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Compilation on Jurisprudence on Rape From years 2000-2009

2009

People of the Philippines Vs. Ruben Corpuz G.R. No. 175836 January 30, 2009

Ruling: In People v. Adajio, the Court found that fear of bodily harm and fear for the safety of her family prevented the therein complainant from shouting for help, caused her to spread her legs upon the order of her rapist, and compelled her to follow him to the place where the second charge of rape occurred. It thus held that physical resistance need not be established in rape when threats and intimidation are employed and the victim submits herself to the embrace of her rapist because of fear, as in the cases at bar. The effects of threats and intimidation aside, appellant being the common-law spouse of AAAs mother BBB, moral ascendancy substituted for intimidation. Indeed, in rape committed by a close kin, such as the victim's father, stepfather, uncle, or the common-law spouse of her mother, it is not necessary that actual force or intimidation be employed; moral influence or ascendancy takes the place of violence or intimidation. As for the appellate courts characterization of the crime as simple rape, the Court finds the same to be consistent with Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code and settled jurisprudence that, to obtain a conviction for qualified rape, the minority of the victim and her relationship to the offender must be both alleged in the Information and proved with certainty. In the present cases, AAAs minority was alleged and proved, the same having been averred in each of the Informations and proven by a certification from the Office of the Civil Registrar of Kabugao, Apayao as to AAAs date of birth. The supposed stepfather-stepdaughter relationship between appellant and AAA, on the other hand, was alleged in each of the Informations. The stepfather-stepdaughter relationship as a qualifying circumstance presupposes that the victims mother and the accused contracted marriage. The prosecution, however, did not present proof that BBB and appellant did contract marriage. What appellant claimed is that he and BBB are merely common-law spouses ("live-in" partners), which could also qualify the offense but only if the same is alleged in each of the Informations and proven at the trial. The appellate court thus correctly held that appellant committed six (6) counts of simple rape.

People of the Philippines Vs. Romeo Bandin G.R. No. 176531 April 24, 2009

Ruling:

In this case, we find no reason to overturn the conclusion arrived at by the trial court as affirmed by the CA. It held that AAA's testimony was credible as she delivered her testimony in a clear, direct and positive manner. Through his voice, she positively identified appellant as the man who sexually abused her. Identification of an accused by his voice has been accepted, particularly in cases where, as in this case, the victim has known the perpetrator for a long time. Consequently, appellant's defense of denial and alibi must crumble in the face of AAA's positive and clear identification of him as the perpetrator of the crime. Denial and alibi cannot be given greater evidentiary value than the testimonies of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters. Positive identification destroys the defense of alibi and renders it impotent, especially where such identification is credible and categorical.

People of the Philippines Vs. Armando Padilla G.R. No. 167955 September 30, 2009

Ruling: It is clear from the Information that AAA was alleged to be a minor who was aged eleven (11) at the time of the commission of the crime and that the accused is her father. Contrary to the prosecution's asseveration, it does not matter that the private complainant's relationship with the accused was denominated as an "aggravating circumstance" and not as a "special qualifying circumstance." The Court has repeatedly held, even after the amendments to the Rules of Criminal Procedure took effect, that qualifying circumstances need not be preceded by descriptive words such as "qualifying" or "qualified by" to properly qualify an offense. The Court has repeatedly qualified cases of rape where the twin circumstances of minority and relationship have been specifically alleged in the Information even without the use of the descriptive words "qualifying" or "qualified by." In the instant case, the fact that AAA's relationship with appellant was described as "aggravating" instead of "qualifying" does not take the Information out of the purview of Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC ), as amended by Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7659 (RA 7659), which was the prevailing law at the time of the commission of the offense. Article 335 does not use the words "qualifying" or "aggravating" in enumerating the circumstances that qualify rape so as to make it a heinous crime punishable by death. It merely refers to the enumerated circumstances as "attendant circumstances." The specific allegation of the attendant circumstances in the Information, coupled with the designation of the offense and a statement of the acts constituting the offense as required in Sections 8 and 9 of Rule 110, are sufficient to warn appellant that the crime charged is qualified rape punishable by death. In the present case, the attendant circumstances of minority and relationship were specifically alleged in the Information. These allegations are sufficient to qualify the offense of rape. As to AAAs relationship with appellant, the Court agrees that the prosecution was able to prove it beyond reasonable doubt. The Information alleged that appellant is the father of AAA. Appellant, in turn, admitted during trial that AAA is her daughter. Under prevailing jurisprudence, admission in open court of relationship has been held to be sufficient and, hence, conclusive to prove relationship with the victim. However, with respect to AAA's minority, the settled rule is that there must be independent evidence proving the age of the victim, other than the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses and the absence of denial by appellant. The victim's original or duly certified birth certificate, baptismal certificate or school records would suffice as competent evidence of her age. In the instant case, aside from the testimonies of prosecution witnesses, coupled with appellant's absence of denial, no independent

