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SECOND DIVISION [G.R. No. 170964, March 07, 2012] ELSA MACANDOG MAGTIRA, PETITIONER, VS.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, RESPONDENT. DECISION BRION, J.: Petitioner Elsa Macandog Magtira seeks in this petition for review on certiorari (filed under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court) to reverse the decision[1] and the resolution[2] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 27252. The CA affirmed with modification the joint decision[3] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, Branch 148, that found the petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of seven (7) counts of estafa penalized under Article 315, paragraph 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. The records show that seven criminal informations for estafa were filed against the petitioner. Except for the amounts misappropriated and the private complainants [4] involved, the informations were similarly worded, as follows: That on or about and sometime during the year of 2000, in the City of Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines, a place within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused received in trust and for administration from complainant x x x as contribution to a Paluwagan in the amount of x x x under [the] safekeeping of accused [Elsa] Macandog Magtira, with the express and legal obligation on the part of the accused to return and/or account for the same, but the accused far from complying with her obligation with intent to gain, abuse of confidence and to defraud complainant, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously misappropriate, misapply and convert to her own personal use and benefit the said contribution (Paluwagan) and/or the proceeds thereof x x x and despite repeated demands, the accused failed and refused and still fails and refuses to do so, to the damage and prejudice of the complainant in the aforementioned amount. [5] The petitioner entered a plea of not guilty to all the charges. [6] Thereafter, the seven cases were tried jointly. The following facts were established: first, the petitioner was the custodian of the funds of the Paluwagan where the private complainants were members;[7] second, that demands were made against the petitioner by the private complainants for the return of their contributions in the Paluwagan; and third, the petitioner failed to meet the private complainants demand for the return of their contributions. During trial, the petitioner denied misappropriating the contributions of the private complainants. She claimed that she was robbed of the Paluwagan funds in the early

afternoon of February 28, 2000. By way of corroboration, the petitioner presented a copy of an entry in the police blotter dated February 28, 2000 and the affidavits of five individuals attesting to the robbery.[8] From the evidence adduced, the RTC convicted the petitioner of the crime charged and declared: [I]t is clear to the Court that the accused is not disputing in all the cases that (a) sizeable amount of money belonging to different persons were received by her in trust or for administration, involving the duty to make a delivery thereof to the owners; (2) that there is a demand to her that same be returned but she cannot do so.[9] The RTC explained that while the robbery of the entrusted money is a valid defense against estafa, the petitioners evidence of the robbery was wanting. The RTC observed that the petitioners testimony was self-serving and inconsistent on some of the material details of the robbery. The RTC also noted the petitioners failure to account for and to deliver the contributions which were collected from the private complainants after the robbery. Finally, the RTC found that the petitioners credibility affected by her own demeanor of indifference during trial showed no semblance of worry or [of] being concerned [10] about the serious charges filed against her. Dissatisfied with the RTCs decision, the petitioner elevated her conviction to the CA which affirmed the findings of the RTC but modified the penalty of imprisonment imposed. The CA held: (1) In Criminal Case No. 02-1766 where the amount of the fraud is P85,000.00, the incremental penalty is six (6) years to be added to the maximum period of the penalty provided for by law, or eight (8) years of prision mayor minimum plus six (6) years of the incremental penalty. Hence, the indeterminate sentence is four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional medium, as the minimum penalty, to fourteen (14) years of reclusion temporal minimum, as the maximum penalty. (2) In Criminal Case No. 02-1767 where the amount of the fraud is P65,000.00, the incremental penalty is four (4) years to be added to the maximum period of the penalty provided for by law, or eight (8) years of prision mayor minimum plus four (4) years of the incremental penalty. Hence, the indeterminate sentence is four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional medium, as the minimum penalty, to twelve (12) years of prision mayor maximum, as the maximum penalty. (3) In Criminal Case No. 02-1768 where the amount of the fraud is P60,000.00, the incremental penalty is three (3) years to be added to the maximum period of the penalty provided for by law, or eight (8) years of prision mayor minimum plus three (3) years of the incremental penalty. Hence, the indeterminate sentence is four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional medium, as the

(4)

(5)

(6)

(7)

minimum penalty, to eleven (11) years of prision mayor maximum, as the maximum penalty. In Criminal Case No. 02-1769 where the amount of the fraud is P34,000.00, the incremental penalty is one (1) year to be added to the maximum period of the penalty provided for by law, or eight (8) years of prision mayor minimum plus one (1) year of the incremental penalty. Hence, the indeterminate penalty should be four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional medium, as the minimum penalty, to nine (9) years of prision mayor medium, as the maximum penalty. In Criminal Case No. 02-1770 where the amount of the fraud is P85,400.00, the incremental penalty is six (6) years to be added to the maximum period of the penalty provided for by law, or eight (8) years of prision mayor minimum plus six (6) years of the incremental penalty. Hence, the indeterminate sentence is four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional medium, as the minimum penalty, to fourteen (14) years of reclusion temporal minimum, as the maximum penalty. In Criminal Case No. 02-1771 where the amount of the fraud is P100,000.00, the incremental penalty of seven (7) years is to be added to the maximum period of the penalty provided for by law, or eight (8) years of prision mayor minimum plus seven (7) years of the incremental penalty. Hence, the indeterminate sentence is four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional medium, as the minimum penalty, to fifteen (15) years of reclusion temporal medium, as the maximum penalty. In Criminal Case No. 02-1772 where the amount of the fraud is P153,000.00, the incremental penalty is thirteen (13) years to be added to the maximum period of the penalty provided by the law. The penalty cannot go beyond twenty (20) years as the law provides that in no case shall the penalty be higher than reclusion temporal regardless of the amount of the fraud. Hence, the indeterminate sentence is four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional medium, as the minimum penalty, to twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal maximum, as the maximum penalty.[11] (italics supplied)

affirmative defense of robbery. The OSG also insists that the petitioners conduct in failing to inform all the members of the alleged robbery bolsters the circumstance of her misappropriation of the Paluwagan funds. Lastly, the petitioners misappropriation of the Paluwagan funds was substantiated by her failure to deliver the Paluwagan funds out of the contributions made by the private complainants after the robbery. The petitioner subsequently filed a reply, reiterating the arguments in her petition. The Courts Ruling We deny the petition for lack of merit. Preliminary consideration A preliminary matter we have to contend with in this case is the propriety of resolving one of the issues raised by the petitioner who has appealed her judgment of conviction by way of a Rule 45 review. A reading of the petition shows that the petitioner raises both errors of law and of fact allegedly committed by the CA and the RTC in their decisions. First, we are called to determine whether a proper application of law and jurisprudence has been made in the case. Second, we are also called to examine whether the CA and the RTC correctly appreciated the evidence to which the two courts anchor their conclusions. As a rule, a Rule 45 review is confined to the resolution of errors of law committed by the lower courts. Further, in a Rule 45 review, the factual findings of the RTC, especially when affirmed by the CA, are generally held binding and conclusive on the Court.[13] We emphasize that while jurisprudence has provided exceptions[14] to this rule, the petitioner carries the burden of proving that one or more exceptional circumstances are present in the case. The petitioner must additionally show that the cited exceptional circumstances will have a bearing on the results of the case. The petitioner cites in this regard the alleged misappreciation of the evidence committed by the CA and the RTC. The petitioner contends that both courts disregarded her evidence, namely: the affidavits of five individuals and the police blotter. She argues that she should not be faulted for the non-presentation in court of the five individuals who executed the affidavits which attested to the robbery since she was then represented by a counsel de oficio. She also argues that both courts disregarded the evidence of her reputation of being a kind person of good moral character. She asserts that she delivered to the private complainants their respective shares in the Paluwagan funds prior to the robbery. She further argues that the conclusions of the CA and the RTC were contrary to the Courts ruling in Lim v. Court of Appeals[15] where it held that estafa cannot be committed through negligence or, as in this case, where the explanation by the accused raises reasonable doubt on whether the amount in question was

The CA denied the petitioners motion for reconsideration;[12] hence, the present petition. The Issue The ultimate issue for consideration is whether the petitioner should be held liable for the crimes of estafa. The petitioner argues that the CA and the RTC erred in rejecting her argument that no misappropriation of the Paluwagan funds was clearly established in the record. In its comment, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) prays for the dismissal of the petition. The OSG maintains that the elements constituting the crime of estafa with abuse of confidence had been fully established by the prosecutions evidence. The OSG insists that the petitioner failed to clearly prove by competent evidence her

misappropriated. After a careful study of the records, we find that the petitioners cited exceptional circumstances are more imagined than real. We find no compelling reason to deviate from the factual findings of the CA and the RTC in this regard. Misappropriation as an element of the offense of estafa connotes an act of using, or disposing of, anothers property as if it were ones own, or of devoting it to a purpose or use different from that agreed upon.[16] We have previously held that the failure to account upon demand for funds or property held in trust without offering any satisfactory explanation for the inability to account is circumstantial evidence of misappropriation.[17] We have also held that the demand for the return of the thing delivered in trust and the failure of the accused to account are similarly circumstantial evidence that the courts can appreciate.[18] As the CA and the RTC did, we find no clear evidence establishing that the petitioner was actually robbed of the Paluwagan funds. In the first place, the five individuals who executed the affidavits were not presented in court. While the petitioner faults the counsel de oficio for their non-presentation in court, we find no proof that her counsel had been negligent in performing his legal duties. Incidentally, we also reject this line of argument for two other reasons: first, it was raised only for the first time in the present appeal; and second, it involves a factual determination of negligence which is inappropriate under a Rule 45 review. We additionally note from a facial examination of the affidavits that the affiants were not even eyewitnesses to the robbery; hence, their statements do not sufficiently prove the actual occurrence of the robbery. More importantly, the affidavits do not also establish with reasonable certainty that the petitioner was actually robbed of the Paluwagan funds. Moreover, we cannot give much credence to the police blotter whose contents were mainly based on the statements made by the petitioner to the police. If at all, it is evidence of what was entered, not of the truth or falsity of the entry made. We give due respect to the evaluation made by the RTC in this regard: Thus, there seems to be a discrepancy as to the time and number of persons (robbers) who entered the residence of the accused. Further, the accused claims that there was a policeman who went to her house who was called by her lessee (or lessor) but the accused cannot remember his name. But then, the accused never testified as to whether the policeman investigated the scene of the crime and some people in the vicinity. Surely at that hour, near such market, where there are people in the vicinity, people will notice strangers or other persons who enter the house of another or who leave the same whether in a hurry or not.

The accused even admitted that she was hesitant to report the matter to the police[.] Why was the accused hesitant? She claims that the robber warned her that he will harm her if she reports the incident. But immediately after the incident, the accused reported the incident, but nothing happened to her up to the present. [19] (underscoring supplied) Besides, the petitioner failed to explain her failure to account and to deliver the Paluwagan funds arising from contributions made by the private complainants after the alleged robbery incident. On record are the positive and unrefuted testimonies of the private complainants that they remitted contributions to the petitioner even after the robbery. In other words, if the petitioner had in fact been robbed of Paluwagan funds, the robbery would not have affected the accounting and the delivery of the Paluwagan funds arising from the contributions made by the private complainants after the alleged robbery. As the records show, despite the continued receipt of contributions from the private complainants, the petitioner failed to account for, and to deliver, the Paluwagan funds. The Petitioners Conviction We now go to the crux of the present appeal and determine whether the evidence adduced warrants the petitioners conviction of the crime charged. The offense of estafa committed with abuse of confidence has the following elements under Article 315, paragraph 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended: (a) that money, goods or other personal property is received by the offender in trust or on commission, or for administration, or under any other obligation involving the duty to make delivery of or to return the same[;] (b) that there be misappropriation or conversion of such money or property by the offender, or denial on his part of such receipt[;] (c) that such misappropriation or conversion or denial is to the prejudice of another; and (d) there is demand by the offended party to the offender.[20] We find that all the above elements are present in the present case, having been established by the prosecutions evidence and by the petitioners own admissions. The first element was established by the evidence showing that the petitioner received various sums of money from the private complainants to be held in trust for them under the Paluwagan operation. The petitioner admitted that she was under obligation, at a fixed date, to account for and to deliver the Paluwagan funds to the private complainants in the sequential order agreed upon among them. The second element was established by the evidence that the petitioner failed to account for and to deliver the Paluwagan funds to the private complainants on the agreed time of delivery. The third and fourth elements of the offense were proven by evidence showing that the petitioner failed to account for and to deliver the Paluwagan funds to the private complainants despite several demands made upon her by the private

complainants. Each of the private complainants testified as to how they were prejudiced when they failed to receive their allotted Paluwagan funds. Given the totality of evidence, we uphold the conviction of the petitioner of the crime charged. The Penalty The decisive factor in determining the criminal and civil liability for the crime of estafa depends on the value of the thing or the amount defrauded. [21] With respect to the civil aspect of the case, the petitioner filed a manifestation[22] which showed the satisfaction of her civil monetary liability with six (6) out of the seven (7) private complainants. Anent her criminal liability, the evidence shows that the amount of money remitted by the private complainants to the petitioner all exceeded the amount of P22,000.00. In this regard, the first paragraph of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, provides the appropriate penalty if the value of the thing or the amount defrauded exceeds P22,000.00: 1st. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum period, if the amount of the fraud is over 12,000 pesos but does not exceed 22,000 pesos; and if such amount exceeds the latter sum, the penalty provided in this paragraph shall be imposed in its maximum period, adding one year for each additional 10,000 pesos; but the total penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty years. [italics ours] As provided by law, the maximum indeterminate penalty when the amount defrauded exceeds P22,000.00 is pegged at prision mayor in its minimum period or anywhere within the range of six (6) years and one (1) day to eight (8) years, plus one year for every P10,000.00 in excess of P22,000.00 of the amount defrauded but not to exceed twenty years. In turn, the minimum indeterminate penalty shall be one degree lower from the prescribed penalty for estafa, which in this case is anywhere within the range of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods or six (6) months and one (1) day to four (4) years and two (2) months. [23] Applying this formula, we affirm the penalty imposed by the CA as it is fully in accordance with the law. WHEREFORE, premises considered, we DENY the petition for lack of merit. We AFFIRM the decision dated November 10, 2005 and the resolution dated January 10, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 27252, finding petitioner Elsa Macandog Magtira GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of seven (7) counts of estafa penalized under Article 315, paragraph 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. SO ORDERED.

Carpio, (Chairperson), Perez, Sereno, and Reyes, JJ., concur.

Friday, April 9, 2010 PEOPLE vs. JOSELITO NOQUE G.R.No. 175319 January 15, 2010 Del Castillo, J.: Facts: Accused Joselito Noque was caught in a buy-bust operation conducted by SPO4 Norberto Murillo on January 30, 2001. Two Informations were filed before the RTC of Manila docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 01-189458 and 01-189459 charging of the crimes of illegal sale and illegal possession of a regulated drug. The trial court convicted the accused on both charges. The trial court held that while the Informations alleged methamphetamine hydrochloride as the drug seized from the appellant, the drug actually confiscated which was ephedrine, which by means of chemical reaction could change into methamphetamine. Thus, the trial court ruled that the appellant can be convicted of the offenses charged, which are included in the crimes proved. The CA affirmed the trial courts decision. The CA held that the designations and allegations in the informations are for the crimes of illegal sale and illegal possession of regulated drugs. Hence, the accused appealed the case before the Supreme Court. Issue: Whether or not appellants right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation was not violated. Held: The appeal is bereft of merit. As correctly observed by CA, the offenses designated in the Informations are for violations of Sections 15 and 16 of RA 6425, which define and penalize the crimes of illegal sale and possession of regulated drugs. The allegations in the Informations for the unauthorized sale and possession of shabu or methamphetamine hydrochloride are immediately followed by the qualifying phrase which is a regulated drug. Thus, it is clear that the designations and allegations in the Informations are for the crimes of illegal sale and illegal possession of regulated drugs. Ephedrine has been classified as a regulated drug by the Dangerous Drugs Board in Board Resolution No. 2, Series of 1988. The CA correctly ruled that Sections 4 and 5, Rule 120 of the Rules of Court, can be applied by analogy in convicting the appellant of the offenses charged, which are included in the crimes proved. Under these provisions, an offense charged is necessarily included in the offense proved when the essential ingredients of the former constitute or form part of those constituting the latter. At any rate, a minor variance between the information and the evidence does not alter the nature of the offense, nor does it determine or qualify the crime or penalty, so that even if a discrepancy exists, this cannot be pleaded as a ground for acquittal. In other words,

his right to be informed of the charges against him has not been violated because where an accused is charged with a specific crime, he is duly informed not only of such specific crime but also of lesser crimes or offenses included therein.

DECISION January 9, 1951 G.R. No. L-2323 THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MATIAS ALMAZAN, defendant-appellant. Office of the Solicitor General Felix Bautista Angelo and Assistant Solicitor General Guillermo E. Torres for appellee. Juan R. Solijon for appellant. Jugo, J.: Matias Almazan was accused before the Peoples Court of the crime of treason on five counts. Count 5 was not deemed by the trial court specifically proved for lack of two witnesses to the overt acts, and the evidence on said count was considered only as proof of adhesion to the enemy. The appellant was found guilty on the first four counts and was sentenced to reclusion perpetua, with the accessory penalties of the law, to pay a fine of P10,000 and the costs. The defendant appealed to this Court. The evidence for the prosecution established the following facts: Count No. 1. The appellant was formerly a member of the subversive societies known as Ganap and Sakdal. During the Japanese occupation, he became the member of the other society known as Makabayang Kalipunan Ng Mga Pilipino or Makapili for short. This association was founded under the auspices of the Japanese Imperial Army, its purpose having been to help the Japanese forces in their campaign against the United States and the Commonwealth of the Philippine Islands and to combat the guerilla underground movement. The members of this society received military training from the Japanese and actually took part in the campaign against the resistance movement of the Fil-American forces. This charge was proved by documentary evidence and the testimony of numerous witnesses. Count No. 2. On June 20, 1943, the appellant with one Marcelo Alatiit, accompanied several Japanese soldiers to the barrio of Malaban Bian, Laguna, and there arrested three guerilla suspects, named Gregorio Corrales, Macario Alzona, and Juan Romero, and took them to Calamba, Laguna, delivering them to the Japanese headquarters in that town. This is proved by the testimony of four witnesses.

