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People v Dalipe Appeal to the decision of the RTC and the affirmation of the CA with modifications (lowering the

penalty of the 2nd count of statutory rape from death to reclusion perpetua), convicting Edwin Dalipe of three (3) counts of statutory rape and two (2) counts of acts of lasciviousness against his stepdaughter AAA AAA has been raped by her stepfather in their home in Loyola QC thrice, all done inside their home while her mom is away working. All the incidents of rape started with the appellant Dalipe touching AAA, then forcibly takes off her shorts and inserts his private part into the vagina of AAA The acts of lasciviousness were those incidents when Dalipe attempted and succeeded in inserting his finger into the vagina of AAA. After all these incidents, AAA would report to her grandmother and mother but to no avail. Her own mother even accused her of lying, that she is just making things up A classmate of AAA was the one who brought the bestial acts being done to AAA by her stepfather to the attention of their teachers in school, who actually helped them seek help from the government. The accused used as an alibi that during those times that AAA alleges that he raped her, he was out of their house, either playing billiards or spending time at a disco house. He also alleged that the victim is just making things up because she was coerced by her uncles, because these uncles didnt want Dalipe to continue with his relationship with AAAs mother. Both the RTC and the CA gave utmost credence to the statements of the victim.

Issue: W/n the CA was right in lowering the penalty of death to just reclusion perpetua YES. The fact that Dalipe is the stepfather of the victim (which can qualify the crime of rape) is not indisputable. There was no marriage certificate presented. Circumstances that qualify a crime and increase its penalty to death cannot be subject of stipulation. This strict rule is warranted by the gravity and irreversibility of capital punishment W/n the alibis of the accused may weaken the statement of the victim and ultimately lead to an acquittal NO. The manner of assigning values to declarations of witnesses on the witness stand is best and most competently performed by the trial judge who has the unique and unmatched opportunity to observe the demeanor of witnesses and assess their credibility (RTC convicted the appellant)

The assessment of the trial court is generally given the highest degree of respect, if not finality. The assessment made by the trial court is even more enhanced when the Court of Appeals affirms the same, as in this case.

Minor discrepancies or inconsistencies do not impair the integrity of the prosecutions evidence as a whole or reflect on the witnesses honesty.

Between the positive assertions of prosecution witnesses and the negative averments of an accused, the former undisputedly deserves more credence and is entitled to greater evidentiary value

For alibi to prosper, not only must an accused prove that he was at another place at the time of the commission of the crime, but also that it was physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene at that time.

That delay in the reporting of sexual abuse does not imply that the charge is not true, as the victim prefers to bear the ignominy of pain silently rather than reveal her harrowing experience and expose her shame to the world. Willingness to undergo the pain and shame in letting the whole world know what happened to her is cannot be easily dismissed as just a mere concoction of the uncles.

CA affirmed with modifications (Inclusion of non eligibility for parole)