rape, such as when caused by some mental deficiency, despite
a sweetheart defense that the parties are lovers. In this case, her failure to offer resistance to the act did not mean consent for
she was incapable of giving any rational consent.
 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, although there was no evidence of such a qualifying circumstance in this case.

FACTS: score performance of 55, within the

mental retardation range (mental age of
1. The accused-appellant challenges in this appeal the March a child aged 7 years 9 months).
21, 2012 Decision1 promulgated by the Court of Appeals ii. Dr. Roderico V. Ramos, a psychiatrist
affirming with modification his conviction for two counts of the ITRMC, testified that after
of Rape rendered against him by Branch 32 of the Agoo, psychiatric evaluation, [AAA] was
La Union RTC in Family Court Case Nos. A-496 and A- diagnosed with moderate mental
497. retardation (5-6 years old mental age).
2. Caoile in two separate Amended Informations filed before 6. Caoile argued that he was courting [AAA] and that they
the RTC on January 5, 2006, was charged with two became lovers, [AAA] staying at his house when Caoile’s
separate counts of Rape of a Demented Person under wife would leave to work in the town proper of Rosario,
Article 266-A, paragraph 1 (d) of the Revised Penal Code. La Union. He claimed he did not know [AAA] was
3. [AAA], the herein victim, lived with her grandmother and demented as she acted like a normal individual and
auntie in Alipang, Rosario, La Union when her mother finished elementary education.
left to work abroad. One of their neighbors was the a. He gave her money, chocolates or candies when
accused whose daughter, Marivic, was the playmate of she came over. Time came when [AAA] would
[AAA]. The accused invited [AAA] three times to come stay at the accused’s house, from Monday to
with him (first she was invited to the bamboo trees, then Sunday, with or without the children, and they
to gather guavas at the mountain, and then to gather santol found themselves falling in love with one other.
fruits), and raped her on each occasion. b. As lovers, they had their intimate moments, and
4. Sometime in April 2005, [AAA] heard her friend, [BBB], their first sexual intercourse happened on April
complaining to Lucio Bafalar, a Barangay Tanod, that the 6, 2005 on the mountain. From then on, the
accused mashed her breast. Upon hearing the story of accused and [AAA] repeatedly had sexual
[BBB], [AAA] blurted out that she, too, was abused. intercourse, and most of which were initiated by
5. [CCC], [AAA]’s aunt, learned that her niece was [AAA], especially their sexual intimacies in Agri
raped by the accused, and together with [AAA] and Motel, Pangasinan.
Barangay Captain Roming Bartolome they went to 7. As prayed for the defense, [AAA] was evaluated by Dr.
the Rosario Police Station to report the incident. Lowell A. Rebucal of the Department of Psychiatry,
a. After examining [AAA] on June 21, 2005, Dr. Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, chosen by
Claire Maramat found out that [AAA]’s genitalia the defense. In his Psychiatric Evaluation Report, Dr.
suffered a multiple hymenal laceration a week or Rebucal concluded that [AAA] is suffering from Mild
months prior to the examination. Moreover, there Mental Retardation.
was presence of spermatozoa, which means that 8. On May 6, 2009, the RTC rendered Decision finding
[AAA] had sexual intercourse, and Caoile guilty of two counts of rape:
predominance of coccobacilli, meaning that 9. In its Decision dated March 21, 2012, the Court of
[AAA] could be suffering from infection, Appeals affirmed with modification the RTC decision.
possibly transmitted through intercourse.
b. There were two certifications of [AAA]’s mental ISSUE: WON Caoile was properly convicted of two counts of
condition: rape—YES.
i. Claire Baliaga, a psychologist of the
Philippine Mental Health Association, ARGUMENT OF APPELLANT: Caoile is attacking the
Baguio-Benguet Chapter, testified that credibility of AAA, and claims that she might not be a mental
she conducted a psychological retardate at all, having been able to give categorical and
evaluation on [AAA] on August 10, straightforward answers during her testimony. Moreover,
2007; that [AAA] obtained an overall Caoile avers that it has not been shown that AAA underwent
the proper clinical, laboratory, and psychometric tests to arrive stated in the Amended Informations were
at the conclusion that she fell within the range of mental averments sufficient to inform Caoile of the
retardation. Caoile argues that while it is true that his denial nature of the charges against him.
and sweetheart defenses are generally deemed weak and 2. AAA is a mental retardate. The fact that AAA was able
unavailing, his conviction should nevertheless be founded on to answer in a straightforward manner during her
the strength of the prosecution’s evidence and not on the flaws testimony cannot be used against her.