G.R. No. 152259, July 29, 2004ALFREDO T. ROMUALDEZ, petitioner,vs.THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN (Fifth Division) and the PEOPLEof the PHILIPPINES, respondents.FACTS: The People of the Philippines, through the Presidential Commissionon Good Government (PCGG), filed on July 12, 1989 an information before theanti-graft court charging the accused with violation of Section 5, Republic ActNo. 3019,5 as amended. That on or about and during the period from July 16, 1975 to July 29, 1975, inMetro Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan,Alfredo T. Romualdez, brother-in-law of Ferdinand E. Marcos, former Presidentof the Philippines, and therefore, related to the latter by affinity within thethird civil degree, did then and there willfully and unlawfully, and with evidentbad faith, for the purpose of promoting his self-interested and/or that of others, intervene directly or indirectly, in a contract between the NationalShipyard and Steel Corporation (NASSCO), a government-owned andcontrolled corporation and the Bataan Shipyard and Engineering Company(BASECO), a private corporation, the majority stocks of which is owned byformer President Ferdinand E. Marcos, whereby the NASSCO sold, transferredand conveyed to the BASECO its ownership and all its titles and interests overall equipment and facilities including structures, buildings, shops, quarters,houses, plants and expendable and semiexpendable assets, located at theEngineer Island known as the Engineer Island Shops including some of itsequipment and machineries from Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte neededby BASECO in its shipbuilding and ship repair program for the amount of P5,000,000.00. ISSUE: Whether the constitutional right of the petitioner to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him was violated for notspecifying the acts of intervention that he supposedly performed. HELD: The Court did not agree with the petitioner's contention.When allegations in the information are vague or indefinite, the remedy of the accused is not a motion to quash, but a motion for a bill of particulars. The pertinent provision in the Rules of Court is Section 9 of Rule 116, whichwe quote:"Section 9. Bill of particulars. -- The accused may, before arraignment, movefor a bill of particulars to enable him properly to plead and prepare for trial. The motion shall specify the alleged defects of the complaint or informationand the details desired." Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

Count No. 3. In the evening of August 9, 1943, the appellant Matias Almazan arrested in their house in barrio De la Paz, Bian, Laguna, Enrique Alcabasa and his sons Bernardo and Gregorio, who were members of the guerilla corps under the command of Colonel Hugh Straughn and delivered them to the Japanese headquarters in Bian, where they were tortured by the Japanese, resulting in the death of Enrique two days afterward. This charge was proved by the testimony of Bernardo and Gregorio Alcabasa. Count No. 4. In the month of November, 1943, at midnight, the appellant, armed, went with Marcelo Alatiit and a number of Japanese soldiers to the barrio of Malaban Bian, Laguna, and there arrested Felipe Capili, proceeding to the town of Siniloan where they apprehended three unknown Filipinos. All of these arrested persons were guerilla suspects. They were surrendered by the defendant and his companions to the Japanese garrison in Calamba. This was proved by the testimony of Angeles Vicentina, Felipe Capili, and Valentin del Monte. The appellant admitted that he was a Filipino citizen. The appellant and his defense, although he admits his membership in the Ganap Party before the war, denies his affiliation with the Makapili. He denies having given aid or comfort to the enemy. He admits that he was present when Corrales, Alzona, and Romero were arrested on June 20, 1943, but denies having had any participation in said arrest having been only a curious bystander. He admits knowing Enrique Alcabasa, but says that he was even unaware that the latter had been arrested and learned of it only when he, the appellant, was arraigned. The witness for the defense, Barsiliso Almazan, corroborating the defendant, testifies that he was present when Corrales, Alzona, and Romero were arrested, but the defendant Matias Almazan was not among those who arrested them. Felix Kalayag, another witness for the defense, testifies that the appellant was not with the group that arrested Felipe Capili in November, 1943, and that the only civilian present on that occasion was the Japanese named Takama. The membership of the appellant Matias Almazan in the Makapili association has been proved by the testimony of Angeles Vicentina, Pacifico Alzona, Bernardo Alcabasa, Marciano Gallo, Marcial Gomez, and Calixto Martina, who were barrio

mates of the appellant and knew the latter well. They saw the appellant, fully armed when he was with the Japanese patrol on several occasions, and when he was drilled by the Japanese together with the members of the Makapili organization in Bian. The appellant acted as a pro-Japanese and a leader of the Makapilis. The evidence is sufficient to establish the fact that he was an active member of the Makapili. The contention of the appellant that he was a mere bystander when Corrales, Alzona and Romero were arrested, is disproved by the testimony of Angeles Vicentina, Faustino Parao, Juan P. Romero, and Gregorio Corrales. There is no reason to believe that his own barrio mates would have testified against him if in fact he did not participate actively in the arrest of those persons. They had no motive to do so; Juana Amoranto and Barsiliso Almazan, who did not take part in the arrest, were not charged by said witnesses. The appellant himself admits that he had no quarrel with those witnesses. The denial of the defendant that he took part in the arrest of Enrique Alcabasa and his sons Bernardo and Gregorio(Count No. 3) is disproved by the victims Bernardo and Gregorio Alcabasa. Enrique Alcabasa could not testify because he had been tortured to death by the Japanese. With regard to the arrest of Capili (Count No. 4), the mere denial of the accused cannot prevail over the testimony of Angeles Vicentina, Valentin del Monte, and Felipe Capili himself, all of whom clearly identified the appellant as one of those who arrested Capili. The appellant says that Capili had a grudge against him because he refused to lend money to Capili at a gambling game. This alleged motive is insufficient to lead us to believe that for that reason Capili, the victim, testified falsely against him. Furthermore, with regard to the respective credibility of the witnesses, we find no reason for disregarding the conclusions of the trial court; on the contrary, we find them fully supported by the evidence of record. In view of the foregoing, the judgment appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs against the appellant. It is ordered. Moran, C.J. Paras, Feria, Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Tuason, Montemayor and Reyes, JJ., concur. People vs. Sitco and Bagtas, G.R. 178202, May 14, 2010 In a buy bust operation to apprehend Sitco and Bagtas, the post buyer was PO3 Alan, who happened to be a rogue cop having been arrested

for indulging in a pot session per his own admission then eventually charged and dismissed from the police service. The rule is that prosecutions involving illegal drugs depend largely on the credibility of the police buy-bust operators and that the trial courts finding on the credibility of a police-witness deserves respect, acquittal or the least liability is in order when there are circumstances that would support a reasonable doubt in favor of the accused like in this case where PO3 Alans credibility is under a heavy cloud because of his involvement in illegal drugs. The constitutional presumption of innocence requires courts to take a more casual consideration of every circumstance or doubt proving the innocence of an accused.

On arraignment, appellant pleaded NOT GUILTY to the crime charged. Trial on the merits ensued thereafter. In its 31 July 2000 Decision, the RTC convicted appellant of the crime of rape and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay AAA the amount of P40,000.00 as indemnity with costs. In convicting appellant, the RTC ratiocinated that AAAs testimony as regards her ordeal was simple and straightforward, unshaken by a rigid cross-examination. There appeared to be no inconsistency in her testimony. Further, AAAs declaration that she was raped by appellant was corroborated by a medical certificate showing contusion on her vagina at 6:00 oclock quadrant of the crevice, which was explained by Dr. Rodrigo Cubid to have been caused by forceful vaginal intrusion. The RTC negates the sweet heart defense offered by appellant. It stated that appellants claim of being AAAs lover was a mere devise to extricate himself from the consequence of his dastardly lust. AAAs immediate response of reporting the rape incident carries the stamp of truth. Moreover, if, indeed, there was such relationship between appellant and AAA, the latter would not have pursued this case. It bears stressing that despite appellants repeated plea for the dismissal of the case, AAA remained steadfast in seeking justice for the violation of her womanhood.[6] Aggrieved, appellant appealed the aforesaid RTC Decision to this Court by filing a Notice of Appeal dated 6 September 2000.[7] In light, however, of this Courts pronouncement in People v. Mateo,[8] the case was transferred to the Court of Appeals for intermediate review per Resolution[9] dated 4 October 2004. In a Decision dated 9 May 2006, the Court of Appeals affirmed appellants conviction with the modification increasing the award of indemnity from P40,000.00 to P50,000.00. It likewise awarded moral damages in favor of AAA in the amount of P50,000.00. The Court of Appeals aptly observed that the prosecution was able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that appellant committed the crime of rape against AAA. It further held that other than the self-serving declaration of appellant that he and AAA were sweethearts; no other evidence was ever presented to substantiate such claim. Even the testimony of appellants daughter, who claimed that her father and AAA are maintaining an illicit relationship, could not be given any considerable weight. Aside from the fact that appellants daughter could not point to any other circumstance supporting her claim, except for one incident when she allegedly saw her father and AAA holding hands during a dance at their barangay fiesta, her testimony could not be stripped of bias and partiality considering that she is the daughter of appellant. In the same way, her testimony that she saw her father and AAA in the act of sexual intercourse deserves scant consideration as she was not present at the time of the commencement of the said act. She could not, therefore, be in a position to state with certainty that there was no struggle on the part of AAA. Hence, her testimony regarding such matter is a mere conclusion of fact.[10] However, in a letter dated 29 May 2006,[11] Dr. Juanito S. Leopando, Penal

SECOND DIVISION [G.R. No. 200030, April 18, 2012] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. NELSON BAYOT Y SATINA, ACCUSED-APPELLANT. RESOLUTION PEREZ, J.: This is an appeal from the Decision dated 9 May 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CEB-CR-H.C. No. 00269 affirming with modification the Decision[2] dated 31 July 2000 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, 6th Judicial Region, Branch 61, in Criminal Case No. 98-2025, finding herein appellant Nelson Bayot y Satina (appellant) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape, committed against AAA,[3] thus, sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The appellate court increased the award of indemnity from P40,000.00 to P50,000.00. It also ordered appellant to pay AAA moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00. Appellant Nelson Bayot y Satina was charged with Rape in an Information[4] dated 29 December 1997, which reads as follows: That on or about the 17th day of September, 1997, in the Municipality of XXX, Province of XXX, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named [appellant], by means of force, violence and intimidation, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of and/or sexual intercourse with the [AAA], 44 years old, against her will. [5]
[1]

Superintendent IV of the New Bilibid Prison, informed the Court of Appeals that appellant died at the New Bilibid Prison Hospital on 4 December 2004. Attached in his letter is the original copy of appellants Certificate of Death. [12] Nonetheless, the Public Attorneys Office still appealed, on behalf of appellant, the aforesaid Court of Appeals Decision to this Court via a Notice of Appeal [13] dated 31 May 2006, which was given due course by the Court of Appeals per Resolution [14] dated 19 January 2007. The Court of Appeals also directed the Chief of the Judicial Records Division to forward the entire records of the case to this Court. Taking into consideration appellants death, this Court will now determine its effect to this present appeal. Appellants death on 4 December 2004, during the pendency of his appeal before the Court of Appeals, extinguished not only his criminal liability for the crime of rape committed against AAA, but also his civil liability solely arising from or based on said crime.[15] Article 89(1) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, specifically provides the effect of death of the accused on his criminal, as well as civil, liability. It reads thus: Art. 89. How criminal liability is totally extinguished. Criminal liability is totally extinguished: 1. By death of the convict, as to the personal penalties; and as to pecuniary penalties, liability therefor is extinguished only when the death of the offender occurs before final judgment; [Emphasis supplied]. 4.

b) Contracts c) Quasi-contracts d) x x x x x x xxx e) Quasi-delicts 3. Where the civil liability survives, as explained in Number 2 above, an action for recovery therefor may be pursued but only by way of filing a separate civil action and subject to Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure as amended. This separate civil action may be enforced either against the executor/administrator or the estate of the accused, depending on the source of obligation upon which the same is based as explained above. Finally, the private offended party need not fear a forfeiture of his right to file this separate civil action by prescription, in cases where during the prosecution of the criminal action and prior to its extinction, the privateoffended party instituted together therewith the civil action. In such case, the statute of limitations on the civil liability is deemed interrupted during the pendency of the criminal case, conformably with [the] provisions of Article 1155 of the Civil Code, that should thereby avoid any apprehension on a possible privation of right by prescription. [18]

From the foregoing, it is clear that the death of the accused pending appeal of his conviction extinguishes his criminal liability, as well as the civil liability ex delicto. The rationale, therefore, is that the criminal action is extinguished inasmuch as there is no longer a defendant to stand as the accused, the civil action instituted therein for recovery of civil liability ex delicto is ipso facto extinguished, grounded as it is on the criminal case.[19] Evidently, as this Court has pronounced in People v. Olaco and People v. Paniterce,[20] it is already unnecessary to rule on appellants appeal. Appellants appeal was still pending and no final judgment had been rendered against him at the time of his death. Thus, whether or not appellant was guilty of the crime charged had become irrelevant because even assuming that appellant did incur criminal liability and civil liability ex delicto, these were totally extinguished by his death, following the provisions of Article 89(1) of the Revised Penal Code and this Courts ruling in People v. Bayotas. In the same breath, the appealed Decision dated 9 May 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CEB-CR-H.C. No. 00269 finding appellant guilty of the crime of rape, sentencing him to reclusion perpetua, and ordering him to pay AAA P50,000.00 as indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages had become ineffectual. WHEREFORE, in view of the death of appellant Nelson Bayot y Satina, the Decision dated 9 May 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CEB-CR-H.C. No.

Applying the foregoing provision, this Court, in People v. Bayotas,[16] which was cited in a catena of cases,[17] had laid down the following guidelines: 1. Death of the accused pending appeal of his conviction extinguishes his criminal liability as well as the civil liability based solely thereon. As opined by Justice Regalado, in this regard, the death of the accused prior to final judgment terminates his criminal liability and only the civil liability directly arising from and based solely on the offense committed, i.e., civil liability ex delicto in senso strictiore. Corollarily, the claim for civil liability survives notwithstanding the death of [the] accused, if the same may also be predicated on a source of obligation other than delict. Article 1157 of the Civil Code enumerates these other sources of obligation from which the civil liability may arise as a result of the same act or omission: a) Law

2.

00269 is SET ASIDE and Criminal Case No. 98-2025 before the RTC of Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, is DISMISSED. Costs de oficio. SO ORDERED. Carpio, (Chairperson), Brion, Sereno, and Reyes, JJ., concur.

criminal cases, as well as in civil cases, it has frequently been held that the fact that blunders and mistakes may have been made in the conduct of the proceedings in the trial court as a result of the ignorance, inexperience or incompetence of counsel does not constitute a ground for new trial. The exception to this rule is when the negligence of counsel is so gross, reckless and inexcusable that the client is deprived of his day in court.[2] (Emphasis supplied.) In this case, the allegations that the former counsel of Milla pursued remedies that the latter deemed inappropriate for his defense is insufficient to show that petitioner was deprived of due process. It must be recalled that in the course of the trial, Milla was given several opportunities to present his defense. Moreover, even when the trial court subsequently considered his right to present evidence to have been waived, he was still allowed to file a memorandum, which his former counsel submitted. Thus, the contention of Milla that he was deprived of due process cannot be countenanced. B. Misappreciation of facts Milla further asserts that the trial court committed a misappreciation of facts warranting a reversal of its findings. Specifically, he avers that the P1.6 million he received was for partial payment of taxes and other related expenses, while the other P400,000 was for the full payment thereof. He maintains that the total amount of P2 million was not for and in consideration of the alleged sale subject of this case. He then proceeds to argue that these amounts were in the nature of a cash advance or a simple loan, for which he cannot be criminally liable. These assertions cannot be sustained. Milla misleads this Court by making it appear as though the P2 million tendered for the payment of taxes and other expenses was separate and distinct from the subject sale. On the contrary, these taxes, consisting of capital gains and other transfer taxes, resulted precisely from this sale, which was forged by Milla by falsifying the notarized Deed of Sale and Certificate of Title. Clearly, the P2 million was not merely a cash advance or loan he obtained from private complainant. Therefore, the trial court was correct in its finding, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals, that he was guilty of estafa through falsification of public documents. WHEREFORE, the Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED. The 25 January 2012 Decision of this Court is AFFIRMED WITH FINALITY. No further pleadings shall be allowed. SO ORDERED. EN BANC

SECOND DIVISION [G.R. No. 188726, June 18, 2012] CRESENCIO C. MILLA V. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND MARKET PURSUITS, INC. REPRESENTED BY CARLO V. LOPEZ. Sirs/Mesdames: Please take notice that the Court, Second Division, issued a Resolution dated 18 June 2012 which reads as follows: G.R. No. 188726 (Cresencio C. Milla v. The People of the Philippines and Market Pursuits, Inc. represented by Carlo V. Lopez). Before this Court is a Motion for Reconsideration dated 24 February 2012 filed by petitioner Cresencio C. Milla (Milla), moving for the reconsideration of this Court's Decision dated 25 January 2012 and praying for his acquittal, or in the alternative, for an order directing the reopening of the case for reception of defense evidence. The assailed Decision denied his Petition dated 11 August 2009 and affirmed the finding of his guilt for two counts of estafa through falsification of public documents. In the present Motion for Reconsideration, Milla reiterates his allegations in his Petition, insisting that: (a) the mistake and negligence of his former counsel deprived him of due process, and (b) the lower courts committed a misappreciation of facts warranting a reversal of the trial court's factual findings. A. Negligence of counsel Milla maintains that his former counsel pursued various inappropriate remedies amounting to mistake and gross negligence that deprived him of due process. This argument fails to persuade. In Ong v. Ciba Geigy,[1] this Court held as follows: The general rule is that the client is bound by the actuation of his counsel in the conduct of the case and cannot be heard to complain that the result of the litigation might have been different had his counsel proceeded differently. In

[G.R. No. 133926. August 6, 2003]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. RUBEN DALISAY Y HERNANDEZ, appellant. DECISION SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: For automatic review is the Decision1[1] dated May 5, 1998, of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 4, Pallocan, Batangas City, in Criminal Case No. 8776 convicting Ruben Dalisay y Hernandez, appellant, of statutory rape, and imposing upon him the supreme penalty of death. He was further ordered to indemnify the victim, Ma. Lanie Dalisay (Lanie for brevity), his own daughter, the sum of P200,000.00 as moral and exemplary damages and to pay the costs. On February 10, 1997, a criminal complaint was filed with the said court by Lanie against appellant, her own father, alleging as follows: That on or about the 26th day of September 1996, at Barangay Pulong Anahao, Municipality of Mabini, Province of Batangas, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, by means of force and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously lay and have carnal knowledge with the said Ma. Lanie Dalisay, daughter of the accused and below twelve (12) years old, against her will and consent. Contrary to law.2[2] Upon arraignment, appellant pleaded not guilty to the crime charged. Trial ensued thereafter. Lanies testimony is as follows: On September 26, 1996, she was 11 years old, having been born on September 26, 1985.3[3] Her mother, Celestina Dalisay, has been working abroad, leaving her and her two siblings, Luz and Ruben, under appellants care. They reside in Barangay Pulong Anahao, Mabini, Batangas.

In the evening of September 26, 1996, appellant arrived home from work.4[4] Lanie was then lying on bed when suddenly he removed her pants and underwear. She resisted but he boxed her on her thigh.5[5] So when he told her to hold his penis, she fearfully obliged. Then he touched her vagina and licked it. Thereafter, while in a kneeling position, he placed his penis at the entrance of Lanies vagina and inserted his private organ into hers. He then proceeded to make push and pull movements (nakanyog).6[6] Lanie felt pain, but she did not complain because she was afraid of him.7[7] When she held appellants penis and tried to remove it, something sticky came out. Appellant then wiped his penis and Lanies vagina with a blanket. After that, he again licked her vagina, wiped it and went to sleep.8[8] Lanie further testified that appellant has sexually abused her since she was in grade III, or in 1994. She estimated that he had raped her seventeen (17) times, although she could no longer remember the exact dates when they took place.9[9] She did not tell anyone about those previous incidents because she was afraid he would harm her, as he used to do in the past.10[10] The following day, September 27, Lanie went to school and pretended as if nothing happened. However, her Grade V teacher, Luminada Sangcate, noticed that Lanie looked depressed that day. When she inquired, Lanie answered that she was raped (hinalay) by her father.11[11] Immediately, Luminada reported the matter to the school principal who, in turn, relayed the same to their Barangay Chairman. On September 30, 1996, a meeting was held among the Barangay Chairman, the school principal, and appellants brother, Feliciano Dalisay, who all conferred with

4[4]

Id. at 14. Id. at 16. Id. at 17. Id. at 5-6, 16, 18. Id. at 15-18. Id. at 7. Id. at 13. TSN, July 29, 1997 at 4.

5[5]

6[6]

7[7]

8[8] 1[1] 9[9] 2[2]

Rollo at 5.
10[10]

3[3]

Transcript of Stenographic Notes (TSN), July 8, 1997 at 7.


11[11]

Lanie12[12] and decided to bring her to the Mabini Police Station where she executed an affidavit on the incident.13[13] Incidentally, Lanies sister, Luz, also filed a complaint for acts of lasciviousness against appellant. Both sisters were brought to the Lingap Center of Mabini for temporary custody pending the resolution of their cases.14[14] Lucila Bacay, a Social Worker at Mabini, testified that on October 4, 1996, she interviewed the appellant and he admitted that he raped Lanie. He explained though that he could not understand why he did it to his own daughter.15[15] For his part, appellant denied the charge, claiming that his wifes relatives instigated Lanie to file the complaint against him because they wanted to take from him the custody of his children which he resented.16[16] Dr. Emma Panaligan, Medico-Legal Officer of the Batangas Regional Hospital, testified that on September 30, 1996, she examined Lanie after the latter complained that she was raped by the appellant. She confirmed her Medico-Legal Certificate dated October 2, 1996,17[17] stating that Lanies external genitalia is infantile and has a non-gaping labia majora; that her hymen is intact, and no sperm cell was seen during the examination.18[18] She explained that the normal size of the penis of an adult person could not fully penetrate Lanies vagina considering the small size and the condition of her external genitalia.19[19]

On May 5, 1998, the trial court rendered the assailed Decision convicting appellant of statutory rape, the dispositive portion of which reads: Premises considered and upon the evidence, accused Ruben Dalisay y Hernandez is found Guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Statutory Rape as charged in the criminal complaint filed by her minor daughter Ma. Lanie Dalisay and defined and penalized under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659. Wherefore, he is sentenced to suffer the capital punishment of Death to be made and exacted in the manner provided for under existing law which is by lethal injection. He is further directed to indemnify complainant Ma. Lanie Dalisay with the sum of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00) as moral and exemplary damages and to pay the costs. SO ORDERED.20[20] Hence, this automatic review. In his brief, appellant claims that the trial court erred: I x x x in giving full weight and credence to private complainants testimony, which is insufficient to establish the commission of the offense by the appellant; and II

12[12]

Id. at 5-6, 9. RTC Records at 9. Id. at 88-91. TSN, July 29, 1997 at 15. Id., January 27, 1998 at 4. Exhibit I, RTC Records at 118. TSN, October 20, 1997 at 15-16. Id. at 17.

x x x in failing to appreciate in appellants favor the testimony of Dr. Emma Panaligan who physically examined the private complainant. The trial court convicted appellant of statutory rape because he had carnal knowledge of Lanie who was below 12 years of age when the crime was committed. The law governing the instant case is Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659,21[21] which partly provides:

13[13]

14[14]

15[15]

16[16]

17[17]

20[20]

Rollo at 11.

