Anda di halaman 1dari 3

Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 189279 March 9, 2010
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee,
vs.
NELSON PALMA y HANGAD, Appellant.
R E S O L U T I O N
NACHURA, J.:
On appeal is the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision
1
dated June 25, 2009,
in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 03299, affirming the Regional Trial
Court
2
(RTC) Decision
3
dated October 17, 2007, finding appellant
Nelson Palma y Hangad guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Robbery
with Rape.
The case stemmed from the following facts:
On December 7, 2004, at approximately 7:00 in the evening, AAA,
while walking along the C-5 Bridge in Bagong Ilog, Pasig City, noticed
that a man had followed her after she passed the talipapa. Suddenly, the
man placed his arm over her shoulder, poked a sharp object on the left
side of her body, then instructed her to go with him. When she turned
her head towards the man, she recognized the assailant (although then,
she did not know his name) as she regularly saw him at the bridge every
time she and her co-workers would pass by.
4
Appellant forcibly brought
AAA to a dark place under the bridge, covered by big stones that
blocked the view of passersby. There, he asked if she had a cellular
phone and some money. She replied in the affirmative. He also asked
what AAAs phone model was, and she answered that it was a Nokia
3315.
5

Then, appellant hit her on the stomach and told her to undress. But she
refused. He thus pushed her towards the sofa (found under the bridge),
slashed her clothes and underwear and threatened her with the
knife.
6
When AAA was already naked, appellant lowered his own short
pants and briefs, and forcibly inserted his penis into her vagina and
continued pushing it in for about two (2) to three (3) minutes.
7
After
satisfying his lust, he withdrew his penis and fixed himself. AAA wanted
to run away, but she could not do so as she was then totally naked.
8

Appellant thereafter grabbed AAAs bag and took her cellular phone
and transportation money amounting to P40.00. AAA was able to
locate only her blouse that she used to cover herself. She came out from
under the bridge to seek help. A male passerby helped her by giving her
a pair of short pants, and escorted her to Bagong Ilog Barangay Hall,
where the incident was entered in the police blotter.
9
The following day,
AAA underwent medical examination at the Camp Crame Medico-Legal
Crime Laboratory.
10

On December 16, 2004, while conducting their routine patrol, members
of the barangay security force chanced upon appellant, whom they
found sleeping, using several ladies wallets as pillows, under the C-5
bridge, near the place where AAA was raped. It appearing that
appellant was drunk and recalling the rape incident that occurred a few
days earlier, the barangay security force brought appellant to the
Barangay Hall for verification.
11
That same day, AAA positively
identified appellant as her assailant. Appellant immediately bowed his
head and asked AAA for forgiveness.
12

On December 17, 2004, appellant was charged in an Information for
Robbery with Rape.
13
When arraigned, appellant pleaded "not guilty."
Appellant denied liability and insisted that he only saw AAA in the
precinct. He claimed that, on December 7, 2004, he was vending
cigarettes at the corner of Crossing and Mandaluyong, and that he slept
in Mandaluyong afterwards. When questioned by the court, he,
however, admitted that he indeed slept under the C-5 bridge on the date
AAA was raped. He later on changed his statement by saying that he
only slept under the bridge on the night he was apprehended.
14

On October 17, 2007, the RTC rendered a decision finding appellant
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Robbery with Rape, and sentenced
him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Appellant was, likewise,
ordered to payP50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral
damages, and P50,000.00 as exemplary damages.
15
On appeal, the
appellate court affirmed the RTC decision in its entirety.
Hence, this appeal, raising the following issues:
I.
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THE WARRANTLESS
ARREST OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT AS ILLEGAL.
II
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-
APPELLANT NOTWITHSTANDING THE LACK OF POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION.
III.
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT ACCUSED-
APPELLANTS RIGHTS UNDER REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7438 (AN ACT DEFINING
CERTAIN RIGHTS OF PERSON ARRESTED, DETAINED OR UNDER CUSTODIAL
INVESTIGATION AS WELL AS THE DUTIES OF THE ARRESTING, DETAINING
AND INVESTIGATING OFFICERS, AND PROVIDING PENALTIES FOR
VIOLATIONS THEREOF) WERE VIOLATED.
IV.
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO
THE INCONSISTENT, INCREDIBLE AND IMPROBABLE TESTIMONIES OF THE
PROSECUTION WITNESSES.
V.
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-
APPELLANT DESPITE THE PROSECUTIONS FAILURE TO PROVE THE
ELEMENTS OF THE CRIME CHARGED.
VI.
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE PRESENCE OF THE
AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCE OF NIGHTTIME.
16

First, appellant insists that his warrantless arrest was unlawful. Second,
he questions the credibility of AAA because of allegedly inconsistent
statements in her testimony. Third, he assails the validity of his
identification, claiming that it was marked by suggestiveness. Lastly, he
avers that the aggravating circumstance of nocturnity should not have
been appreciated since nighttime was not taken advantage of in order to
ensure the commission of the offense.
We find no reason to reverse appellants conviction. Hence, we affirm
the CA Decision, but with modification.
As to the regularity of appellants arrest, we have consistently ruled that
an accused is estopped from assailing the legality of his arrest if he fails
to raise this issue, or to move for the quashal of the information against
him on this ground, before arraignment.
17
Here, appellant was
arraigned, entered a plea of not guilty and actively participated in his
trial. He raised the issue of the irregularity of his arrest only during his
appeal to the CA. He is, therefore, deemed to have waived such alleged
defect by submitting himself to the jurisdiction of the court through his
counsel-assisted plea during the arraignment, by actively participating
in the trial, and by not raising the objection before his arraignment.
18