of his defenses a. It bears emphasis that the competence and
credibility of mentally deficient rape victims as
RULING: WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision witnesses have been upheld by this Court where
of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED with it is shown that they can communicate their
MODIFICATION. Accused-appellant MOISES CAOILE is ordeal capably and consistently. It even lends
found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of greater credence to her testimony, that, someone
simple rape under subparagraph (b) of Article 266-A of the as feeble-minded and guileless could speak so
Revised Penal Code, and is sentenced to reclusion perpetua for tenaciously and explicitly on the details of the
each count of rape. The award of civil indemnity and moral rape if she has not in fact suffered such crime at
damages, both in the amount of ₱50,000, and exemplary the hands of the accused (People v. Castillo)
damages in the amount of ₱30,000, all for each count of rape, b. AAA’s medical condition was verified not only
are maintained, subject to interest at the rate of 6% per annum by one expert, but three witnesses – a
from the date of finality of this judgment. No costs. psychologist and two psychiatrists, one of whom
was even chosen by the defense and testified for
HELD: the defense. All three experts confirmed that
AAA suffered from mental retardation. Caoile
1. The information was sufficient to charge Caoile with cannot properly impeach his own witness
rape. Caoile was charged in the Amended Informations without violating established rules of evidence.
with rape of a demented person under paragraph 1(d). The c. The experts’ findings on AAA’s mental
term demented17 refers to a person who has dementia, condition were based on several tests and
which is a condition of deteriorated mentality, examinations, including the Stanford-Binet Test,
characterized by marked decline from the individual’s which Caoile, relying on this Court’s ruling in
former intellectual level and often by emotional apathy, People v. Cartuano, Jr., considered as one of the
madness, or insanity.18 On the other hand, the phrase more reliable standardized tests. Besides, People
deprived of reason under paragraph 1(b) has been v. Cartuano applies only to cases where there is a
interpreted to include those suffering from mental dearth of medical records to sustain a finding of
abnormality, deficiency, or retardation.19 Thus, AAA, mental retardation as the records in that case
who was clinically diagnosed to be a mental retardate, can were wanting in clinical, laboratory, and
be properly classified as a person who is "deprived of psychometric support to sustain a finding that the
reason," under 1(d) and not one who is "demented. victim had been suffering from mental
a. The mistake, however, will not exonerate Caoile. retardation. It is noted that in People v. Delos
He did not even raise this as an objection. Santos, the Court upheld the finding that the
b. More importantly, none of his rights, particularly victim had been mentally retarded by an
that of to be informed of the nature and cause of examining psychiatrist who had been able to
the accusation against him, was violated. identify the tests administered to the victim and
Although the Amended Informations stated that to sufficiently explain the results of the tests.
he was being charged with the crime of rape of a 3. A sweetheart defense will not exculpate him from
demented person under paragraph 1(d), it also liability. Carnal knowledge of a female, even when done
stated that his victim was "a person with a without force or intimidation, is rape nonetheless, if it was
mental age of seven (7) years old." This Court, in done without her consent. Carnal knowledge of a woman
People v. Valdez, held: For a complaint or information to be so weak in intellect as to be incapable of legal consent
sufficient, it must state the name of the accused; the designation of the constitutes rape. Her failure to offer resistance to the act
offense given by the statute; the acts or omissions complained of as
constituting the offense; the name of the offended party; the
did not mean consent for she was incapable of giving any
approximate time of the commission of the offense, and the place rational consent (People v. Butiong).
wherein the offense was committed. What is controlling is the 4. Caoile’s allegation that he did not know that AAA was
description of the crime charged and the particular facts therein
recited. The acts or omissions complained of must be alleged in such mentally retarded will not suffice to overturn his
form as is sufficient to enable a person of common understanding to conviction. The perpetrator’s knowledge of the victim’s
know what offense is intended to be charged, and enable the court to
pronounce proper judgment. No information for a crime will be mental disability, at the time he committed the rape,
sufficient if it does not accurately and clearly allege the elements of merely qualifies the crime and makes it punishable by
the crime charged. This requirement of alleging the elements of a
crime in the information is to inform the accused of the nature of the
death under Article 266-B, paragraph 10. There is no
accusation against him so as to enable him to suitably prepare his sufficient evidence to establish the qualifying
defense. The presumption is that the accused has no independent circumstance of knowledge by Caoile of AAA’s mental
knowledge of the facts that constitute the offense.
c. The erroneous reference to paragraph 1(d) in the disability. The trial court and the Court of Appeals which
Amended Informations, did not cause material did not make any finding on the said qualifying
and substantial harm to Caoile. Firstly, he simply circumstance correctly convicted said accused of simple
ignored the error. Secondly, particular facts rape only.