18[18]

19[19]

An Act To Impose The Death Penalty On Certain Heinous Crimes, Amending For That Purpose The Revised Penal Code, As Amended, Other Special Penal Laws, And For Other Purposes.
21[21]

Article 335. When and how rape is committed. Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances: 1. By using force or intimidation; 2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and 3. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented. The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua. x x x Based on the above-quoted provisions, the essential elements of statutory rape are: (1) the offender had carnal knowledge of a woman; and (2) the woman is below 12 years of age.22[22] The trial court found Lanies testimony credible and trustworthy, thus:

Indeed, Lanies testimony has sufficiently and convincingly proved that appellant had carnal knowledge of her on the night in question. Her candid and straightforward testimony, punctuated by her tears when she narrated how she was sexually ravished by her very own father, are earmarks of a truthful witness and thus, must be given full faith and credit.25[25] Lanie described how appellant raped her, thus: Q: Now, on September 26, 1996 in the evening while you were in bed, do you remember if there was anything done to you by your father? A: Q: A: Q: A: He inserted his organ to my organ, sir. And, that was inside your house? Yes, sir. And, where is your house located at that time? At Barangay Pulong Anahao, Mabini, Batangas, sir.

x x x suffice it to state that the demeanor of the complainant, Ma. Lanie Dalisay, as she gave her testimony has led this court to give her utmost credibility. She was barely eleven years of age and the manner by which she courageously gave evidence to what her father had done to her showed no taint whatsoever that she was not telling the truth. Her tears which flowed from her eyes as she narrated the gift from hell which her father gave her on the very night of her birthday accentuated the truth of her unfortunate and devilish ordeal x x x.23[23] In a prosecution for rape, the complainants credibility becomes the single most important issue, and when her testimony satisfies the test of credibility, an accused may be convicted solely on the basis thereof.24[24]

Q: Now, before your father was inserting his private organ to you, were you wearing any underwear? A: Q: A: Q: A: None, sir. Why? Because he removed it first, sir. How about your pants, did you wear your pants at that time? Yes sir, but it was also removed by my father. Now, was the place where you were undressed by your father lighted? It was dark, sir.

People vs. Gerry Libeta y Torre, G.R. No. 139231, April 12, 2002; People vs. Ronnie Rullepa y Guinto, G.R. No. 131516, March 5, 2003, citing People vs. Bato, G.R. No. 134939, February 16, 2000, 325 SCRA 671.
22[22] 23[23]

Q: A:

Rollo at 14. People vs. Melchor Estomaca, G.R. Nos. 134288-89, January 15, 2002.
25[25]

People vs. Agustin, G.R. Nos. 132524-25, September 24, 2001, 365 SCRA 667.
24[24]

Q: And, how did you know that the private organ of your father was being inserted in you? A: Q: A: Q: A: Q: A: Because my father asked me to hold his organ, sir. Did you hold his organ when he told you that? Yes, sir.

May we request to put on record that when the witness answered natatakot po ako, she was teary eyed, Your Honor. xxx Q: And was this the first time that your father inserted his penis to you on September 26, 1996, or was there any other incident? A: There were other times, sir. And previous to this incident, how many times if you can recall? What I estimated was seventeen (17) times, sir. And, since when did he first do this to you? When I was still in grade 3, sir.

And, after it was held by you, what did he do next? Q: He touched also my organ, sir. A: And, what else did he do, if any? Q: After touching my private organ he licked it (nilawayan at hinimud). A:

PROS. JUDIT: COURT: May we request that the Tagalog answer of the witness be incorporated to the record. Q: A: Q: A: Q: A: Q: A: Q: A: After doing that (nilawayan at hinimud), what else did he do? He inserted his organ into my organ, sir. Was his private part able to penetrate yours? In the entrance, sir. And what did you feel when his private organ was inserted to you? ATTY. ASILO: It was painful, sir. Did you complain to your father? I cannot complain, sir. Why? Because Im afraid (natatakot po ako), sir.
26[26]

Do you mean to say when you were still in grade 3 your father had already inserted his penis to your organ? A: Yes, Your Honor.26[26] (Emphasis ours)

Upon cross-examination, Lanie remained steadfast in her story that appellant sexually ravished her against her will on the night in question. On Cross-examination:

Q: Was there somebody else who told you to file this instant case against your father? A: None, sir.

COURT:

PROS. JUDIT:

TSN, July 8, 1997 at 5-8.

You are saying that the filing of this case against your father was of your own initiative? A: Yes, sir.

Q: And, is it correct that your father told you to hold his private organ before he inserted the same to your private organ? A: Q: A: thigh. Yes, sir. And did you obey your father? Yes, sir. I followed him because if not he will again box me on my

ATTY. ASILO: Q: You were lying down while your father was inserting his private organ to your private organ? A: Yes, sir.

Q: But you stated that your father had inserted his penis slightly to your private organ? A: The tip of his private organ was inserted in my private organ, sir.

Q: And what was the relative position of your father when he was inserting his private organ to your private organ? A: He was kneeling down, sir.

Q: And, your father was moving while the tip of his organ was inside your private organ, is that correct? A: Yes, sir.

COURT: Did he say anything to you before he inserted his penis to your organ? A: None, sir. Q: And could you describe before this Honorable Court the movement of your father while the tip of his organ was penetrating your private organ? A: Q: A: A: Yes, sir. Q: And, when your father was inserting his private organ to your organ you were still holding his penis, is that correct? A: A: It was my father who was trying to remove my pants and panty and I tried to pull them up and resisted. Q: But despite your resistance your father was able to remove your pants and panty? A: Yes, sir. My father was able to remove my pants and panty because he boxed me on my thigh. Yes, sir. I was holding his penis because I was trying to pull it out. Siya po ay nakanyog, sir. For how long did your father remain in that movement? Quite long, sir.

ATTY. ASILO: Q: But before he inserted his penis to your private organ, you stated that your father told you to undress yourself?

Q: Was it your father who undressed you or you undressed yourself when told by your father?

Q: And, was there something which came out from the penis of your father while the same was inserted in your private organ? A: Yes, sir.

Q: And could you tell to this Honorable Court what was that something which came out from your fathers private organ. A: It was something sticky, sir.

Q: Did it come out while his private organ was being inserted or while the same was outside your private organ? A: When that sticky thing came out, his private organ was outside mine and then he removed it, sir. COURT: After that, what happened? A: xxx On Re-cross examination: Q: And you still maintain your answer that nobody among your relatives from the mother side asked you or initiated you to file this case against your father because of personal grudge against him? A: No, sir. It was my own decision that this case was filed against my father.28[28] (Emphasis ours) Lanie was fully aware that if her father would be convicted of the crime charged, he would be sentenced to death. Yet, she remained firm in her testimony and wanted him to be penalized with death, thus: COURT: Do you know the gravity of the offense charged to your father? A: Q: death? A: Yes, sir. Do you know that if your father is found guilty he might be sentenced to He stopped, sir.27[27]

Q: A:

Do you want your father to die? Yes, sir.29[29]

Certainly, such statements could only be expressed by an aggrieved daughter who values the sanctity of her womanhood more than the life of his father. We have held that a rape victims testimony is entitled to great weight especially when she accuses her own father or a close relative of having ravished her.30[30] For there can be ascribed no greater motivation for a woman abused by her own kin than that innate yearning of the human spirit to declare the truth to obtain justice.31[31] Appellant would like us to believe that Lanies charge against him was instigated by his parents-in-law who want to have the custody of his children. We are not swayed by appellants bare claim. We find no reason to disturb the lower courts finding that Lanies story is credible. It is inconceivable that she would falsely testify against her own father if the charge were not true. Rape is not an ordinary crime that can easily be manufactured.32[32] When a victim says she was raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that the crime was committed. Not a few offenders in rape cases attributed the charges brought against them to family feuds, resentment or revenge, but such alleged motives cannot prevail over the positive and credible testimonies of complainants who remained steadfast throughout the trial.33[33]

29[29]

Id. at 15.

People vs. Sagarino, G.R. Nos. 135356-58, September 4, 2001, 364 SCRA 438, citing People vs. Razonable, G.R. Nos. 128085-87, April 12, 2000, 330 SCRA 562, 572; People vs. Sevilla, 377 Phil. 933 (1999); People vs. Catoltol, Sr., 332 Phil. 883 (1996).
30[30]

Yes, sir.

People vs. Sagarino, id., citing People vs. Francisco, 328 Phil. 64 (1996); People vs. Bernabe, G.R. No. 141881, November 21, 2001, 370 SCRA 142, citing People vs. Sacapao, G.R. No. 130525, September 3, 1999, 313 SCRA 650; People vs. Buenviaje, G.R. No. 130949, April 4, 2001, 356 SCRA 238.
31[31] 32[32]

27[27]

TSN, July 8, 1997 at 18. Id. at 20.

People vs. Flores, G.R. Nos. 134488-89, January 25, 2002.

28[28]

People vs. Salalima, G.R. Nos. 137969-71, August 15, 2001, 363 SCRA 193.
33[33]

Moreover, appellant contends that since Lanies hymen is intact and that there was no spermatozoa in her genitalia34[34] when Dr. Emma Panaligan examined her on September 30, 1997, he could not have committed the crime. We disagree. It was sufficiently and convincingly established by the prosecution that appellant had carnal knowledge of Lanie against her will, as clearly shown by her testimony quoted earlier. The presence of either hymenal laceration or spermatozoa on Lanies private part is not an essential element of rape.35[35] In People vs. Parcia,36[36] we held that the absence of sperm does not disprove the charge of rape. Likewise, in People vs. Regala,37[37] we ruled that an intact hymen does not necessarily prove absence of sexual intercourse. Similarly, in People vs. Rafales,38[38] we declared: x x x. For rape to be committed, entrance of the male organ within the labia or pudendum of the female organ is sufficient. Rupture of the hymen or laceration of the vagina are not essential. Entry to the least extent of the labia or the lips of the female organ is sufficient, the victim remaining virgin does not negate rape. As testified to by Lanie, the tip of appellants penis was inserted39[39] into her vagina,40[40] as a result of which she felt pain. In other words, there was no full penetration, and this explains why her hymen remained intact. Nonetheless, carnal knowledge was consummated by the entry of the tip of appellants private organ into the labia or pudendum of Lanies genitalia.41[41] It is well-settled that
34[34]

full penetration is not required to consummate carnal knowledge, as proof of entrance showing the slightest penetration of the male organ within the labia or pudendum of the female organ is sufficient.42[42] We now come to the second element of statutory rape, i.e., that the woman is under 12 years of age. In People vs. Pruna,43[43] we specified the guidelines in determining the sufficiency of evidence of the victims age as an element of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance, thus: 1. The best evidence to prove the age of the offended party is an original or certified true copy of the certificate of live birth of such party. 2. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, similar authentic documents such as baptismal certificate and school records which show the date of birth of the victim would suffice to prove age. 3. If the certificate of live birth or authentic document is shown to have been lost or destroyed or otherwise unavailable, the testimony, if clear and credible, of the victims mother or a member of the family either by affinity or consanguinity who is qualified to testify on matters respecting pedigree such as the exact age or date of birth of the offended party pursuant to Section 40, Rule 130 of the Rules on Evidence shall be sufficient under the following circumstances: a. If the victim is alleged to be below 3 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than 7 years old; b. If the victim is alleged to be below 7 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than 12 years old; c. If the victim is alleged to be below 12 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than 18 years old. 4. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, authentic document, or the testimony of the victims mother or relatives concerning the victims age, the complainants testimony will suffice provided that it is expressly and clearly admitted by the accused.

Records at 11.

People vs. Parcia, G.R. No. 141136, January 28, 2002; People vs. Regala, G.R. No. 140995, August 30, 2001, 364 SCRA 134; People vs. Bismonte, G.R. No. 139563, November 22, 2001, 370 SCRA 305.
35[35] 36[36]

Id. Id. G.R. No. 133477, January 21, 2000, 323 SCRA 13. TSN, July 8, 1997 at 17. Id. at 6.

37[37]

38[38]

39[39]

40[40]

42[42]

People vs. Bernabe, supra. G.R. No. 138471, October 10, 2002.

People vs. Gerry Libeta y Torre, supra, citing People vs. Campuhan, G.R. No. 129433, March 30, 2000, 329 SCRA 270.
41[41]

43[43]

5. It is the prosecution that has the burden of proving the age of the offended party. The failure of the accused to object to the testimonial evidence regarding age shall not be taken against him. 6. The trial court should always make a categorical finding as to age of the victim. (Emphasis ours) In the present case, the trial court made the following finding: From the evidence of both parties, the following facts appear to be uncontroverted, to wit: (a) That the complainant is an eleven year-old Grade V student and the eldest daughter of the accused. x x x44[44] Such finding as to Lanies age is erroneous since it is based solely on Lanies testimony that she was 11 years old when appellant raped her on September 26, 1996.45[45] In Pruna, cited earlier, we held that the best evidence to prove Lanies age is the original or certified true copy of her certificate of live birth, or, in its absence, an authentic baptismal certificate or school records showing her age. However, the prosecution failed to present any of such documents. Neither was it shown that they were lost, destroyed or unavailable at the time of the trial. Also, the prosecution did not present Lanies mother or relatives to testify concerning her age. Lanies testimony alone is not sufficient to prove her actual age considering that appellant did not expressly and clearly admit the same as required in Pruna. And the fact that there was no objection from the defense regarding the victims age could not be taken against him since it is the prosecution that has the burden of proving her age. In view of the failure of the prosecution to prove Lanies age as alleged in the information, we hold that appellant cannot be convicted of statutory rape. Nonetheless, he should be convicted of simple rape under paragraph 1 of Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, quoted earlier, and sentenced accordingly to reclusion perpetua, considering that he had carnal knowledge of Lanie through force or intimidation. She testified that she was afraid of the appellant and succumbed to his bestial desires because he boxed her on her thigh.

The damages awarded by the trial court in favor of the complainant must be corrected. We have consistently ruled that upon a finding of the fact of rape, the award of civil indemnity is mandatory. If the death penalty is imposed, the indemnity ex delicto should be P75,000.00. Where, as here, the death penalty is not decreed, the victim should be entitled to P50,000.00 only.46[46] In line with current jurisprudence, moral damages is fixed at P50,000.00 without need of pleading or proof of basis therefor.47[47] In addition, exemplary damages of P25,000.00 is awarded to deter fathers with aberrant sexual behavior.48[48] WHEREFORE, the Decision dated May 5, 1998, of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 4, Batangas City, in Criminal Case No. 8776, is hereby MODIFIED in the sense that appellant RUBEN DALISAY Y HERNANDEZ is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of simple rape, and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the victim Ma. Lanie Dalisay P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages, and P25,000.00 as exemplary damages. Costs de oficio. SO ORDERED. Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Azcuna, and Tinga, JJ., concur. Callejo, Sr., J., on leave.

FIRST DIVISION

People vs. Armando Tagud, Sr, G.R. No. 140733, January 30, 2002, citing People vs. Poado, 370 Phil. 558 (1999); People vs. Maglente, 366 Phil. 221 (1999); People vs. Olarte, G.R. Nos. 12953031, September 24, 2001, 365 SCRA 635; People vs. Elpedes, G.R. Nos. 137106-07, January 31, 2001, 350 SCRA 716.
46[46] 47[47]

44[44]

Rollo at 12. TSN, July 8, 1997 at 7.

People vs. Salalima, supra; People vs. Agustin, supra. People vs. Docena, 379 Phil. 903 (2000).

45[45]

48[48]

[G.R. No. 126113. June 25, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. ANTONIO GUIHAMA y BARANDA, appellant. DECISION AZCUNA, J.: This is an appeal from the decision49[1] of the Regional Trial Court of Pangasinan, Branch 38, in Criminal Case No. 40460, entitled People of the Philippines v. Antonio Guihama y Baranda. The trial court found appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape with homicide committed against his sister-inlaw, Merly Jaminadan.50[2] On May 14, 1993, an information was filed against appellant as follows:51[3] That on or about the 27th day of March, 1993, in the City of Iloilo, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Court, said accused, armed with a knife, by means of violence and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of Merly Jaminadan against her will, and by reason or on occasion thereof, with intent to kill, hit and wound Merly Jaminadan with the knife he was then provided at the time, thus causing upon said Merly Jaminadan various injuries on the vital parts of her body which caused her death. Appellant pleaded not guilty to the information and trial ensued.52[4] The Prosecutions Evidence A total of ten witnesses were presented by the prosecution, namely: Merlinda Cahilig Pakulaba, Angelita Jaminadan, Mary Ann Aranas, Dr. Tito Doromal,

Fernando Jaculina, and police officers Andres Magnitico, Evan Deramas, Rene Lauron, Cornelio Lopez and Rely Liza. Merlinda Cahilig Pakulaba (Pakulaba) is the older half-sister of Merly Jaminadan (Merly) on her mothers side and is, consequently, also appellants sister-inlaw.53[5] Pakulaba testified54[6] that on March 27, 1993, at about 6:30 p.m., she was on her way home and walking on top of a dike in San Isidro, Tabuc Suba, Jaro, Iloilo City when she came across her husband and appellant talking with each other. Pakulaba invited her husband and appellant to go home with her. Pakulabas husband went with her while appellant was left behind because, according to him, he was waiting for someone. As they left, appellant made a comment that Merly is very much loved by her mother and laughed out loud as if insinuating something. Pakulaba later asked her husband what they talked about and her husband said that appellant had asked him whether Merly would be going home early. Pakulabas house is located just 1 meter away from her mothers house, where Merly was also residing. Pakulaba testified that upon getting home, she and her husband prepared dinner. Pakulaba saw from her house Merly arrive at her mothers house at around 7:00 p.m. However, Merly did not stay long. Pakulaba heard their younger brother tell Merly to go to appellants house as instructed by their mother, who was already there taking care of appellants children. Pakulaba then saw Merly leave for appellants house, which is about 150 meters away from their house. Later that evening, their mother arrived and asked where Merly was. Their younger brother informed her that Merly had already left. Their mother then assumed that they must have missed each other on the way and that Merly decided to sleep in the house of appellant. The following morning, a child came to the house bringing a pair of slippers belonging to Merly. The child said he found the slippers on the pathway near some banana plants. Pakulaba felt nervous and immediately went to where the slippers were found. It was then that she discovered the lifeless and naked body of Merly. The victim had multiple wounds on the body and was covered in blood. Pakulaba immediately screamed for help. When investigated by the police, Pakulaba declared that she suspected appellant as the assailant because of the comment he made, the day before, about Merly being loved by their mother very much. Pakulaba also told the police that Merly and

49[1]

Rollo, p. 52. The records also refer to the victim as Merle. Rollo, p. 10.

50[2]

51[3]

53[5]

TSN, February 14, 1995, p. 23. Id., pp. 3-14.

Certificate of Arraignment, Records, p. 10; Order dated June 7, 1993, Records, p. 13.
52[4]

54[6]

appellant had previously quarreled because appellant kept watching Merlys whereabouts. Angelita Jaminadan (Jaminadan), Merlys mother, testified55[7] that on March 27, 1993, she went to appellants house at around 7:00 a.m. to take care of appellants children and do the housekeeping chores. Appellant and his wife were also in the house with Jaminadan. While thereat, appellant requested Jaminadan to have Merly come to his house as he and his wife will be eating out. At around 5:00 p.m., Jaminadan went to her house to leave a message for Merly, that she should go to appellants house as soon as she comes home. Jaminadan came back to appellants house at around 5:30 p.m. Appellant was gone by that time. Jaminadan went home at around 8:00 p.m. When she got home, she asked her husband why Merly did not go to appellants house. Her husband answered that Merly had already left. The following morning, a child came to their house saying that he saw a pair of slippers belonging to Merly. Jaminadan instructed Pakulaba to go with the child to where he saw the slippers. Moments later she heard Pakulaba shouting. Jaminadan immediately went to where Pakulaba was and saw the body of Merly lying slightly on her belly with no clothing below the waist. She also noticed semen scattered on Merlys buttocks and that her throat was severed. After seeing Merlys body, Jaminadan fainted. Jaminadan further testified that four days before Merlys death, the latter had complained to her that appellant kept watching or following her at the place where she worked. Fernando Jaculina (Jaculina) testified56[8] that on March 27, 1993, at about 7:30 p.m., while he was on his way home, he saw appellant and Merly together. He observed that appellant was holding the hands of Merly and was pulling and dragging her towards a tomato plantation. He knew appellant and Merly as both were residents of Barangay San Isidro. Although it was already dark, Jaculina said that he was able to identify them because there was light coming from a lamp post 50 meters away. Jaculina said that he did not mind them because he knew that appellant and Merly were in-laws and assumed that they were just having some family problem.