On the question of the credibility of the prosecution witnesses, it is
well-settled that findings of fact of the trial court on the credibility of
witnesses and their testimonies are generally accorded great respect by
the appellate court. The assessment of the credibility of witnesses is a
matter best left to the trial court, because it is in the best position to
observe that elusive and incommunicable evidence of the witnesses
deportment on the stand while testifying, which opportunity is denied
the appellate court.
19

Neither can we sustain appellants contention that his identification
was marked by suggestiveness, because he was presented to AAA alone
and not in a police lineup. As correctly pointed out by the CA, a police
lineup is not required for the proper and fair identification of offenders.
What is crucial is for the witness to positively declare during trial that
the persons charged were the malefactors.
20

Finally, the CA did not err in sustaining the appreciation of the
aggravating circumstance of nocturnity. As testified to by AAA, she
easily recognized appellant as she regularly saw him standing at the C-5
Bridge every morning. In choosing to commit the crime in the evening
and in bringing AAA under the bridge, nighttime facilitated the
commission of the crime with impurity. As correctly stated by the CA,
the cover of darkness aided appellant in order to ensure that the
execution of his criminal action would go unnoticed.
21
1avvphi1
Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code prescribes the penalty for
Robbery with Rape, to wit:
Art. 294. Robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons;
Penalties. Any person guilty of robbery with the use of violence
against or intimidation of any person shall suffer:
1. The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death, when by reason or on
occasion of the robbery, the crime of homicide shall have been
committed; or when the robbery shall have been accompanied by rape
or intentional mutilation or arson.
As the penalty is composed of two indivisible penalties, and in view of
the presence of the aggravating circumstance of nocturnity, the higher
penalty, which is death, should be imposed. However, with the
effectivity of Republic Act No. 9346, entitled "An Act Prohibiting the
Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines," appellant shall be
meted the penalty of reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole.
In line with prevailing jurisprudence, the civil indemnity to-fareast-
language: EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA'>
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court of Appeals Decision
dated June 25, 2009 is AFFIRMED, with the following
MODIFICATIONS: 1) appellant Nelson Palma y Hangad is sentenced to
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole; 2)
the award of civil indemnity is INCREASED from P50,000.00
to P75,000.00; 3) the award of moral damages is increased
from P50,000.00 to P75,000.00; and 4) the award of exemplary
damages is REDUCED from P50,000.00 to P30,000.00.
SO ORDERED.
ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice
Chairperson
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Associate Justice
DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
Associate Justice
JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA
Associate Justice
A T T E S T A T I O N
I attest that the conclusions in the above Resolution had been reached in consultation before the case
was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice
Chairperson, Third Division
C E R T I F I C A T I O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson's Attestation, I
certify that the conclusions in the above Resolution had been reached in consultation before the case
was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice


Footnotes
1
Penned by Associate Justice Magdangal M. de Leon, with Associate Justices Remedios A. Salazar-
Fernando and Ramon R. Garcia, concurring; rollo, pp. 2-22.
2
Branch 157.
3
Penned by Judge Esperanza Fabon-Victorino, CA rollo, pp. 11-22.
4
Rollo, p. 4.
5
Id.
6
Id. at 5.
7
Id.
8
Id.
9
Id. at 5-6.
10
Id. at 6.
11
Id. at 7.
12
Id. at 7-8.
13
The accusatory portion reads:
On or about December 7, 2004, in Pasig City, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
accused, armed with a knife, and with intent to gain, having made known such intent by inquiring
from one AAA what cell phone unit and how much cash money she carried with her which was a Nokia
3315 cell phone worth P3,000.00 and cash money worth P40.00, all in the total amount of P3,040.00,
however, before divesting said complainant of her personal belongings, said accused, by means of
force, threats and intimidation, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, at knifepoint, have carnal
knowledge with AAA against her will and consent, which is aggravated by the circumstance of
nighttime and immediately thereafter, said accused willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, steel
(sic) and carted away with the complainants aforestated personal belongings, to the damage and
prejudice of the said victim.
Contrary to law. (CA rollo, pp. 5-6.)
14
Rollo, pp. 8-10.
15
Id. at 22.
16
CA rollo, pp. 30-31.
17
People v. Alunday, G.R. No. 181546, September 3, 2008, 564 SCRA 135,149.
18
Id. at 150.
19
People v. Temporada, G.R. No. 173473, December 17, 2008, 574 SCRA 258, 282.
20
People v. Martin, G.R. No. 177571, September 29, 2008, 567 SCRA 42, 49.
21
Rollo, p. 21.
22
People of the Philippines v. Antonio Ortiz, Charito Chavez, Edwin Dasilio, and Jerry Doe, G.R. No.
179944, September 4, 2009.
23
People of the Philippines v. Domingo Araojo, G.R. No. 185203, September 17, 2009. People of the
Philippines v. Domingo Araojo, G.R. No. 185203, September 17, 2009. People of the Philippines v.
Domingo Araojo, G.R. No. 185203, September 17, 2009.