Andres Magnitico (Magnitico) was one of the policemen who first arrived at the crime scene. He testified57[9] that on March 28, 1993, at around 7:00 a.m., the police received a report about a cadaver of a woman found in Tabuc Suba, Jaro, Iloilo City. Magnitico, along with Lauron, Deremas and Peciente, immediately proceeded to the reported location of the body. At the crime scene, the police team first saw the victims bloodied body with a bloody panty beside it. They surveyed the surrounding areas to look for evidence and found a bloody Batangueo knife about 10 meters away from the body. They also gathered information from people living in the nearby houses and learned that appellant was interested in the victim. They thus went to appellants house, which was just 100 to 150 meters from the crime scene. Only appellants wife was home, who told them that appellant left early that morning to drive a jeepney. A search for appellant then commenced. Checkpoints were set up, but these yielded negative results. The policemen then decided to return to appellants house. Upon reaching the house, the policemen noticed for the first time blood on the stairways that had already dried up. They also found appellant already inside the house with his left hand bandaged. The policemen asked him if he could help them identify the assailant of his sister-in-law. When appellant refused to cooperate, they invited him to the police headquarters. At the police headquarters, the policemen questioned appellant about his injured hand. Appellant answered that his hand was struck by the hood of a jeepney he was driving. Police Officer Cornelio Lopez then took over in the interrogation. It was to him that appellant admitted killing the victim. Having obtained an oral confession, the policemen and appellant returned to the latters house where appellant surrendered a bloody kitchen knife, his pair of bloody slippers and his brief. Magniticos fellow policemen, Evan Deramas and Rene Lauron, corroborated his testimony.58[10] Cornelio Lopez (Lopez) took the witness stand and testified59[11] that appellant had confessed to him that he killed Merly. Thereafter, he asked appellant about the murder weapon and appellant said that it was in his house. Because of appellants confession he sent a team of policemen to the house of appellant. When the policemen came back, they brought with them a bloody knife, a brief and a pair of
57[9]

TSN, August 22, 1994, pp. 4-16. Decision, p. 4; Rollo, p. 36. TSN, December 19, 1994, pp. 4-7.

55[7]

TSN, March 7, 1995, pp. 4-12. TSN, November 25, 1994, pp. 3-7.

58[10]

56[8]

59[11]

slippers. Upon being shown these items, appellant confirmed that the kitchen knife was the weapon he used in killing Merly and that the brief and slippers were what he wore when he committed the crime. Rely Liza was presented by the prosecution simply to identify a police blotter which contained two entries: Pakulabas report of the crime to the police and the arrest of appellant.60[12] Mary Ann Aranas (Aranas) a forensic chemist of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) testified61[13] that her office received an endorsement from the Jaro Police Station in Iloilo City, requesting a blood typing of the blood found on the recovered panty, fan knife, brief, kitchen knife and slippers. Aranas said that the test conducted on the panty, fan knife and slippers showed that the blood found thereon was human, while the brief and kitchen knife proved positive for the presence of blood, but due to the insufficiency of the sample, it could not be determined if it was human or not. In addition, Aranas testified that the NBI also received from the Jaro Police Station specimen taken from the victims vagina and fingernails. The specimen tested positive for the presence of seminal stains and human tissues. Dr. Tito Doromal testified62[14] that he conducted the autopsy on Merlys body at 10:45 a.m. on March 28, 1993. His findings were that Merly died of asphyxia by suffocation, secondary to stab wounds. He also placed the time of death at around 14 to 16 hours prior to the autopsy. The Defenses Evidence Appellant anchors his defense on denial and alibi. In his testimony,63[15] appellant claimed that on March 27, 1993, he was on his way home with Romeo Baterna whom he met at the Jaro Plaza. Romeo Baterna accompanied appellant to his house because the former wanted to borrow appellants jeepney the following week and needed to know where appellant lives. Along the way, near the small market, they met Hipolito Villegas. Appellant and Romeo Baterna arrived in appellants house at

about 7:00 a.m. Romeo Baterna stayed only for a few minutes and then left, while appellant stayed home and never left until 5:00 a.m. the next morning. Appellant stated that at 5:00 a.m., he went to his fathers house to drive his jeepney. While trying to start the engine appellant saw a loose bolt and tried to tighten it. His finger hit a sharp object in the process and was injured. Because of the wound, he decided not to drive anymore and instead went to the hospital for treatment. From the hospital, appellant headed home. Appellant recalled arriving home by 10:00 a.m. While resting thereat, policemen came and began searching the house. One of the policemen told him that he was being arrested. Appellant said that the policemen took something from his house but could not tell what it was because it was wrapped. After the search, he was brought to the police station. Appellant denied committing the crime charged. He also denied having met Pakulaba and her husband in the evening of March 27, 1993 and that he orally confessed to the police. He also asserted that Jaculinas testimony, that he was seen pulling and dragging Merly, is a mere fabrication. Appellant further claimed that his wifes family resents him because they think he is lazy and a lowly jeepney driver, while his wife is an educated person. Elnora Cahilig64[16] Guihama (Nene),65[17] wife of appellant, testified66[18] that on March 27, 1993, appellant left the house at 5:00 a.m. and returned at around 2:00 p.m. After resting for an hour, appellant departed for the repair shop where his jeepney was being repaired. Appellant returned at 5:00 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., Nenes mother arrived. Shortly after that, appellant went out again. At around past 7:00 p.m., Nenes mother went home. After a while, appellant returned, this time accompanied by Romeo Baterna. Romeo Baterna left a few minutes later, while appellant stayed home and did not leave anymore. Nene said that appellant left the house the next morning at around 5:00 a.m. to drive his jeepney. At around 7:00 a.m., she received information that Merly had died. Later, her sister and brother-in-law came to their house looking for appellant. Policemen came afterwards also looking for appellant. Nene claimed that the policemen went to the kitchen and took a knife and a brief.

60[12]

TSN, January 23, 1995, p. 8. TSN, July 5, 1993, pp. 4-17. TSN, July 30, 1993, pp. 11-13. TSN, August 18, 1995, pp. 5-29.
64[16]

61[13]

Cajilig in the TSN. Nickname given by her mother, TSN, March 7, 1995, p. 20. TSN, June 5, 1995, pp 4-19.

62[14]

65[17]

63[15]

66[18]

Nene also testified that her family does not like appellant and objected to their marriage. Hipolito Guihama Villegas testified67[19] that he came across appellant on March 27, 1993 at around 6:30 p.m. in the market place. He said appellant had a companion whom he did not recognize. He further declared that he was also with appellant the following day when appellant injured his finger while testing the motor of his jeepney. Romeo Baterna in his testimony68[20] corroborated appellants claim that he accompanied appellant to his house on March 27, 1993. After considering all the evidence presented, the trial court found appellant guilty in the aforementioned decision that has the following dispositive portion:69[21] WHEREFORE, the court finds the accused, Antonio Guihama y Baranda, guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of Rape with Homicide penalized under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code as amended and sentences him to suffer a penalty of Reclusion Perpetua and to pay the heirs of Merle Jaminadan the sum of P6,800.00 as actual damages and P50,000.00 as civil indemnity by reason of her death. The Courts Ruling Appellants conviction was based on circumstantial evidence. The trial court barred the admissibility of appellants alleged oral confession as well as the evidence said to have been recovered in his house, i.e., the bloody kitchen knife, brief and slippers, declaring all of these to have been obtained in violation of the constitutional rights of appellant. Regardless of said exclusion, however, the trial court found enough circumstantial evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of appellant. The appeal rests largely on appellants contention that the alleged circumstantial evidence is insufficient to convict him. Appellant primarily targets the testimonies of Pakulaba and Jaculina, claiming that these were inconsistent and not in conformity with normal human reaction and experience.

Appellant specifically raises two arguments against the testimony of Pakulaba. The first is that, while Pakulaba testified that she saw appellant on the dike at around 6:30 p.m. on March 27, 1993 waiting for someone, it was not disclosed who appellant was waiting for. Hence, it cannot be concluded that appellant was waiting for the victim. The second argument is directed at Pakulabas credibility. Appellant contends that Pakulabas testimony, declaring that she suspected appellant from the beginning, is inconsistent with her report to the police wherein, instead of mentioning the name of appellant as a suspect, she stated that Merly was raped by a unknown person or persons.70[22] Both arguments are ineffective. The first is erroneous because the trial court, in the first place, did not draw any conclusion from the testimony of Pakulaba that appellant waited for Merly at the dike. The testimony of Pakulaba was simply to establish the presence of appellant at the dike at that particular time, and nothing more. As to the second argument, Pakulabas failure to implicate appellant in her initial report to the police should not be taken against her. Pakulaba was not an eyewitness to the crime and suspected appellant only because of their conversation on the dike. Consequently, she could not be expected to accuse appellant before the police. Appellant contends that Jaculinas testimony is fabricated, based on the following reasons: 1. Jaculina said that when he saw appellant dragging and pulling Merly there were several houses nearby. Thus, it is highly improbable that appellant would commit a crime in such a populated area. 2. Jaculina testified that the nearest light post from where he, appellant and Merly were situated was about 50 meters away. Thus, there was no sufficient lighting for him actually to see appellant and Merly. 3. Assuming Jaculina did witness appellant pulling and dragging Merly, it is contrary to human experience for Jaculina not to report immediately the incident to the family of Merly who lived nearby. 4. After learning that Merly had been raped and killed, Jaculina did not immediately report to the police what he saw that night.

67[19]

TSN, June 16, 1995, pp. 3-15. TSN, August 21, 1995, pp. 5-10. Rollo, pp. 50-51.

We are not convinced by these reasons.

68[20]

69[21]

70[22]

Police blotter, Exhibit T and 1, Records, p. 409.

The presence of several houses near the place where Jaculina saw appellant pulling and dragging Merly is no indication that said incident never happened. We have held, time and again, that rape can be committed even in places where people congregate, in parks, along the roadside, in school premises, in a house where there are other occupants, in the same room where other members of the family are also sleeping and even in places which to many would appear unlikely and high risk venues for its commission. Lust is no respecter of time and place.71[23] Indeed, the mere fact that Merly had been raped and killed in such a location without anyone knowing about it until the next day is enough to disprove appellants point. Neither are we persuaded by the argument that there was not enough lighting for Jaculina to effectively see appellant pulling and dragging Merly because the nearest lamp post was 50 meters away. Jaculina testified that he was only 5 meters away from appellant and Merly. From that distance, and facilitated by the fact that the witness was already acquainted with appellant and Merly, there would have been no difficulty in identifying the two. Once a person has gained familiarity with another, identification becomes quite an easy task even from a considerable distance.72[24] Jaculinas failure immediately to inform the family of Merly about the incident he witnessed was adequately explained. Knowing that the two were in-laws, Jaculina assumed that he witnessed a mere family problem and deemed it best not to get involved. His delay in reporting the incident to the police is also understandable. The initial reluctance of witnesses and their willingness to be involved in criminal investigations are common and have been declared not to affect credibility.73[25] Moreover, contrary to appellants claim that it was months after the incident that Jaculina came out in the open, records show that Jaculinas sworn statement74[26] was submitted to the Office of the City Prosecutor for Iloilo City just two weeks after the incident. In the end the rule is settled that where the culpability or innocence of the accused hinges on the credibility of the witnesses and the veracity of their testimonies, the findings of trial courts are given the highest degree of respect. Hence, their findings on such matters are binding and conclusive on appellate courts, unless some fact or circumstance of weight and substance has been overlooked, misapprehended or

misinterpreted.75[27] In the case at bar, none of the above arguments raised by appellant presents any compelling reason for us to disregard the factual findings of the trial court. Having settled the issues on the credibility of the witnesses, we now determine whether the circumstantial evidence, taken as a whole, is sufficient to convict appellant. Direct evidence of the commission of a crime is not the only matrix from which a trial court may draw its conclusion and finding of guilt.76[28] In rape with homicide, the evidence against the accused is usually circumstantial. The nature of the crime, where only the victim and the rapist would have been around during its commission makes the prosecution of the offense particularly difficult since the victim could no longer testify against the perpetrator. Thus, resorting to circumstantial evidence is almost always inevitable and to demand direct evidence to prove in such instance the modality of the offense and the identity of the perpetrator would be unreasonable.77[29] The rules on evidence and precedents to sustain the conviction of an accused through circumstantial evidence require the presence of the following requisites: 1) there are more than one circumstance; 2) the inference must be based on proven facts; and 3) the combination of all circumstances produces a conviction beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused.78[30] We have affirmed a number of convictions for rape with homicide based on purely circumstantial evidence. In People v. Develles,79[31] the body of the victim was found in a river under waist-deep water. Prior to that, the accused therein was seen by witnesses talking to the victim by the river bank. He was also seen holding the victim by the hands, presumably to detain her or prevent her from leaving. The autopsy revealed the victim was raped and killed by a full grown adult and that the

People v. Basquez, G.R. No. 144035, September 27, 2001; People v. Jaberto, 307 SCRA 93 (1999); People v. Deleverio, 289 SCRA 547 (1998).
75[27] 76[28]

71[23]

People v. Estomaca, G.R. Nos. 134288-89, January 15, 2002. People v. Reyes, 309 SCRA 672 (1999). People v. Competente, 207 SCRA 591 (1992). Exhibit S, Records, p. 408.

People v. Gallarde, 325 SCRA 835 (2000). People v. Rayos, 351 SCRA 336 (2001). People v. Mendez, G.R. No. 147671, November 21, 2002. 208 SCRA 101 (1992).

72[24]

77[29]

73[25]

78[30]

74[26]

79[31]

time of death was just minutes after the accused and the victim were last seen talking to each other. In People v. Magana,80[32] one witness testified that he saw the accused therein strangling the victim. Two other witnesses testified that they also saw the accused very near the place where the victims body was found looking uneasy, walking back and forth as if waiting for somebody. The autopsy conducted on the victim estimated her time of death to be at about the time the three witnesses saw the accused. Also, the victims mother testified that her daughter told her one week prior to the incident that the accused would always look at her in a "bad way" whenever they met. We affirmed the conviction of the accused. In a more recent case entitled People v. Corfin,81[33] we upheld the conviction of the accused based on the following circumstances: 1) the accused was the last person seen with the victim; 2) said accused and the victim were seen together near the dry creek; 3) the accused was seen leaving said place alone; and 4) the body of the victim was found in the dry creek. Going back to this case, the trial court enumerated no less than seven pieces of circumstantial evidence against appellant. We quote in full the relevant portion of the assailed decision: In the instant case, the prosecution was able to prove the following circumstances: First, when Merlinda Pakulaba [sic] and her husband left, the accused stayed behind in the irrigation dike purportedly to wait for someone. He commented that the victim is very much loved by her mother and at the same time laughing meaningfully; second, around 7:30 on the evening, Fernando Jaculina saw the accused holding the hands of the victim while dragging her towards the tomato plantation, the very place where the victim was discovered dead the following morning; third, the blood stains were seen by the police on the very step of the stairs of the house of the accused on the very morning after the discovery of the dead body of the victim; fourth, the accused suffered a wound in his left middle finger; fifth, the recovery of a fan knife belonging to the victim near her cadaver suggesting her vehement and violent resistance on the lustful advance of the accused causing the injury on his left middle finger; sixth, the presence of spermatozoa on the buttocks of the victim as seen by her mother after the discovery of her dead body; seventh, Dr. Tito Doromal opined after the necropsy examination he conducted at 10:45 in the morning of March 28, 1993, that the victim died between 14 to 16 hours before he conducted said examination which time jibes with the time after Fernando Jaculina saw the accused forcibly dragging the victim towards the tomato plantation. Certainly these
80[32]

circumstances as gleaned from herein factual findings form an unbroken chain which had a fair and reasonable conclusion pointing to the accused as the perpetrator of the crime. Hence, even disregarding the accused oral confession and consequent discovery of the physical evidence, still the prosecution was able to show the guilt of the accused for the crime charged by means of proof beyond reasonable doubt.82[34] Considering all the circumstances mentioned and in light of previous rulings, we are satisfied that the evidence adduced against appellant constitutes an unbroken chain leading to the one fair and reasonable conclusion that appellant was the perpetrator of the crime. It is doctrinal that the requirement of proof beyond reasonable doubt in criminal law does not mean such a degree of proof as to exclude the possibility of error and produce absolute certainty. Only moral certainty is required or that degree of proof which produces conviction in an unprejudiced mind.83[35] This was sufficiently established in the case at bar. Appellants defense of denial and alibi should be rejected. Alibi is generally considered a weak defense because of the facility with which it can be fabricated. Thus, courts have always looked upon it with suspicion and have received it with caution. For alibi to prevail, the defense must establish by positive, clear and satisfactory proof that it was physically impossible for the accused to have been at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission, and not merely that the accused was somewhere else.84[36] The crime was approximated to have been committed between 6:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. of March 27, 1993. Appellant stated he was inside his house on March 27, 1993 from 7:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. the next day. Appellants house was a mere 150 meters away from the place of the incident. Prior to that, appellant said he was just walking around Tabuc Suba, Jaro, Iloilo City. Clearly, the alleged whereabouts of appellant do not make it impossible for him to be in the place of the incident at the probable time of death.

82[34]

Decision, Rollo, p. 48. People vs. Guarnes, 160 SCRA 522 (1988). People v. Cortes, 226 SCRA 91 (1993).

259 SCRA 380 (1996). G.R. No. 131478, April 11, 2002.

83[35]

81[33]

84[36]

Appellants defense of alibi, therefore, fails. Furthermore, it cannot overcome the positive identification made by Jaculina of appellant pulling and dragging the victim that fatal night.85[37] We now address the civil liability imposed by the trial court. The victims mother, Jaminadan, testified that she spent a total of P6,800 for burial expenses which were supported by receipts.86[38] Jaminadan also presented an itemized list of other burial expenses totaling P23,320.87[39] The trial court awarded only P6,800 as actual damages on the ground that they were the only ones duly supported with receipts. Ordinarily, receipts should support claims of actual damages, but where the defense did not contest the claim, it should also be granted.88[40] We also award damages for loss of earning capacity using the formula laid out in People v. Garcia, et al., as follows:89[41] Age of Victim Life Expectancy = = 21 years old 2/3 (80 age of victim at the

Loss of Earning Capacity

Life Expectancy x (Gross Annual Income Living Expenses) = P236,000

Furthermore, in line with current jurisprudence, we should increase the award of civil indemnity to P100,000 and award moral damages in the amount of P50,000.91[43] The services of a private attorney were also secured to prosecute the case for a fee of P25,000.92[44] We deem it just and equitable that said amount be likewise recovered by the victims heirs under Article 2208 (11) of the Civil Code. WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City, Branch 38, in Criminal Case No. 40460 is hereby AFFIRMED, with modifications as to the damages awarded. Appellant is ordered to pay the heirs of the victim P30,120 as actual damages, P236,000 as loss of earning capacity, P100,000 as civil indemnity, P50,000 as moral damages and P25,000 as attorneys fees. Costs de oficio.

time of death) SO ORDERED. = Gross Annual Income Living Expenses = = 39.33 Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Vitug, Ynares-Santiago, and Carpio, JJ., concur. P12,00090[42] 50% of Gross Annual Income THIRD DIVISION
85[37]

People v. Magana, 259 SCRA 380 (1996). Exhibits W and Y, Records, pp. 413-414. Exhibit X, Records, p. 415. People v. Arellano, 334 SCRA 775 (2000). G.R. No. 145505, March 14, 2003. TSN, March 7, 1995, p. 10.
MENDOZA, J.:
91[43]

[G.R. No. 183132, February 08, 2012] RICHARD CHUA, PETITIONER, VS. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, RESPONDENT. DECISION

86[38]

87[39]

88[40]

89[41]

People v. Maguera, G.R. No. 139906, March 5, 2003. TSN, March 7, 1995, p. 15.

90[42]

92[44]

same had been credited to his account, Chua withdrew them on different dates. [6] This petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 seeks to annul and set aside the February 21, 2008 Decision[1] and June 2, 2008 Resolution[2] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. C.R. No. 29051, modifying the October 6, 2004 Decision [3] of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 132, Makati City (RTC) in Criminal Case No. 21499 entitled People of the Philippines v. Richard Chua, for Estafa thru Falsification of Commercial Document. The Facts: In 1982, Allied Banking Corporation (the bank) hired Richard Chua as a general clerk in its International Banking Division which processed the opening of domestic and international letters of credit, domestic and international remittances as well as importation and exportation. Specifically, Chua was tasked to process trust receipts, accept trust receipt payments and issue the corresponding receipts for these payments.[4] In response to a complaint of a bank client regarding the non- application of his payments, an internal audit was conducted. In the course of the audit, twenty-nine (29) fictitious payments backed by equally bogus foreign remittances were discovered. The audit led to a finding that these remittances were not supported by the necessary authenticated advice from the foreign bank concerned. Two of these remittances were with instructions to credit specified amounts to Savings Account No. 1000-209312 which turned out to be under Chuas name. 1. Inward Foreign Remittance Advice of Credit dated 29 October 1984 in the amount of ?16,729.96: Kindly credit & advi[s]e immediately SA# 1000-209312 of R. CHUA representing proceeds of remittance by order of Amado Roque under TT ref. BKT/1752/25 dated 10-26-84. 2. Inward Foreign Remittance Advice of Credit dated 6 August 1984 in the amount of ?16,024.70: Please credit & advi[s]e immediately SA# 1000-209312 of R. Chua representing proceeds of remittance from San Francisco by order of Linda Castro for US$899.75 @ 17.822 less charges.[5] On December 17, 1985, Chua was charged with Estafa through Falsification of Commercial Documents before the RTC. The Information reads: That on or about May 18, 1984 and October 24, 1984 and for sometime prior to and subsequent thereto, in the Municipality of Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, by means of deceit and false pretenses executed prior to or simultaneous with the commission of the fraud, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud Allied Banking Corporation in the following manner, to wit: the said accused, as General Clerk of the said complainant and taking advantage of his position as such, received from clients of the bank, Unidex Garments and ATL Plastics Manufacturing Industries, the respective sums of P16,024.70 and P16,729.96 for the purpose of applying the same to the payment of the excess indebtedness of said clients with the complainant bank but the accused instead made it appear that said amounts were to be credited to the current account of the client by executing an advice of credit which the said accused, however, did not forward to the Cash Department of the complainant and, instead, he prepared a fictitious inward foreign remittance advice of credit by falsely making it appear therein that there existed dollar remittances of a certain Linda Castro and Amado Roque in the U.S. dollar equivalent of said amounts which the accused credited to his personal account with the bank; and the accused, once in possession of said funds, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously appropriate and convert the same to his own personal use and benefit, to the damage and prejudice of the complainant, Allied Banking Corporation, in the total amount of P32,754.66.[7] Records show that the case was ordered archived on March 31, 1986 when Chua evaded arrest after the courts issuance of an arrest warrant. He was finally arrested on September 10, 1999, after 13 years, but was released on bail the following day. When arraigned, Chua entered a plea of not guilty.[8] For his defense, Chua denied that he prepared the subject Debit Tickets. He insisted on their regularity as these were duly signed and approved by two of his immediate supervisors. Chua likewise denied having prepared the Advice of Credit documents that covered the questioned foreign remittances. He pointed out that these documents were likewise approved for final processing by his supervisors. Finally, he denied having prepared the withdrawal slips, much more, the cash withdrawals corresponding to the subject amounts.[9] In the assailed decision dated October 6, 2004, the RTC found Chua guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of estafa through falsification of commercial documents and was sentenced accordingly.[10] On appeal, the CA modified the RTCs judgment of conviction by holding Chua liable for falsification of commercial documents only. The CA reasoned out that

Meanwhile, the accounts payable or the excess payments made by two clients of the Bank, ATL Plastic Manufacturing Industries and Unidex Garments, were used to cover up the discrepancy created as a result of the crediting of the foregoing amounts to Chuas account. It was made to appear that the said amounts were refunded to the same clients although they were not. Debit Tickets were even accomplished to justify the act of crediting the subject amounts to Chuas account. Afterwards, when the

Chua, being a mere general clerk of the bank, did not acquire both material and juridical possession of the subject amounts. He was likened to a bank teller whose possession over the money received by him is possession by the bank itself. [11] Be that as it may, the CA, still under the same indictment/information and pursuant to this Courts ruling in Gonzaludo v. People,[12] held Chua liable for falsification of commercial documents as defined in Articles 172 and 171 of the Revised Penal Code.[13] The CA wrote:

ISSUES: I Whether or not the Honorable Court of Appeals erred in finding the petitioner guilty of the crime of Falsification of Commercial Documents considering that it has categorically ADMITTED that there is no direct proof that petitioner was the author of the falsification in the case at bar. II

In the case at bench, the prosecution was able to prove that the subject Inward Foreign Remittance Advices of Credit which were used to transfer the excess payments made by ATL Plastic Manufacturing Industries and Unidex Garments to the appellants account in the guise of remittances, were fictitious since there were really no Linda Castro or Amado Roque who sent the same. It adduced two documents, i.e., the Advices of Credit and the Debit Tickets, which were merely used to cover up the fictitious remittances. It is true that there is no direct proof that appellant was the author of the falsification. However, since he benefited from the fictitious transactions in question, the inevitable conclusion is that he falsified them. It is an established rule that when it is proved that a person has in his possession a falsified document and makes use of the same, the presumption or inference is justified that such person is the forger. On this score, the prosecution convincingly demonstrated that appellant withdrew the subject amounts on different dates. [14] Chuas defense of forgery failed to impress the CA. As it was his burden to establish his defense, it was not enough for him to submit just any specimen of his signature. The NBI requested him to submit additional documents containing his signatures for the years 1983 and 1984 but he failed to meet its requirements. Thus, the CA gave no value to his defense. The dispositive portion of its February 21, 2008 Decision reads: WHEREFORE, the Decision dated 6 October 2004 of the Regional Trial Court, Makati City, Branch 132, is MODIFIED. Appellant RICHARD CHUA is hereby ACQUITTED of the complex crime of Estafa through Falsification of Commercial Documents. However, he is adjudged GUILTY of the crime of Falsification of Commercial Documents and is SENTENCED to suffer an indeterminate penalty of 4 months and 1 day of arresto mayor, as minimum, to 2 years and 4 months of prision correccional, as maximum. Likewise, he is ORDERED to PAY a fine of P5,000.00. No Costs. SO ORDERED.[15] Chua sought partial reconsideration but his motion was denied by the CA on June 2, 2008. Still not satisfied, Chua now comes to this Court raising the following

Whether or not the Honorable Court of Appeals erred in not applying the paramount constitutional presumption of innocence in favor of the petitioner in view of its explicit admission that there is no direct proof that the petitioner was the author of the falsification.[16] The Court finds no merit in the petition. Chua claims that the CAs statement, It is true that there is no direct proof that appellant was the author of the falsification,[17] absolves him from criminal liability even for the lesser offense of falsification of commercial documents. According to Chua, the CA was merely speculating when it held that he was the author of the falsified commercial documents because he allegedly benefited from them. He further argues that the prosecution failed to show other facts and circumstances from which it may be reasonably and logically inferred that he committed the crime of falsification.[18] Chua is obviously clutching at straws when he argues that the CAs judgment of conviction was based merely on speculation. He apparently misread the CA decision. First of all, the CA never abandoned or set aside the factual findings of the RTC when it ordered the modification of the judgment of conviction. The modification was merely on the RTCs conclusion as to the crime actually committed. In its appealed decision, the CA pointed out that an essential element in the complex crime of estafa through falsification of commercial documents was lacking, thus: Evidently, in the case at bench, appellant did not acquire juridical possession over the subject payments which were made by two of Allied Banks clients, i.e., Unidex Garments and ATL Plastic Manufacturing Industries. It must be borne in mind that appellant is a mere general clerk of Allied Bank. As part of his duties, he received payments from clients. His position therefor may be likened to the position of a bank teller whose possession over the money received by him is possession by the bank itself.[19] The CA never disturbed, categorically or otherwise, the RTCs factual findings with regard to (a) the discovery of fictitious payments purportedly from equally fictitious foreign remittances; (b) the fictitious debit or refund to the banks clients although in

truth there were none as indicated in the banks History of Daily Transactions, and was instead credited to the account of Chua; (c) authenticity of his signature in the withdrawal slips as testified to by the banks signature verifier; (d) his denial that he ever knew the two persons named above who allegedly remitted the subject amount to him; (e) his own admission on cross examination that the subject amounts were indeed credited to his savings account with the bank; and (f) his admission that after the subject incident with the bank, he filed a notice of leave and never came back. [20] The absence of a direct proof that Chua was the author of the falsification is of no moment for the rule remains that whenever someone has in his possession falsified documents and uttered or used the same for his advantage and benefit, the presumption that he authored it arises. X x x. This is especially true if the use or uttering of the forged documents was so closely connected in time with the forgery that the user or possessor may be proven to have the capacity of committing the forgery, or to have close connection with the forgers, and therefore, had complicity in the forgery. In the absence of a satisfactory explanation, one who is found in possession of a forged document and who used or uttered it is presumed to be the forger. [21] Certainly, the channeling of the subject payments via false remittances to his savings account, his subsequent withdrawals of said amount as well as his unexplained flight at the height of the banks inquiry into the matter more than sufficiently establish Chuas involvement in the falsification. The evidentiary bases of the RTC were the very same bases relied upon by the CA when it instead found Chua guilty beyond reasonable doubt of falsification of commercial documents. The facts are the same. The elements of the crime as found in paragraph 1, Article 172 of the RPC, are: 1) the offender is a private individual or a public officer or employee who did not take advantage of his official position; 2) the offender committed any of the acts of falsification enumerated in Article 171; and 3) the falsification was committed in a public or official or commercial document.[22] Applying this to the present case, all three elements are undeniably present (i) Chua is a private individual; (ii) he used fictitious inward foreign remittance advice of credit to cause the funneling or transfer of the two named bank clients payments into his own account,[23] squarely falling under paragraph 2 of Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code[24]; and (iii) the falsification was committed in two commercial documents, namely, inward foreign remittance advice of credit and the debit tickets.[25] Without doubt, his subsequent conviction to a lesser crime was not unfounded. A conviction coming from the heels of an acquittal in a complex or a more serious

crime is nothing new. The CA was merely following the Courts lead in the case of Gonzaludo v. People,[26] where it was held: The lack of criminal liability for estafa, however, will not necessarily absolve petitioner from criminal liability arising from the charge of falsification of public document under the same Information charging the complex crime of estafa through falsification of public document. It is settled doctrine that When a complex crime has been charged in an information and the evidence fails to support the charge on one of the component offenses, can defendant still be separately convicted of the other offense? The question has long been answered in the affirmative. In United States v. Lahoylahoy and Madanlog,[27] the Court has ruled to be legally feasible the conviction of an accused on one of the offenses included in a complex crime charged, when properly established, despite the failure of evidence to hold the accused of the other charge.[28](previous citations omitted) WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The February 21, 2008 Decision and June 2, 2008 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 29051 are AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED. Velasco, Jr., (Chairperson), Peralta, Abad, and Perlas-Bernabe, JJ., concur.

THIRD DIVISION [G.R. No. 184926, April 11, 2012] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. EDMUNDO VILLAFLORES Y OLANO, ACCUSED-APPELLANT. DECISION BERSAMIN, J.: Circumstantial evidence is admissible as proof to establish both the commission of a crime and the identity of the culprit. Under review is the conviction of Edmundo Villaflores for rape with homicide by the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 128, in Caloocan City based on circumstantial evidence. The Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the conviction with modification on February 22, 2007.[1] The victim was Marita,[2] a girl who was born on October 29, 1994 based on her certificate of live birth.[3] When her very young life was snuffed out by strangulation

on July 2, 1999, she was only four years and eight months old.[4] She had been playing at the rear of their residence in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City in the morning of July 2, 1999 when Julia, her mother, first noticed her missing from home. [5] By noontime, because Marita had not turned up, Julia called her husband Manito at his workplace in Pasig City, and told him about Marita being missing. [6] Manito rushed home and arrived there at about 2 pm,[7] and immediately he and Julia went in search of their daughter until 11 pm, inquiring from house to house in the vicinity. They did not find her.[8] At 6 am of the next day, Manito reported to the police that Marita was missing.[9] In her desperation, Julia sought out a clairvoyant (manghuhula) in an adjacent barangay, and the latter hinted that Marita might be found only five houses away from their own. Following the clairvoyants direction, they found Maritas lifeless body covered with a blue and yellow sack[10] inside the comfort room of an abandoned house about five structures away from their own house. [11] Her face was black and blue, and bloody.[12] She had been tortured and strangled till death. The ensuing police investigation led to two witnesses, Aldrin Bautista and Jovy Solidum, who indicated that Villaflores might be the culprit who had raped and killed Marita.[13] The police thus arrested Villaflores at around 5 pm of July 3, 1999 just as he was alighting from a vehicle.[14] On July 7, 1999, the City Prosecutor of Caloocan City filed in the RTC the information charging Villaflores with rape with homicide committed as follows:[15] That on or about the 2nd day of July, 1999 in Caloocan City, Metro Manila, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused with lewd design and by means of force, violence and intimidation employed upon the person of one Marita, a minor of five (5) years old, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously lie and have sexual intercourse with said Marita, against the latters will and without her consent, and thereafter with deliberate intent to kill beat the minor and choked her with nylon cord which caused the latters death. CONTRARY TO LAW. Arraigned on August 19, 1999, Villaflores pleaded not guilty to the crime charged.[16] The CA summarized the evidence of the State in its decision, viz: After pre-trial was terminated, the trial proceeded with the prosecution presenting witnesses namely, Aldrin Bautista, Jovie Solidum, Manito, Dr. Jose Arnel Marquez, SPO2 Protacio Magtajas, SPO2 Arsenio Nacis, PO3 Rodelio Ortiz, PO Harold Blanco and PO Sonny Boy Tepase. From their testimonies, it is gathered that in the afternoon of July 3, 1999, the lifeless body of a 5-year old child, Marita (hereinafter Marita) born on October 21, 1994, (see Certificate of Live Birth marked as Exhibit K) was discovered by her father, Manito (hereinafter Manito) beside a toilet bowl at an unoccupied house about 5

houses away from their residence in Phase 9, Bagong Silang, Caloocan City. The day before at about noon time his wife called him up at his work place informing him that their daughter was missing, prompting Jessie to hie home and search for the child. He went around possible places, inquiring from neighbors but no one could provide any lead until the following morning when his wife in desperation, consulted a manghuhula at a nearby barangay. According to the manghuhula his daughter was just at the 5th house from his house. And that was how he tracked down his daughter in exact location. She was covered with a blue sack with her face bloodied and her body soaked to the skin. He found a yellow sack under her head and a white rope around her neck about 2 and a half feet long and the diameter, about the size of his middle finger. There were onlookers around when the NBI and policemen from Sub-station 6 arrived at the scene. The SOCO Team took pictures of Marita. Jessie was investigated and his statements were marked Exhibits C, D and D-1. He incurred funeral expenses in the total amount of P52,000.00 marked as Exhibit L and sub-markings. (See other expenses marked as Exhibit M and sub-markings). Two (2) witnesses, Aldrin Bautista and Jovie Solidum, came forward and narrated that at about 10:00 oclock in the morning of July 2, 1999, they saw Edmundo Villaflores, known in the neighborhood by his Batman tag and a neighbor of the [victims family], leading Marita by the hand (umakay sa bata). At about noon time they were at Batmans house where they used shabu for a while. Both Aldrin and Jovie are drug users. Aldrin sports a sputnik tattoo mark on his body while Jovie belongs to the T.C.G. (through crusher gangster). While in Batmans place, although he did not see Marita, Jovie presumed that Batman was hiding the child at the back of the house. Jovie related that about 3:00 oclock in the afternoon of the same day, he heard cries of a child as he passed by the house of Batman (Narinig ko pong umiiyak ang batang babae at umuungol). At about 7:00 oclock in the evening, Jovie saw again Batman carrying a yellow sack towards a vacant house. He thought that the child must have been in the sack because it appeared heavy. It was the sack that he saw earlier in the house of Batman. Among the first to respond to the report that the dead body of a child was found was SPO2 PROTACIO MAGTAJAS, investigator at Sub-station 6 Bagong Silang, Caloocan City who was dispatched by Police Chief Inspector Alfredo Corpuz. His OIC, SPO2 Arsenio Nacis called the SOCO Team and on different vehicles they proceeded to Bagong Silang, Phase 9 arriving there at about 2 o:clock in the afternoon of July 3, 1999. They saw the body of the child at the back portion of an abandoned house where he himself recovered pieces of evidence such as the nylon rope (Exhibit N) and the yellow sack inside the comfort room. The child appeared black and blue, (kawawa yong bata wasak ang mukha). He saw blood stains on her lips and when he removed the sack covering her body, he also saw blood stains in her vagina. The yellow sack that he was referring to when brought out in court had already a greenish and fleshy color. The sack was no longer in the same condition when recovered, saying, when asked by the Court: medyo buo pa, hindi pa ho ganyang sira-sira. There was another sack, colored blue, which was used to cover the face of the child while the yellow sack was at the back of the victim. He forgot

about the blue sack when SOCO Team arrived because they were the ones who brought the body to the funeral parlor. He had already interviewed some person when the SOCO Team arrived composed of Inspector Abraham Pelotin, their team leader, and 2 other members. He was the one who took the statement of the wife of Edmundo Villaflores, Erlinda, and turned over the pieces of evidence to Police Officer SPO2 Arsenio Nacis who placed a tag to mark the items. When the SOCO Team arrived, a separate investigation was conducted by Inspector Pelotin. PO3 RODELIO ORTIZ, assigned at Station 1, Caloocan City Police Station, as a police investigator, took the sworn statement of Aldrin Bautista upon instruction of his chief, SPO2 Arsenio Nacis, asked Aldrin to read his statement after which he signed the document then gave it to investigator, SPO2 Protacio Magtajas. During the investigation, he caused the confrontation between Aldrin Bautista and Edmundo Villaflores. Aldrin went closer to the detention cell from where he identified and pointed to Villaflores as the one who abducted the child. Villaflores appeared angry. SPO2 ARSENIO NACIS participation was to supervise the preparation of the documents to be submitted for inquest to the fiscal. He asked the investigator to prepare the affidavit of the victims father and the statement of the two witnesses and also asked the investigator to prepare the referral slip and other documents needed in the investigation. He ordered the evidence custodian, PO3 Alex Baruga to secure all the physical evidence recovered from the scene of the crime composed of 2 sacks. In the afternoon of July 3, the suspect, Edmundo Villaflores was arrested by PO3 Harold Blanco, SPO1 Antonio Alfredo, NUP Antonio Chan and the members of Bantay Bayan in Bagong Silang. PO1 HAROLD BLANCO of the Sangandaan Police Station, Caloocan City, as follow-up operative, was in the office at about 1:00 oclock in the afternoon of July 3, 1999, together with PO3 Alfredo Antonio and Police Officer Martin Interia, when Police Inspector Corpuz, as leader formed a team for them to go to the scene of the crime. They immediately proceeded to Phase 9. Inspector Corpuz entered the premises while he stayed with his companions and guarded the place. SPO3 Magtajas was already investigating the case. They were informed that the group of Aldrin could shed light on the incident. Blanco and the other police officers returned to the crime scene and asked the people around, who kept mum and were elusively afraid to talk. When he went with SPO1 Antonio Chan accompanied by councilman Leda to the house of Batman, it was already padlocked. They went to the place of SPO1 Alfredo Antonio nearby to avoid detection and asked a child to look out for Villaflores. Soon enough, a jeep from Phase 1 arrived and a commotion ensued as people started blocking the way of Villaflores, who alighted from the said jeep. The officers took him in custody and brought him to Sub-station 6 and SPO3 Nacis instructed them to fetch his wife. He was with police officer Antonio Chan and they waited for the arrival of the wife of Villaflores from the market. When she arrived, it was already night time. They informed her that her husband was at Sub-station 6 being a suspect in the killing of a child. There was no reaction on her part. She was with her 3 minor children in the house. She went with them to the precinct. When

Sgt. Nacis asked Mrs. Villaflores if she knew anything about what happened on the night of July 2, initially, she denied but in the course of the questioning she broke down and cried and said that she saw her husband place some sacks under their house. He remembered the wife saying, noong gabing nakita niya si Villaflores, may sako sa silong ng bahay nila, tapos pagdating ni Villaflores, inayos niya yong sako at nilapitan niya raw, nakita niya may siko, tapos tinanong niya si Villaflores, ano yon? Sabi niya, wala yon, wala yon. The wife was crying and she said that her husband was also on drugs and even used it in front of their children. She said that she was willing to give a statement against her husband. Their house is a kubo the floor is made of wood and there is space of about 2 feet between the floor and the ground. She saw the sack filled with something but when she asked her husband, he said it was nothing. She related that before she went outside, she again took a look at the sack and she saw a protruding elbow inside the sack. She went inside the house and went out again to check the sack and saw the child. It was Sgt. Nacis who typed the statement of Erlinda Villaflores which she signed. He identified the sworn statement marked as Exhibit X and sub-markings. PO1 SONNY BOY TEPACE assigned at the NPD Crime Laboratory, SOCO, Caloocan City Police Station also went to the crime scene on July 3, 1999 at about 2:50 in the afternoon with Team Leader Abraham Pelotin, at the vacant lot of Block 57, Lot 12, Phase 9, Caloocan City. He cordoned the area and saw the dead child at the back of the uninhabited house. She was covered with a blue sack and a nylon cord tied around her neck. There was another yellow sack at the back of her head. He identified the nylon cord (Exhibit N) and the yellow sack. He does not know where the blue sack is, but he knew that it was in the possession of the officer on case. The blue sack appears in the picture marked as Exhibits S, T, and R, and was marked Exhibits T-3-A, S-1 and R-2-A. Thereafter they marked the initial report as Exhibit U and sub-markings. They also prepared a rough sketch dated July 3, 1999 with SOCO report 047-99 marked as Exhibit V and the second sketch dated July 3, 1999 with SOCO report 047-99 marked as Exhibit W. DR. ARNEL MARQUEZ, Medico Legal Officer of the PNP Crime Laboratory with office at Caloocan City Police Station conducted the autopsy on the body of Marita upon request of Chief Inspector Corpus. The certificate of identification and consent for autopsy executed by the father of the victim was marked as Exhibit G. He opined that the victim was already dead for 24 hours when he conducted the examination on July 3, 1999 at about 8 oclock in the evening. The postmortem examination disclosed the following: POSTMORTEM FINDINGS: Fairly developed, fairly nourished female child cadaver in secondary stage of flaccidity with postmortem lividity at the dependent portions of the body. Conjunctivae are pale. Lips and nailbeds are cyanotic.

HEAD, NECK AND TRUNK 1) Hematoma, right periorbital region, measuring 4 x 3.5 cm; 3.5 cm from the anterior midline. 2) Area of multiple abrasions, right zygomatic region, measuring 4 x 2.2 cm, from the anterior midline. 3) Abrasion, right cheek, measuring 1.7 x 0.8 cm, 3 cm from the anterior midline. 4) Area of multiple abrasions, upper lip, measuring 4 x 1 cm, bisected by the anterior midline. 5) Contusion, frontal region, measuring 6 x 4 cm, 6.5 cm left of the anterior midline.

issued the death certificate marked as Exhibit E. The anatomical sketch representing the body of the victim was marked as Exhibit I and sub-markings. The sketch of the head of the victim was marked Exhibit J. The injuries on the head could have been caused by hard and blunt object while other injuries were caused by coming in contact with a hard or rough surface. There were also punctured wounds which could have been caused by a barbecue stick or anything pointed. The ligature mark was congested and depressed. On cross-examination, among others, he explained the stages of flaccidity which is the softening of the body of a dead person. The first 3 hours after death is the primary stage of flaccidity and after the third hour, the body will be in rigor mortis and after the 24 hours, it is the secondary stage. The victim could have been dead at least 9 oclock in the morning on July 2. As regards the multiple lacerations of the hymen, it is possible that two or more persons could have caused it. The CA similarly summed up the evidence of Villaflores, as follows:

6) Punctured wound, left pre-auricular region, measuring 9.2 x 0.1 cm, 11.5 cm from the anterior midline. 7) Ligature mark, neck, measuring 24 x 0.5 cm, bisected by the anterior midline. 8) Abrasion, right scapular region, measuring 0.7 x 0.4 cm, 6 cm from the Posterior midline. 9) Abrasion, left scapular region, measuring 1.2 x 0.8 cm, 6.5 cm from the posterior midline. There are multiple deep fresh lacerations at the hymen. The vestibule is abraded and markedly congested, while the posterior fourchette is likewise lacerated and marked congested. The lining mucosa of the larynx, trachea and esophagus are markedly congested with scattered petecchial hemorrhages. Stomach is full of partially digested food particles mostly rice. Cause of death is asphyxia by strangulation. There were multiple deep laceration at the hymen and the vestibule was abraded and markedly congested while the posterior fourchette was likewise lacerated and markedly congested, too. It could have been caused by an insertion of blunt object like a human penis. The cause of death was asphyxia by strangulation, in laymans term, sinakal sa pamamagitan ng tali. The external injuries could have been caused by contact with a blunt object like a piece of wood. The abrasion could have also been caused by a hard and rough surface. He prepared the Medico Legal Report No. M-250-99 of the victim, Marita _____ marked as Exhibit H and sub-markings. He

EDMUNDO VILLAFLORES, testifying in his behalf, denied the charge of raping and killing the child saying he did not see the child at anytime on July 2, 1999. At around 10:00 oclock in the morning of July 2, 1999, he was at the market place at Phase 10 to get some plywood for his Aunt Maring. His Aunt called him at 8:30 in the morning and stayed there for about 5 hours and arrived home at around 5:00 in the afternoon. His Aunt was residing at Phase 10 which is about a kilometer from his place. His residence is some 5 houses away from the place of the child. He knows the child because sometimes he was asked by the wife of Manito to fix their electrical connection. He corrected himself by saying he does not know Marita but only her father, Manito. He denied carrying a sack and throwing it at the vacant lot. He was arrested on July 3, 1999 and does not know of any reason why he was charged. He has witnesses like Maring, Sherwin, Pareng Bong and Frankie to prove that he had no participation in the killing. On cross-examination, among others, he admitted being called Batman in their place and that Aldrin and Jovie are his friends. They go to his house at Package 5, Phase 9, Lot 32 in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City. They are his close friends being his neighbors and they usually went to his house where they used shabu (gumagamit ng bato). At 42, he is older than Aldrin and Jovie. He knew Marita who sometimes called him to his house to fix electrical wiring. He also knew his wife, but does not know their children. On the night of July 2, Aldrin and Jovie went to his house. He was arrested on July 3 in a street near the precinct while walking with his wife. They came from Bayan. His wife works in a sidewalk restaurant. Two of his children were in Phase 3, the other two were in his house and two more were left with his siblings. When he was arrested, he was carrying some food items which they brought in Bayan. They did not tell him why he was being arrested. He saw his wife once at Police Station 1 before he was brought to the city jail. Aldrin and Jovie harbored ill feelings against him because the last time they went to his house he did not allow them to use shabu. He admitted using shabu everytime his friends went to

his house. He is not legally married to his wife. She visited him for the last time on July 19, 1999. He denied that the door of his house had a sack covering neither was it locked by a piece of string. He has not talked with the father or mother of the child nor did he ask his wife for help. He just waited for his mother and she told him, they will fight it out in court, ilalaban sa husgado. On re-direct he said that Aldrin and Jovie often went in and out of his house. His bathroom is in front of his house. SHERWIN BORCILLO, an electronic technician and neighbor of Edmundo Villaflores told the court that the charges against Villaflores were not true, the truth being, that on the night of July 2, 1999 he saw Aldrin and Jovie at the back of his house holding a sack containing something which he did not know. They were talking to Batman and offering a dog contained in the sack and then they left the sack near the comfort room outside the door of the house of Batman. They came back and took the yellow sack. He followed them up to the other pathwalk and then he went home. The following day he learned that Villaflores was being charged with the killing of Marita. At first, he just kept quiet because he thought Villaflores should be taught a lesson for being a drug user, but later when he had a drinking spree with his father and uncle, he told them what he knew because he could not trust any policeman in their place. He told them what really happened and they advised him to report the matter to the barangay. So he went to the purok and made a statement in an affidavit form. He executed the Salaysay in the presence of their Purok secretary and barangay tanod. It was the Purok secretary who gave him the form. He saw Aldrin and Jovie about midnight of July 2, 1999. There was also another person with them, one Jose Pitallana, who is the eldest in the group and considered their Amo-amo. In his affidavit, he said: Ako ay lumabas ng bahay at sinundan ko siya at nakita ko si Jose na tinalian ng nylon and bata. Tapos po ay may narinig po akong kung sino man ang titistego sa akin ay papatayin ko, basta kayo ang saksi sa ginawa in Batman. He said he was sure that the sack contained the child because he saw the head of the child, it seemed like she was staring at him and asking his help. He executed the statement after the arrest of the accused. He did not go to the police station to narrate his story. He made his statement not in the barangay hall but only at their purok. On cross-examination, among others, he said that on July 2, 1999 he left the house at about 11:00 oclock in the morning to go to school in PMI at Sta. Cruz, Manila. He did not see Batman, nor Aldrin, or Jovie about noon time of July 2. He arrived home at about 8:00 oclock in the evening because he passed by the Susano Market in Novaliches to see his mother who was a vendor there. They closed the store at about 6:30, then they bought some food stuffs to bring home. He was not sure of the date when Batman was arrested. He admitted that Batman is his uncle being the brother of his mother. His uncle is a known drug addict in the area. He usually saw him using shabu in the company of Jose Pitallana, his wife, Aldrin and Jovie. After he was informed that his uncle was arrested, he did not do anything because he was busy reviewing for his exam. He did not also visit him in jail. After he made his

statement, he showed it to their Purok Leader, Melencio Yambao and Purok Secretary, Reynaldo Mapa. They read his statement and recorded it in the logbook. It was not notarized. He had no occasion to talk with Aldrin and Jovie. Jose Pitallana is no longer residing in their place. He did not even know that Aldrin and Jovie testified against his uncle. He never went to the police to tell the truth about the incident. As earlier stated, on May 27, 2004, the RTC convicted Villaflores of rape with homicide, holding that the circumstantial evidence led to no other conclusion but that his guilt was shown beyond reasonable doubt.[17] The RTC decreed: Wherefore, the Court finds accused Edmundo Villaflores guilty beyond reasonable doubt of raping and killing Marita and hereby sentences him to the Supreme penalty of death, to indemnify the heirs of the deceased in the sum of P75,000.00, moral damages in the sum of P30,000.00 and exemplary damages in the sum of P20,000.00, and to pay the cost if this suit, to be paid to the heirs if the victim. The City Jail Warden of Caloocan City is hereby ordered to bring the accused to the National Penitentiary upon receipt hereof after the promulgation of the decision. Let the records of this case be forwarded to the Supreme Court for automatic review. SO ORDERED. On intermediate review, the CA affirmed the conviction,[18] disposing: WHEREFORE, the decision of the RTC Caloocan City, Branch 128 finding the accused Edmundo Villaflores guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape with homicide is affirmed with modification in the sense that (a) the death penalty imposed by the trial court is commuted to reclusion perpetua and the judgment on the civil liability is modified by ordering the appellant to pay the amount of P100,000.00 civil indemnity, P75,000.00 moral damages and P52,000.00 as actual damages. SO ORDERED. Issues Villaflores now reiterates that the RTC and the CA gravely erred in finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of rape with homicide because the State did not discharge its burden to prove beyond reasonable doubt every fact and circumstance constituting the crime charged. In contrast, the Office of the Solicitor General counters that the guilt of Villaflores for rape with homicide was established beyond reasonable doubt through circumstantial evidence.

Ruling Article 266-B. We sustain Villaflores conviction. I Nature of rape with homicide as a composite crime, explained The felony of rape with homicide is a composite crime. A composite crime, also known as a special complex crime, is composed of two or more crimes that the law treats as a single indivisible and unique offense for being the product of a single criminal impulse. It is a specific crime with a specific penalty provided by law, and differs from a compound or complex crime under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, which states: Article 48. Penalty for complex crimes. When a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies, or when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other, the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum period. There are distinctions between a composite crime, on the one hand, and a complex or compound crime under Article 48, supra, on the other hand. In a composite crime, the composition of the offenses is fixed by law; in a complex or compound crime, the combination of the offenses is not specified but generalized, that is, grave and/or less grave, or one offense being the necessary means to commit the other. For a composite crime, the penalty for the specified combination of crimes is specific; for a complex or compound crime, the penalty is that corresponding to the most serious offense, to be imposed in the maximum period. A light felony that accompanies a composite crime is absorbed; a light felony that accompanies the commission of a complex or compound crime may be the subject of a separate information. Republic Act No. 8353 (Anti-Rape Law of 1997) pertinently provides: Article 266-A. Rape; When and How Committed. Rape is committed 1) By a man who 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 circumstance mentioned above be present. xxx Penalties. Rape under paragraph 1 of the next preceding article shall be punished by reclusion perpetua. xxx 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. xxx The law on rape quoted herein thus defines and sets forth the composite crimes of attempted rape with homicide and rape with homicide. In both composite crimes, the homicide is committed by reason or on the occasion of rape. As can be noted, each of said composite crimes is punished with a single penalty, the former with reclusion perpetua to death, and the latter with death. The phrases by reason of the rape and on the occasion of the rape are crucial in determining whether the crime is a composite crime or a complex or compound crime. The phrase by reason of the rape obviously conveys the notion that the killing is due to the rape, the offense the offender originally designed to commit. The victim of the rape is also the victim of the killing. The indivisibility of the homicide and the rape (attempted or consummated) is clear and admits of no doubt. In contrast, the import of the phrase on the occasion of the rape may not be as easy to determine. To understand what homicide may be covered by the phrase on the occasion of the rape, a resort to the meaning the framers of the law intended to convey thereby is helpful. Indeed, during the floor deliberations of the Senate on Republic Act No. 8353, the legislative intent on the import of the phrase on the occasion of the rape to refer to a killing that occurs immediately before or after, or during the commission itself of the attempted or consummated rape, where the victim of the homicide may be a person other than the rape victim herself for as long as the killing is linked to the rape, became evident, viz: Senator Enrile. x x x I would like to find out, first of all, Mr. President, what is the meaning of the phrase appearing in line 24, or on the occasion? When the rape is attempted or frustrated, and homicide is committed by reason of the rape, I would understand that. But what is the meaning of the phrase on the occasion of rape? How far in time must the commission of the homicide be

considered a homicide on the occasion of the rape? Will it be, if the rapists happen to leave the place of rape, they are drunk and they killed somebody along the way, would there be a link between that homicide and the rape? Will it be on the occasion of the rape? Senator Shahani. x x x It will have to be linked with the rape itself, and the homicide is committed with a very short time lapse. Senator Enrile. I would like to take the first scenario, Mr. President: If the rapist enters a house, kills a maid, and rapes somebody inside the house, I would probably consider that as a rape on the occasion of. Or if the rapists finished committing the crime of rape, and upon leaving, saw somebody, let us say, a potential witness inside the house and kills him, that is probably clear. But suppose the man happens to kill somebody, will there be a link between these? What is the intent of the phrase on the occasion of rape? x x x xxx Senator Shahani. Mr. President, the principal crime here, of course, is rape, and homicide is a result of the circumstances surrounding the rape. So, the instance which was brought up by the good senator from Cagayan where, let us say, the offender is fleeing the place or is apprehended by the police and he commits homicide, I think would be examples where the phrase on the occasion thereof would apply. But the principal intent, Mr. President, is rape. [19]

knowledge of her by Villaflores would constitute statutory rape. We have often conceded the difficulty of proving the commission of rape when only the victim is left to testify on the circumstances of its commission. The difficulty heightens and complicates when the crime is rape with homicide, because there may usually be no living witnesses if the rape victim is herself killed. Yet, the situation is not always hopeless for the State, for the Rules of Court also allows circumstantial evidence to establish the commission of the crime as well as the identity of the culprit.[21] Direct evidence proves a fact in issue directly without any reasoning or inferences being drawn on the part of the factfinder; in contrast, circumstantial evidence indirectly proves a fact in issue, such that the factfinder must draw an inference or reason from circumstantial evidence.[22] To be clear, then, circumstantial evidence may be resorted to when to insist on direct testimony would ultimately lead to setting a felon free.[23] The Rules of Court makes no distinction between direct evidence of a fact and evidence of circumstances from which the existence of a fact may be inferred; hence, no greater degree of certainty is required when the evidence is circumstantial than when it is direct. In either case, the trier of fact must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused.[24] Nor has the quantity of circumstances sufficient to convict an accused been fixed as to be reduced into some definite standard to be followed in every instance. Thus, the Court said in People v. Modesto:[25] The standard postulated by this Court in the appreciation of circumstantial evidence is well set out in the following passage from People vs. Ludday:[26] No general rule can be laid down as to the quantity of circumstantial evidence which in any case will suffice. All the circumstances proved must be consistent with each other, consistent with the hypothesis that the accused is guilty, and at the same time inconsistent with the hypothesis that he is innocent, and with every other rational hypothesis except that of guilt. Section 4, Rule 133, of the Rules of Court specifies when circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction, viz: Section 4. Circumstantial evidence, when sufficient. - Circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction if: (a) There is more than one circumstance; (b) The facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and (c) The combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. (5) In resolving to convict Villaflores, both the RTC and the CA considered several circumstances, which when appreciated together and not piece by piece, according to the CA,[27] were seen as strands which create a pattern when interwoven, and

II The State discharged its burden of proving the rape with homicide beyond reasonable doubt As with all criminal prosecutions, the State carried the burden of proving all the elements of rape and homicide beyond reasonable doubt in order to warrant the conviction of Villaflores for the rape with homicide charged in the information.[20] The State must thus prove the concurrence of the following facts, namely: (a) that Villaflores had carnal knowledge of Marita; (b) that he consummated the carnal knowledge without the consent of Marita; and (c) that he killed Marita by reason of the rape. Under Article 266-A, supra, rape is always committed when the accused has carnal knowledge of a female under 12 years of age. The crime is commonly called statutory rape, because a female of that age is deemed incapable of giving consent to the carnal knowledge. Maritas Certificate of Live Birth (Exhibit K) disclosed that she was born on October 29, 1994, indicating her age to be only four years and eight months at the time of the commission of the crime on July 2, 1999. As such, carnal

formed an unbroken chain that led to the reasonable conclusion that Villaflores, to the exclusion of all others, was guilty of rape with homicide. We concur with the RTC and the CA. The duly established circumstances we have considered are the following. Firstly, Aldrin Bautista and Jovie Solidum saw Villaflores holding Marita by the hand (akayakay) at around 10:00 am on July 2, 1999,[28] leading the child through the alley going towards the direction of his house about 6 houses away from the victims house.[29] Secondly, Marita went missing after that and remained missing until the discovery of her lifeless body on the following day.[30] Thirdly, Solidum passed by Villaflores house at about 3:00 pm of July 2, 1999 and heard the crying and moaning (umuungol) of a child coming from inside.[31] Fourthly, at about 7:00 pm of July 2, 1999 Solidum saw Villaflores coming from his house carrying a yellow sack that appeared to be heavy and going towards the abandoned house where the childs lifeless body was later found.[32] Fifthly, Manito, the father of Marita, identified the yellow sack as the same yellow sack that covered the head of his daughter (nakapalupot sa ulo) at the time he discovered her body;[33] Manito also mentioned that a blue sack covered her body.[34] Sixthly, a hidden pathway existed between the abandoned house where Maritas body was found and Villaflores house, because his house had a rear exit that enabled access to the abandoned house without having to pass any other houses.[35] This indicated Villaflores familiarity and access to the abandoned house. Seventhly, several pieces of evidence recovered from the abandoned house, like the white rope around the victims neck and the yellow sack, were traced to Villaflores. The white rope was the same rope tied to the door of his house,[36] and the yellow sack was a wall-covering for his toilet.[37] Eighthly, the medico-legal findings showed that Marita had died from asphyxiation by strangulation, which cause of death was consistent with the ligature marks on her neck and the multiple injuries including abrasions, hematomas, contusions and punctured wounds. Ninthly, Marita sustained multiple deep fresh hymenal lacerations, and had fresh blood from her genitalia. The vaginal and periurethral smears taken from her body tested positive for spermatozoa. [38] And, tenthly, the body of Marita was already in the second stage of flaccidity at the time of the autopsy of her cadaver at 8 pm of July 3, 1999. The medico-legal findings indicated that such stage of flaccidity confirmed that she had been dead for more than 24 hours, or at the latest by 9 pm of July 2, 1999. These circumstances were links in an unbroken chain whose totality has brought to us a moral certainty of the guilt of Villaflores for rape with homicide. As to the rape, Marita was found to have suffered multiple deep fresh hymenal lacerations, injuries that Dr. Jose Arnel Marquez, the medico-legal officer who had conducted the autopsy of her cadaver on July 3, 1999, attributed to the insertion of a blunt object like a human penis. The fact that the vaginal and periurethral smears taken from Marita tested positive for spermatozoa confirmed that the blunt object was an adult human penis. As to the homicide, her death was shown to be caused by strangulation with a rope, and the time of death as determined by the medico-legal findings was

consistent with the recollection of Solidum of seeing Villaflores going towards the abandoned house at around 7 pm of July 2, 1999 carrying the yellow sack that was later on found to cover Maritas head. Anent the identification of Villaflores as the culprit, the testimonies of Solidum and Bautista attesting to Villaflores as the person they had seen holding Marita by the hand going towards the abandoned house before the victim went missing, the hearing by Solidum of moaning and crying of a child from within Villaflores house, and the tracing to Villaflores of the yellow sack and the white rope found at the crime scene sufficiently linked Villaflores to the crime. We note that the RTC and the CA disbelieved the exculpating testimony of Borcillo. They justifiably did so. For one, after he stated during direct examination that Villaflores was only his neighbor,[39] it soon came to be revealed during his crossexamination that he was really a son of Villaflores own sister. [40] Borcillo might have concealed their close blood relationship to bolster the credibility of his testimony favoring his uncle, but we cannot tolerate his blatant attempt to mislead the courts about a fact relevant to the correct adjudication of guilt or innocence. Borcillo deserved no credence as a witness. Also, Borcillos implicating Solidum and Bautista in the crime, and exculpating his uncle were justly met with skepticism. Had Borcillos incrimination of Solidum and Bautista been factually true, Villaflores could have easily validated his alibi of having run an errand for an aunt about a kilometer away from the place of the crime on that morning of July 2, 1999. Yet, the alibi could not stand, both because the alleged aunt did not even come forward to substantiate the alibi, and because the Defense did not demonstrate the physical impossibility for Villaflores to be at the place where the crime was committed at the time it was committed. The CA reduced the penalty of death prescribed by the RTC to reclusion perpetua in consideration of the intervening enactment on June 24, 2006 of Republic Act No. 9346.[41] Nonetheless, we have also to specify in the judgment that Villaflores shall not be eligible for parole, considering that Section 3 of Republic Act No. 9346 expressly holds persons whose sentences will be reduced to reclusion perpetua by reason of this Act not eligible for parole under Act No. 4103 (Indeterminate Sentence Law), as amended. The awards of damages allowed by the CA are proper. However, we add exemplary damages to take into account the fact that Marita was below seven years of age at the time of the commission of the rape with homicide. Article 266-B, Revised Penal Code has expressly declared such tender age of the victim as an aggravating circumstance in rape, to wit: Article 266-B. Penalties. xxx. xxx The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the following aggravating/qualifying circumstances:

xxx 5) When the victim is a child below seven (7) years old; xxx Pursuant to the Civil Code, exemplary damages may be imposed in a criminal case as part of the civil liability when the crime was committed with one or more aggravating circumstances.[42] The Civil Code permits such award by way of example or correction for the public good, in addition to the moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages.[43] Granting exemplary damages is not dependent on whether the aggravating circumstance is actually appreciated or not to increase the penalty. As such, the Court recognizes the entitlement of the heirs of Marita to exemplary damages as a way of correction for the public good. For the purpose, P30,000.00 is reasonable and proper as exemplary damages, [44] for a lesser amount would not serve genuine exemplarity. WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the decision promulgated by the Court of Appeals on February 22, 2007 finding and pronouncing EDMUNDO VILLAFLORES y OLANO guilty of rape with homicide, subject to the following MODIFICATIONS, namely: (a) that he shall suffer reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole under Act No. 4103 (Indeterminate Sentence Law), as amended; (b) that he shall pay to the heirs of the victim the sum of P30,000.00 as exemplary damages, in addition to the damages awarded by the Court of Appeals; and (c) that all the awards for damages shall bear interest of 6% per annum reckoned from the finality of this decision. The accused shall pay the costs of suit. SO ORDERED. Corona, C.J., (Chairperson), Leonardo-De Castro, Del Castillo, and Villarama, Jr., JJ. concur.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, vs. REYNALDO OLESCO Y ANDAYANG,1 Appellant. DECISION DEL CASTILLO, J.: "In rape, the sweetheart defense must be proven by compelling evidence: first, that the accused and the victim were lovers; and, second, that she consented to the alleged sexual relations. The second is as important as the first, because this Court has held often enough that love is not a license for lust." 2 On appeal is the May 30, 2006 Decision3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00701 which affirmed in its entirety the September 23, 2003 Decision 4 of the Regional Trial Court of Paraaque City, Branch 258 finding appellant Reynaldo Olesco guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape. Factual Antecedents On November 5, 2001, an Information5 was filed charging appellant with rape committed as follows: That on or about the 17th day of October 2001, in "BBB," 6 "CCC," and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, by means of force and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have sexual intercourse with the complainant "AAA," 18 years old, against her will and consent. CONTRARY TO LAW. During his arraignment, appellant entered a plea of "not guilty." 7 Thereafter, trial ensued. The facts of the case as narrated in the Decision of the appellate court are as follows: The evidence for the prosecution shows that on October 17, 2001, at around 10:00 oclock in the evening, "AAA," accompanied x x x her cousin in going out of "DDD" in "BBB." On her way back home, "AAA" passed by a bakery where Olesco was working. Thereafter, somebody pulled her and covered her mouth with a hanky which caused her to be unconscious. When she regained consciousness at around 11:00 oclock p.m., "AAA" found herself naked beside Olesco inside a room located near the bakery. Her whole body ached, especially her cheeks, tummy and her private part. "AAA" then slapped the accused three times and asked him why he raped her. Olesco answered that he would kill her should she report the incident to

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Baguio City FIRST DIVISION G.R. No. 174861 April 11, 2011

the police. After a while, accused told her to go home. She dressed up immediately and went home running. When she arrived home, "AAA" told her cousin "EEE" about what happened. After two (2) days, "AAA" reported the incident to the barangay. The barangay officials asked her the whereabouts of the accused which she did not know then as she saw the accused [only] once and knows him only by face since at that time, she was just a week old in "DDD." "AAA" explained that she was able to report the incident to the barangay officials two days after it happened since when she woke up in the morning of October 18, 200[1], it was already 9:00 oclock a.m. and she could not stand as her whole body ached. Thereafter, the barangay officials referred the matter to the police. An investigation was subsequently conducted. Thereafter, "AAA" was referred to the Philippine National Police Crime Division, Camp Crame, Quezon City, for medico-legal examination. On October 20, 2001, Dr. Jericho Angelito Q. Cordero, a Medico-Legal Officer based at the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory, Camp Crame, Quezon City, conducted a physical and genital examination on "AAA." x x x xxxx According to Dr. Cordero, at the time of the examination, "AAA" was in a nonvirgin state physically which means that she had a previous intercourse x x x about ten days or maybe a year ago. "AAA" had also a lacerated wound with a healing period of about ten (10) to fifteen (15) days caused by a hard, blunt instrument inserted into her vagina like a finger or an erect penis which would fit and succumb to elasticity or x x x a stick. He also testified that the laceration of the victim was consistent with the time of the alleged commission of the crime. He likewise testified that "AAA" told him that she only discovered the wounds when she woke up [naked] at about 10:00 oclock in the evening of October 17, 200[1] with Olesco beside her x x x. Aside from his Initial Medico-Legal Report, he likewise made his Final Report No. M-2674-01 (Exhibit "E") whereby he concluded that there are no external signs of any form of trauma on the external genital area which has a deep healed laceration consistent with sexual intercourse. Olesco denied having raped "AAA" and put up the "sweetheart defense". He testified that he worked as a baker for five (5) months in a bakery inside "FFF," "BBB," owned by Rafael Arimado. Prior to the alleged rape incident, "AAA" used to buy bread in the bakery. He came to know her when "AAA" introduced herself x x x. After three months, he and "AAA" became sweethearts. According to Olesco, there is no truth to the complaint filed against him by "AAA." He alleged that it was

"AAA" who went to him at the bakery at around 7:00 oclock in the evening of October 17, 2001. "AAA" wanted him to go with her [to her] province in Leyte, to which he agreed. The room referred to by "AAA" is for the female workers near the bakery where they talked in the presence of their employer. Che-Che and Alex, his co-workers, Jerry and Annalyn Arimando were also inside the room when they entered but they went out. He further testified that during his second month stay in the bakery, he got attracted to "AAA" whom he used to see every afternoon and they talked even for just a minute until he proposed his love to her x x x. When they became steady, there were occasions that they kissed each other, held hands and x x x even made love in a room beside the bakery prior to October 17, 2001 at around 9:00 oclock in the evening and thereafter, "AAA" left at 10:00 oclock. However, on October 18, 2001, "AAA" had him arrested by the barangay tanods [who] brought [him] to the Coastal Police Headquarters.8 Ruling of the Regional Trial Court On September 23, 2003, the RTC rendered its Decision disposing as follows: In fine, the Court finds accused, REYNALDO OLESCO Y ONDAYANG liable for SIMPLE RAPE under Article 266-A, par. 1 3(b) in relation to Art. 266-B of the Revised Penal Code as amended by R.A. 8353 and the penalty to be meted the accused should be RECLUSION PERPETUA in the absence of any aggravating or qualifying circumstance which is from twenty (20) years and one (1) day to forty (40) years of imprisonment. Moreover, accused has to indemnify the private complainant the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity as well as the amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages. This is because "under the present case law, an award of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity is mandatory upon finding of the fact of rape. This is exclusive of the award of moral damages of P50,000.00 without need of further proof as it is now recognized as inherently concomitant with and necessarily proceeds from the appalling crime of rape which per se warrants an award for moral damages. (People v. Caratay, 316 SCRA 251). WHEREFORE, the prosecution having been able to prove the guilt of accused, REYNALDO OLESCO y ONDAYANG beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of SIMPLE RAPE defined and punished under Art. 266-A, par. 1[,] 3(b) in relation to Art. 266-B of the Revised Penal Code as amended by R.A. 8353[,] accused REYNALDO OLESCO y ONDAYANG is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA. Pursuant to existing jurisprudence, accused REYNALDO OLESCO y ONDAYANG, is ordered to indemnify "AAA," the private complainant, the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages.

No pronouncement as to cost. SO ORDERED.9

unbelievable and ridiculous. Moreover, appellant alleges that "AAAs" testimony in open court contradicts her narration in her Sinumpaang Salaysay. Our Ruling

In finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape, the RTC noted that "AAA" positively identified appellant as the malefactor;10 that appellant failed to rebut the testimony of the victim11 or impute ill-motive on her part;12 and that "AAAs" testimony was brief, clear, and straightforward 13 and supported by the medical findings.14 Moreover, the RTC observed that appellants "sweetheart defense" lacked sufficient and convincing proof;15 neither was it substantiated by any documentary and/or other evidence like mementos, love letters, notes, pictures and the like. Worse, appellant did not present his employer or any of his co-workers to corroborate his claim that he and "AAA" were sweethearts and that "AAA" used to frequent his place.16 The RTC also held that assuming "AAA" and appellant were sweethearts, it does not serve as license or justification to commit rape. 17 On September 30, 2003, appellant filed his Notice of Appeal 18 which was given due course by the trial court.19 Ruling of the Court of Appeals On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the trial courts Decision in toto, viz: WHEREFORE, the assailed September 23, 2003 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Paraaque City, Branch 258, in Criminal Case No. 01-01193, is hereby AFFIRMED in its entirety. SO ORDERED.20 Hence, this appeal. The Parties Arguments Appellee maintains that appellants guilt was proven beyond reasonable doubt. On the other hand, appellant claims that he was denied his right to due process considering that as alleged in the Information, the rape was committed through the use of force and intimidation. However, what was established by the prosecution is the fact that "AAA" was unconscious when she was raped. Appellant also insists that there was nothing in "AAAs" testimony that would indicate that appellant had sexual intercourse with her. Appellant likewise insists that no sufficient evidence was presented to prove his culpability. He argues that "AAAs" testimony is ambiguous and full of discrepancies. He opines that "AAAs" claim that she lost consciousness when her mouth was covered with a drug-laced handkerchief was

The appeal lacks merit. The CA correctly disregarded appellants claim that he did not use force nor resort to intimidation in the commission of the crime. We agree with the CA that appellants act of pulling "AAA" and covering her face with drug-laced handkerchief is synonymous with force, to wit: It has been duly established that when "AAA" passed by the bakery, Olesco immediately pulled her and covered her mouth with a handkerchief. She smelled something like a "snow bear" and lost consciousness. Thereafter, Olesco raped her. In other words, "AAA" became unconscious after accused employed force on her; that is, pulling her and covering her mouth with a "snow bear" smelling hanky. The act of pulling her and covering her face with a drug-laced hanky is the immediate cause why "AAA" fell unconscious which facilitated accuseds bestial desire against "AAA." There is, therefore, no truth to the claim of Olesco that no force was employed upon "AAA" to satisfy his bestial desire. It is a well-established doctrine that for the crime of rape to exist, it is not necessary that the force employed accomplishing it be so great or of such character as could not be resisted; it is only necessary that the force employed by the guilty party be sufficient to consummate the purpose which he had in view x x x. Thus, the use of force and intimidation as alleged in the information has been sufficiently established. 21 Indeed, "[f]ailure to offer tenacious resistance does not make the submission by the complainant to the criminal acts of the accused voluntary. What is necessary is that the force employed against her be sufficient to consummate the purpose which he has in mind."22 Appellants contentions that "AAAs" testimony is ambiguous and full of discrepancies and that her claim that she lost consciousness when her mouth was covered with a drug-laced handkerchief is unbelievable and ridiculous deserve scant consideration. To be sure, these contentions pertain to the assessment of witnesss credibility which is properly within the province of the trial court. In this case, the trial court held that: Based on the foregoing, the Court in its careful analysis of the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses as compared to that of the defense, found that those of the former carry greater weight and credence for being straightforward, reasonable, clear and categorical which is entirely different from the allegations of the defense. To the

Court, the rape was consummated under paragraph 1, 3(b) of Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code.231avvphi1 We find no reason to depart from said findings of the trial court, which were affirmed by the CA. "As a rule, x x x findings [of the trial court] deserve weight and respect. The same is true as regards the evaluation of the credibility of witnesses, because it is the trial judge who hears them and observes their demeanor while testifying. It is only when the trial court has overlooked or misapprehended some facts or circumstances of weight and influence that these matters are re-opened for independent examination and review by appellate courts." 24 "The age-old rule is that the task of assigning values to the testimonies of witnesses in the stand and weighing their credibility is best left to the trial court which forms its first-hand impressions as a witness testifies before it."25 Both the trial court and the CA properly disregarded appellants claim that he and "AAA" were sweethearts. "The sweetheart theory or sweetheart defense is an oftabused justification that rashly derides the intelligence of this Court and sorely tests our patience. For the Court to even consider giving credence to such defense, it must be proven by compelling evidence. The defense cannot just present testimonial evidence in support of the theory, as in the instant case. Independent proof is required -- such as tokens, mementos, and photographs. There is none presented here by the defense." 26 Thus: Q So, you said you came to know this "AAA" since she used to buy bread at the bakery and you testified that you became steady. Can you remember what particular month or date you became steady with "AAA"? A I cannot remember that anymore, maam. xxxx Q And do you have any remembrance or anything that will prove that this "AAA" has been your steady or girlfriend? A None, maam.

the sexual act."28 Thus, having failed to satisfactorily establish that "AAA" voluntarily consented to engage in sexual intercourse with him, the said act constitutes rape on the part of the appellant. Finally, we note that "AAA" lost no time in reporting the incident to her cousin who in turn immediately relayed the same to the barangay officials which resulted in the arrest of the appellant. On the other hand, appellant failed to rebut "AAAs" testimony that prior to the incident she saw appellant only once considering that "AAA" was new to the place, having stayed thereat for only a week before the rape. Even appellant could not ascribe any ill will on the part of "AAA." 29 More significantly, appellant did not present his employer or any of his co-workers who could supposedly corroborate his claim that he only talked with "AAA" on the night of October 17, 2001. As regards the award of damages, the trial court, as affirmed by the CA, correctly awarded P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages. "However, in line with current jurisprudence, an additional award of P30,000.00 as exemplary damages should likewise be given, as well as interest of six percent (6%) per annum on all damages awarded from the finality of judgment until fully paid." 30 WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The May 30, 2006 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00701 which affirmed the September 23, 2003 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Paraaque City, Branch 258 finding appellant Reynaldo Olesco guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and another P50,000.00 as moral damages to "AAA" is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS that an additional award of P30,000.00 as exemplary damages should likewise be given, with interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum on all the damages awarded in this case from the finality of this judgment until fully paid. SO ORDERED. People of the Philippines v. Pedro Nogpo, aka Tandodoy Posted in Uncategorized by Amparita Sta. Maria on 22 Mar 2010

Q And how long did you become steady with this "AAA" before October 17? (G.R. No. 184791) A Three (3) months, maam.
27

"In any event, the claim is inconsequential since it is well-settled that being sweethearts does not negate the commission of rape because such fact does not give appellant license to have sexual intercourse against her will, and will not exonerate him from the criminal charge of rape. Being sweethearts does not prove consent to

This case illustrates the progressive stance of the Supreme Court when it comes to rape cases. The Court ruled that for sweetheart defenses to be credible, it should be substantiated by some documentary or other evidence of the relationship. It also ruled that even among lovers, rape could still be committed, if sexual congress was against the victims will. Also, the Court emphasized that the law does not impose a

burden on the private complainant to prove resistance. Force being an element of the crime of rape, it need not be irresistible; it only needs to be present. Facts: The victim (A) was sleeping with her 3 month old baby, when she was awakened upon smelling the strong odor of gin. She was shocked by seeing Tandodoy, the respondent trying to embrace her. She tried shouting for her husband and resisting, but Tandodoy hit her and then proceeded to rape her. He threatened to kill her family if she reported the incident. The respondent admitted having sex with the respondent, however, he maintains that the alleged rape was actually consensual. He alleged that he and AAA were actually lovers, and this was corroborated by his sister. Held: The accused defense, which consisted of the much abused sweetheart theory was wholly discredited by the Court, for several reasons. First is that this claim is self serving and easily fabricated. This affirmative defense also needs strong corroboration, which was absent in this case. A sweetheart defense, to be credible, should be substantiated by some documentary or other evidence of the relationship, which is patently absent. Lastly, even assuming that they were lovers, rape could still have been committed if he had carnal knowledge with A against her will. A love affair does not justify rape, because love is not a license for lust. Moreover, this love affair was vehemently denied by the private complainant. The defense also blames A for not duly resisting, considering that she was an adult woman of 33 years whereas the accused was only 22, drunk and unarmed. The Court ruled that the law does not impose a burden on the private complainant to prove resistance. The degree of force and resistance is relative, depending on each case. Force being an element of the crime of rape, it need not be irresistible; it needs only to be present, and so long as it brings about the desired result, all consideration of whether it was more or less irresistible is beside the point. The conduct of the private complainant immediately following the alleged assault is of utmost importance and indicative of the truth or falsity of the charge of rape. In this case, As pattern of behavior, combined with the simple and direct manner in which private complainant described her ordeal, corroborated by the police records and testimonies of the attending obstetrician-gynaecologist and surgeon, are indicia of truthfulness.

1988,Julia left for the U.S. She did not communicate with Leouel and did not return to the country. In1991, Leoul filed with the RTC of Negros Oriental, a complaint for voiding the marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines. The RTC dismissed the complaint and the CAaffirmed the dismissal.ISSUE:Does the failure of Julia to return home, or at the very least to communicate with him, for morethan five years constitute psychological incapacity?RULING: No, the failure of Julia to return home or to communicate with her husband Leouel for more thanfive years does not constitute psychological incapacity.Pyschological incapacity must be characterized by (a) GRAVITY (b) JURIDICALANTECEDENCE (c) INCURABILITYPsychological incapacity should refer to no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity thatcauses a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must beassumed and dischargedby the parties to the marriage which, as so expressed by Art. 68 of theFamily Code, include their mutual obligations to live together, observe love, respect and fidelityand render help and support.The intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of PSYCHOLOGICALINCAPACITY to the mot serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of anutter insensitivity or inablity to give meaning and significance to the marriage. This psychological condition must exist at the time the marriage is celebrated.Undeniably and understandably, Leouel stands aggrieved, even desperate, in his presentsituation. Regrettably, neither law nor society itself can always provide all the specific answersto every individual problem PETITION IS DENIED

PENAFLORIDA SYNOPSIS Appellant and two other persons were charged with murder for the death of SPO3 Eusebio Natividad. His conviction was based mainly on the testimony of Rodolfo who testified that he was resting on the terrace of his house about 5 armslength from the scene of the crime when appellant and two unidentified persons suddenly blocked the owner-type jeep driven by the deceased who simultaneously fired at the deceased after one of the assailants shouted: Natividad katapusan mo na ito and simultaneously fired upon Natividad. It was appellant who took the deceaseds wallet and gun. Appellant pleaded not guilty, and interposed denial and alibi. The trial court gave full faith and credit to the evidence of the prosecution and rendered judgment of conviction with the aggravating circumstances of alevosia, evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength. It was convinced that the testimony of Rodolfo was clear, unequivocal, unmistakable and overwhelming leaving no room for doubt as to its veracity and conclusiveness. Appellant was sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Hence, this recourse, appellant contending that the trial court erred in convicting him on the grounds that he was not identified in a police line-up, late execution of sworn statement identifying appellant, and his arrest was without a warrant.

240 SCRA 20, January 4, 1995 (En Banc), J. VitugFACTS OF THE CASE:Plaintiff Leouel Santos married defendant Julia Bedia on September 20, 1986. On May 18

The Supreme Court held that the ascertainment of the credibility of witnesses is best left to the determination of the trial court and there were no cogent reasons in this case to disturb the factual findings of the trial court; that there is no law requiring a police line-up as an essential requisite for proper identification; that a seven-day delay in the execution of the sworn statement identifying appellant as one of the perpetrators of the crime does not impair credibility; that positive identification of appellant as one of the authors of the crime prevails over his defenses of denial and alibi; that the fact that the attack was preceded by a cry or signal did not make such attack less treacherous; that evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength cannot be appreciated in the absence of evidence to support the same; and that failure of accused to question the validity of his arrest before plea constitutes waiver of his right against unlawful restraint of liberty. THIRD DIVISION [G.R. No. 183569, April 13, 2011]

The following day AAA, together with her elder brother CCC, reported the matter to the police. An Information charging accused-appellant with attempted rape was filed. Its accusatory portion reads: That on or about the 21st day of February, 1999 at around 11:00 oclock in the evening, at XXX, barangay XXX, XXX City and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused: VICENTE PUBLICO y AMODIA, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, feloniously attempt to have carnal knowledge of his legitimate 12 year old daughter AAA, by trying to insert his organ into the female organ of AAA but failed, thereby commencing the commission of the crime of rape directly by overt acts, and that, if said accused did not accomplish his unlawful purpose, it was not because of his own voluntary desistance but because the female organ of AAA was still too tight, she being a virgin. In violation of Art. 335 in relation to Art. 6, Revised Penal Code.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. VICENTE PUBLICO Y AMODIA, ACCUSED-APPELLANT. DECISION SERENO, J.: This is a review of the Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA), Cebu City, in CAG.R. CEB-CR.-H.C. No. 00290, [1] which affirmed the Judgment of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Ormoc City, Branch 35, in Criminal Case Nos. 5521-0 and 5522-0 [2] finding accused-appellant Vicente Publico y Amodia guilty beyond reasonable doubt of rape and attempted rape. The facts of these cases, culled from the records, are as follows: Criminal Case No. 5521-0 On the evening of 21 February 1999, AAA, the twelve-year-old daughter of accusedappellant, was in their house. After AAA put her younger sister to sleep, she heard her father call for her saying, Day, come here. She approached her father and saw that he was holding a bolo. He ordered AAA to take off her panty. She refused to take it off, so accused-appellant removed it himself. He then mounted AAA and attempted to insert his penis into her vagina. The physiological state of AAA made full penetration impossibleshe was only a twelve-year-old virgin and her vagina was still too tight; the mere attempt to have sexual intercourse with her caused her immense pain. Frustrated and enraged, accused-appellant started hurling tirades at her. Soon thereafter one of their neighbors, Iking Carmones, knocked on their door. Accused-appellant opened the door and left the house with the former.

Criminal Case No. 5522-0 BBB, also a daughter of accused-appellant, is the older sister of AAA. When BBB reached the age of ten, she started giving her father massages. Accusedappellant would get angry if it was not BBB who would massage him. He would only be in his underwear whenever she massaged him. At the age of fifteen, BBB started having sexual intercourse with a boyfriend, with whom she lived without the benefit of marriage. In May 1996, she started having sexual intercourse with him in the same room where her parents and sister also slept. Roughly two weeks after BBB and her lover started living together, the two had a quarrel. Accused-appellant took his daughters side and mauled her lover, who then left their house and never returned. Sometime in June 1996, at around three oclock in the afternoon, while her mother and her brothers were out working and her younger sister AAA was in school, BBB was sent by her father to buy kerosene to be used for his massage. When she arrived at their house, accused-appellant suddenly dragged her inside the room. He then poked a sharp weapon at BBB and took her shorts off. After removing her shorts, he removed his briefs and had sexual intercourse with her. BBB claims that after that fateful day in June 1996, accused-appellant raped her several more times for a period of two years or until she reached the age of eighteen. According to BBB whenever she tried to resist her fathers attempts to have sexual intercourse with her, he would maul her until she was left with no other choice but to yield to his desires. She never revealed the sexual abuses committed by accused-appellant, because he threatened to kill her and their entire family should she divulge the matter to her mother.

Eventually, accused-appellant got BBB pregnant. She gave birth to their child in June 1997. In November 1998, BBB left home and moved to Cebu City. Sometime after leaving their house, she received a visit from her older brother, CCC. Her brother informed her that accused-appellant had also tried to rape their younger sister, AAA. This information prompted BBB to file a Complaint for rape against accusedappellant on 24 February 1999. The Complaint charged appellant with rape allegedly committed as follows: That on or about the month of June 1996, and for sometime subsequent thereto, at XXX, barangay XXX, XXX City, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused: VICENTE PUBLICO y Amodia, by means of violence and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously have carnal knowledge of his legitimate daughter BBB, a sixteen (16) year old lass, against her will. In violation of Article 355, Revised Penal Code, as amended by RA 7659. Criminal Cases Nos. 5521-0 and 5522-0 were consolidated. Upon arraignment on 25 March 1999, accused-appellant entered a plea of not guilty. During trial, the prosecution presented 19-year-old BBB and 13-year-old AAA as witnesses. BBB testified as to how her father raped her the first time and several times thereafter for a period of two years, [3] while AAA recounted the events that transpired on the day her father attempted to rape her. [4] BBBs testimony was supported by the testimony of Dr. Regino Mercado, who identified the Medical Certificate [5] he issued on 23 February 1999 after his physical examination of BBB. Dr. Mercado found: 1. Old hymenal lacerated wound at 3 oclock, 6 oclock and 9 oclock based on the face of the clock. The physical examination conducted by Dr. Mercado on AAA [6] did not show any hymenal laceration. Senior Police Officer 1 (SPO1) Nestor Sicsic further strengthened the prosecutions case through his testimony about Entry No. 7698 [7] in the police blotter of Police Precinct No. 2 at XXX, XXX City. The police blotter showed that BBB lodged a Complaint for rape against her own father. SPO1 Sicsic also corroborated AAAs story through his testimony identifying Entry Nos. 7683, 7685, and 7686 [8] in the police blotter of Police Precinct No. 2 at XXX, XXX City. These entries proved that AAA reported to the police her fathers attempt to rape her on 22 February 1999. AAAs older brother, CCC, testified that on 22 February 1999, when he arrived from

work at around 7:30 a.m., his younger sister AAA came to his house crying. She then told her brother that their father had attempted to rape her. He then accompanied his sister to the police at Barangay Valencia to report the incident. [9] The sole witness for the defense was accused-appellant himself. He denied the accusations of his daughters against him and presented alibis as main defenses. Accused-appellant claimed that on 4 June 1996 he left for Manila to look for a job. He said that he worked as a laborer digging canals for the skyway construction project in Western Bicutan, Taguig. He further said that he returned to XXX City only in October for All Saints Day. [10] Accused-appellant also claimed that on 21 February 1999, he was at home drinking Tanduay Rhum with his compadre Dionisio Cadenes. They were allegedly drinking from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. When his compadre left, he went to sleep. At around three oclock in the morning, accused-appellant woke up. He tried to wake AAA up to make her boil some water, so that he could have coffee. She did not comply, so he himself went into the kitchen to boil some water. [11] On 13 July 2007, the trial court, giving credence to the evidence of the prosecution, convicted accused-appellant and meted out to him the penalty of death, viz: WHEREFORE, after duly considering all the foregoing, the Court finds the accused Vicente Publico y Amodia GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape as charged in Criminal Case No. 5522-0 and of the crime of Attempted Rape as charged in Criminal Case No. 5521-0, and accordingly hereby sentences the said accused under Criminal Case No. 5522-0 to the supreme penalty of Death, whereas under Criminal Case No. 5521-0, the Court penalizes the accused to an indeterminate sentence of 6 years and 1 day prision mayor as minimum to 12 years and 1 day reclusion temporal as maximum, and in both cases to pay the offended party as follows: P50,000.00 as indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages, in Criminal Case No. 5522-0; P50,000.00 as moral damages in Criminal Case No. 5521-0. For Criminal Case No. 5521-0, if the accused is a detainee, the period of his detention shall be credited to him in full if he abides in writing by the terms for convicted prisoners, otherwise, for only 4/5 thereof. SO ORDERED. The case was elevated to the Court of Appeals on automatic review. On 9 January 2008, the appellate court promulgated its Decision affirming the Decision of trial court, but with the following modifications:

1.

In Criminal Case No. 5522-0, appellant is found guilty of Simple Rape and sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. He is likewise ordered to pay private complainant BBB P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages and P25,000.00 as exemplary damages. In criminal Case No. 5521-0, appellant is found guilty of Attempted Rape and is sentenced to an indeterminate prison term of five (5) years, four (4) months and twenty-one (21) days of prision coreccional as minimum , to eleven (11) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of prision mayor as maximum. He is also ordered to pay private complainant AAA P30,000.00 as civil liability, plus P25,000.00 as moral damages and P10,000.00 as exemplary damages

After a thorough examination of the testimonies of complainants BBB and AAA, it is clear to this Court that the testimonies are spontaneous, clear, candid, and free from serious contradictions. This Court maintains that testimonies of rape victims who are young and of tender age are credible. The revelation of an innocent child whose chastity was abused deserves full credence. [16] Furthermore, we have held that a rape victim's testimony is entitled to greater weight when she accuses a close relative of having raped her, to wit: Indeed, a young girl would not ordinarily file a complaint against anybody, much less her own father, if it were not true. Thus, the victim's revelation that she had been raped, coupled with her voluntary submission to medical examination and willingness to undergo public trial where she could be compelled to give out details on an assault to her dignity cannot be dismissed as mere concoction. We also take judicial notice, and it can be considered of public knowledge, that the scene of the rape is not always or necessarily isolated or secluded. Lust is no respecter of time or place. It goes against human experience that a girl would fabricate a story which would drag herself as well as her family to a lifetime of dishonor, unless that is the truth, for her natural instinct is to protect her honor. More so, where her charges could mean the death of her own father, as in this case. Undoubtedly, the accusedappellant was correctly found guilty of raping his daughter. [17] In his Appellants Brief, [18] accused-appellant argues that the testimonies of BBB and AAA should not have been given credence for being incredible and contrary to human experience. Specifically, he claims that it was impossible for him to have dragged BBB into the bedroom. He points out that BBB herself testified that she had been massaging her father since she was 10; thus, there was no need for him use force just to get her to massage him. [19] The Solicitor Generals rebuttal of this argument is correct. It is settled that in a rape committed by a father against his own daughter, his moral ascendancy over her substitutes for the violence and intimidation. [20] Even though it was customary for BBB to massage her father since she was 10 years old, it is not totally impossible or contrary to human experience to believe that when she was already 16 and her father decided to rape her, he had to use force by dragging her into the bedroom in order to achieve his purpose. Accused-appellant contends that the testimony of BBB that she did not resist because she was afraid that her father might stab her with the sharp weapon with which he poked her should not be given weight, since it is to [sic] presumptuous or imaginary considering there is yet not [sic] testimony on her part that accused had attempted to stab her. [21] This Court cannot fathom why it should require rape victims to establish that the accused attempted to stab them before the accused can be convicted of the crime of rape. The poking with a sharp weapon to coerce BBB into submission already establishes force and/or intimidation as contemplated by the Revised Penal Code.

2.

Costs against appellant SO ORDERED. Accused-appellant is now before us, seeking the reversal of the judgment of the court below, raising this sole assignment of error: THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONIES OF BBB AND AAA. The appeal is bereft of merit. In deciding rape cases, this Court is well aware of its duty to both the victim and the accused. Bearing in mind that the conviction of the accused depends heavily on the credibility of the victim, courts are mandated to thoroughly examine the testimony of the offended party. [12] Although the accused in a rape case may be convicted solely on the testimony of the complaining witness, courts are duty-bound to establish that their reliance on the victims testimony is justified. Courts are mandated to ensure that the testimony is credible, convincing, and otherwise consistent with human nature. [13] If the testimony of the complainant meets the test of credibility, the accused may be convicted on the basis thereof. As a general rule, appellate courts will not disturb the findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses. As we have held many times, 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 and their demeanor, conduct, and attitude, especially under cross-examination. [14] Unless trial courts are found to have plainly overlooked certain facts of substance and value, their conclusions on the credibility of witnesses should be respected. [15] In the case at bar, we see no reason to deviate from this rule or to disturb the findings of the trial court.

The act of poking a knife at a woman is sufficient to render her powerless, leaving her with the impossible choice of either allowing the accused to use her to satisfy his lust or to resist the desires of the accused at the risk of her own life. It has been held that the mere display of a knife is sufficient to bring a woman to submission. [22] In testifying that accused-appellant used weapons in order for complainants to submit to his desire, the latter sufficiently established that he had used force and intimidation in committing the offenses charged. Accused-appellant also makes an issue of the fact that the prosecution failed to present as evidence the sharp weapon or weapons supposedly used by him to force his children to have sexual intercourse with him. [23] This Court has already ruled that the presentation of the weapon supposedly used by the accused to commit rape is not necessary for conviction, to wit: The defense further complains that the alleged knife, and the dress and panty of complainant, were not presented in evidence. The non-presentation of the knife, however, does not negate the existence of intimidation. As We stated in another prosecution for rape where a bolo was used by therein accused to intimidate his victim, "(c)onsidering that the bolo was in the hands of appellant and presumably belonged to him, it should not be a cause for wonder why complainant could not present it in evidence. It was not likely that appellant would just leave it at the scene of the crime." Likewise, the non-presentation of the torn and blood-stained dress and underwear of complainant does not destroy the case for the prosecution, there being sufficient and convincing evidence to prove the rape charges beyond reasonable doubt. [24] Accused-appellant also asserts that BBBs failure to promptly report to the authorities what her father did to her, thus allowing herself to be sexually abused for three years, is contrary to human experience and thus casts doubt on her credibility. [25] We have ruled that the failure of the victim to immediately report the rape is not an indication of a fabricated charge and does not detract from the fact that rape was committed. [26] BBB's failure to report the rape incident earlier has been fully and satisfactorily explained. She testified that she never revealed the sexual abuses committed by her father, as he had threatened that he would kill all of them should she divulge the matter to her mother. The fear of BBB that her father would kill her and the other members of her family, should she report the incident to her mother or the police, is not so unbelievable nor is it contrary to human experience. In People v. Casil [27] this Court ruled: The threats of appellant to kill her and all members of her family should she report the incidents to anyone were etched in her gullible mind and sufficed to intimidate her into silence. Add to this the fact that she was living with appellant during the entire period of her tribulation, with her mother often away working for a living, and one can readily visualize the helplessness of her plight.

Against all the evidence presented by the prosecution, accused-appellant presents nothing but denials and alibis as his defense. Denial and alibi are the most common defenses used in rape cases. We have always held that these are inherently weak and must be supported by clear and convincing evidence in order to be believed. [28] Thus, An alibi may be considered with favor only when established by positive, clear and satisfactory evidence. Significantly, where no one corroborates the alibi of an accused, such defense becomes all the weaker for this deficiency. Neither can plain denial, a negative and self-serving evidence stand against the positive identification and categorical testimony made by a victim of rape. A mere denial is seldom given greater evidentiary value than the testimony of a witness who creditably testifies on affirmative matters. All told, the proffered alibi of accused-appellant can not stand against the positive identification by the private complainant that he is the culprit. Basic is the rule that alibi which is easy to concoct can not prevail over the positive identification; what is more, appellant utterly failed to prove that it was physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime at the approximate time of its commission. Consequently, accused-appellant's defense of alibi can not prosper. Indeed, the revelation of an innocent child whose chastity was abused deserves full credit, as the willingness of complainant to face police investigation and to undergo the trouble and humiliation of a public trial is eloquent testimony of the truth of her complaint. Stated differently, it is most improbable for a five-year old girl of tender years, so innocent and so guileless as the herein offended party, to brazenly impute a crime so serious as rape to any man if it were not true. [29] As to the defense that, on 21 February 1999, he could not have committed the attempted rape as he was at home drinking Tanduay Rhum with his compadre, accused-appellant failed to prove and demonstrate the physical impossibility of his being at the scene of the crime at the approximate time of its commission. In addition, aside from his self-serving testimony, no other evidence or witness was presented by accused-appellant to corroborate his testimony that he was working as a laborer in Manila from June 1996 to October 1996, or that on 21 February 1999 he was having a drinking session with his compadre. Consequently, accused-appellants defenses cannot be given credence and must therefore fail. Moreover, being negative defenses, denial and alibi cannot prevail over the positive testimonies of the complainants. Between the positive and categorical testimony of the rape victim on one hand and the accuseds bare denial on the other, the former generally prevails. [30] Lastly, accused-appellant relies heavily on Dr. Regino Mercados Medical Certificate, which states that no hymenal laceration was found on AAA. According to accused-appellant, the negative findings in the Medical Certificate only show or indicate that the accused did not attempt to insert his penis into the vagina of AAA.

[31]

This argument of the accused is wrong and does not exculpate him from the charge of attempted rape. Had there been a hymenal laceration, it would no longer be merely an attempted rape. It would already be indicative that the crime of rape was indeed consummated. As held in People v. Collado: [32] In other words, "touching" of the female organ will result in consummated rape if the penis slid into or touched either labia of the pudendum. Anything short of that will only result in either attempted rape or acts of lasciviousness. Significantly, People v. Campuhan did not set a demarcation line separating attempted rape from acts of lasciviousness. The difference lies in the intent of the perpetrator deducible from his external acts. Thus when the "touching" of the vagina by the penis is coupled with the intent to penetrate, attempted rape is committed. Otherwise, it is merely acts of lasciviousness. After examining the evidence, as well as the testimonies of complainants and the prosecutions witnesses, this Court is strongly convinced that accused-appellant is guilty as charged. Based on AAAs testimony, the intent of the accused was to commit the crime of rape, but its commission was prevented due to the physical difficulty he encountered. Accused-appellant insists that the qualifying circumstances that the victims were minors or persons under eighteen years old and that the offender was the victims father were not alleged in the Information. [33] Consequently, accused-appellant cannot be convicted of qualified rape; and neither can the death penalty be imposed upon him without violating his constitutional right to be informed of the nature and the cause of the accusation against him. This, of course, is not true. A plain reading of the two Informations filed against accused-appellant will reveal that the ages of the victims and the fact that accused-appellant is their father have been alleged in the Informations. The Information in Criminal Case No. 5521-0 states that accusedappellant attempted to have carnal knowledge of his legitimate 12 year old daughter, while the Information in Criminal Case No. 5522-0 states that accused appellant had carnal knowledge of his legitimate daughter BBB, a sixteen (16) year old lass. This Court has held that for minority to be considered as a qualifying circumstance in the crime of rape, minority must not only be alleged in the Information, but must also be established with moral certainty. We note that while the Information alleged that BBB was only 16 years old at the time she was first raped, no other evidence, documentary or otherwise--except for BBBs testimony--was presented to prove her minority at the time of the commission of the offense. The same is true for AAA. Thus, the prosecution failed to discharge the burden of proving the minority of AAA and BBB. In People v. Javier, [34] this Court ruled:

...[I]t is significant to note that the prosecution failed to present the birth certificate of the complainant. Although the victim's age was not contested by the defense, proof of age of the victim is particularly necessary in this case considering that the victim's age which was then 16 years old is just two years less than the majority age of 18. In this age of modernism, there is hardly any difference between a 16-year old girl and an 18-year old one insofar as physical features and attributes are concerned. A physically developed 16-year old lass may be mistaken for an 18-year old young woman, in the same manner that a frail and young looking 18-year old lady may pass as a 16-year old minor. Thus, it is in this context that independent proof of the actual age of a rape victim becomes vital and essential so as to remove an iota of doubt that the victim is indeed under 18 years of age as to fall under the qualifying circumstances enumerated in Republic Act No. 7659. We hold that the qualifying circumstance of minority under Republic Act No. 7659 cannot be appreciated in these cases. In Criminal Case No. 5522-0, the alleged crime was committed in June 1996, or before the effectivity of Republic Act No. (R.A.) 8353, otherwise known as "The Anti-Rape Law of 1997." Under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), as amended by R.A. 7659, which is applicable in this case, whenever a crime of rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death. [35] In the case at bar, the use of a deadly weapon, although alleged in the Complaint and proved at the trial, was not alleged in the Information as required by Section 8 of Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. Thus, the use of a deadly weapon by accused-appellant cannot be appreciated as a qualifying circumstance without violating his right to be informed of the charges against him. [36] Consequently, accused-appellant may only be held liable for simple rape. The penalty for simple rape is reclusion perpetua. The alleged crime in Criminal Case No. 5521-0 was committed on 29 February 1999. The law applicable to the said case is R.A. 8353, which took effect on October 22, 1997. Articles 266-A and 266-B of this law 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: a) Through force, threat, or intimidation; xxx xxx xxx

Article 266-B. Penalty. - 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. xxx xxx xxx

He is also ordered to pay: 1. Fifty thousand pesos (PhP50,000) as civil indemnity for Criminal Case No. 5522-0 and thirty thousand pesos (PhP30,000) as civil indemnity for Criminal Case No. 5521-0; Fifty thousand pesos (PhP50,000) as moral damages for Criminal Case No. 5522-0 and twenty five thousand pesos (PhP25,000) as moral damages for Criminal Case No. 5521-0.

The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the following aggravating/qualifying circumstances: 2. l) 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; xxx xxx xxx

SO ORDERED.

5) When the victim is a child below seven (7) years old. Article 51 of the Revised Penal Code is applicable to Criminal Case No. 5521-0, which is a case for attempted rape. The aforementioned article imposes a penalty two degrees lower than that prescribed for the consummated felony. The use of deadly weapons was not alleged in the Information and thus cannot aggravate the penalty pursuant to Sections 8 and 9 of Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, and is hereby made to retroact to benefit the accused as required by wellestablished constitutional and criminal law doctrines. Since the crime of rape was merely attempted, the imposable penalty is two degrees lower than the prescribed penalty, which is prision mayor, the range of which is six (6) years and one (1) day to twelve (12) years. One degree below prision mayor is prision correccional. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law generously, the minimum penalty to be imposed shall be within the medium period. Thus, the minimum sentence imposed is four years. The damages to be awarded for simple rape are (a) PhP50,000 as civil indemnity; (b) PhP50,000 as moral damages; and (c) PhP30,000 as exemplary damages. [37] For attempted rape, the proper amount of damages are (a) PhP30,000 as civil indemnity; (b) PhP25,000 as moral damages; and (c) PhP10,000 as exemplary damages. [38] WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED with the following MODIFICATIONS: Accused-appellant Vicente Publico y Amodia is sentenced to suffer: 1. 2. The penalty of reclusion perpetua for Criminal Case No. 5522-0; The indeterminate penalty of 4 years as minimum to 10 years of prision mayor as maximum for Criminal Case No. 5521-0.