substantial evidence was presented to prove the age of AAA. Neither was it shown by the prosecution that the said documents had been lost, destroyed, unavailable or were otherwise totally absent. Anent appellants failure to object to the testimony of AAA, regarding her age, the Court has held that the failure of the accused to object to the testimonial evidence regarding the rape victims age shall not be taken against him. Even the appellant's implied admission of the victim's age, in the absence of any supporting independent evidence, may not be considered sufficient to prove her age. In People v. Biong, the appellant testified as to the exact date when her daughter, the complainant, was born. However, the Court held that appellant's testimony falls short of the quantum of proof required to establish her age. As the qualifying circumstance of minority alters the nature of the crime of rape and increases the penalty thereof, it must be proved with equal certainty and clearness as the crime itself. In the present case, the Court agrees with appellant that the prosecution failed to discharge this burden. The Court finds it incredible for private complainant to trump up a charge of rape against appellant on the simple reason that she has a grudge against the latter or that she was influenced by her aunt who harbors resentment against him. No woman would cry rape, allow an examination of her private parts, subject herself to humiliation, go through the rigors of public trial and taint her good name if her claim were not true.

People of the Philipines Vs. Elmer Baldo G.R. No. 175238 February 24, 2009

Ruling: The "sweetheart theory" or "sweetheart defense" is an oft-abused 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. Moreover, even if it were true that they were sweethearts, a love affair does not justify rape. As wisely ruled in a previous case, a man does not have the unbridled license to subject his beloved to his carnal desires. AAAs failure to shout or to tenaciously resist appellant should not be taken against her since such negative assertion would not ipso facto make voluntary her submission to appellants criminal act. In rape, the force and intimidation must be viewed in the light of the victims perception and judgment at the time of the commission of the crime. As already settled in our jurisprudence, not all victims react the same way. Some people may cry out, some may faint, some may be shocked into insensibility, while others may appear to yield to the intrusion. Some may offer strong resistance while others may be too intimidated to offer any resistance at all. Moreover, resistance is not an element of rape. A rape victim has no burden to prove that she did all within her power to resist the force or intimidation employed upon her. As long as the force or intimidation is present, whether it was more or less irresistible is beside the point. In this case, the presence of a fan knife on hand or by his side speaks loudly of appellants use of violence, or force and intimidation.

People of the Philipines Vs. Roberto Abay G.R. No. 177752 February 24, 2009

Ruling: Under Section 5(b), Article III of RA 7610 in relation to RA 8353, if the victim of sexual abuse is below 12 years of age, the offender should not be prosecuted for sexual abuse but for statutory rape under Article 266-A(1)(d) of the Revised Penal Code and penalized with reclusion perpetua. On the other hand, if the victim is 12 years or older, the offender should be charged with either sexual abuse under Section 5(b) of RA 7610 or rape under Article 266-A (except paragraph 1[d]) of the Revised Penal Code. However, the offender cannot be accused of both crimes for the same act because his right against double jeopardy will be prejudiced. A person cannot be subjected twice to criminal liability for a single criminal act. Likewise, rape cannot be complexed with a violation of Section 5(b) of RA 7610. Under Section 48 of the Revised Penal Code (on complex crimes), a felony under the Revised Penal Code (such as rape) cannot be complexed with an offense penalized by a special law. In this case, the victim was more than 12 years old when the crime was committed against her. The Information against appellant stated that AAA was 13 years old at the time of the incident. Therefore, appellant may be prosecuted either for violation of Section 5(b) of RA 7610 or rape under Article 266A (except paragraph 1[d]) of the Revised Penal Code. While the Information may have alleged the elements of both crimes, the prosecutions evidence only established that appellant sexually violated the person of AAA through force and intimidation by threatening her with a bladed instrument and forcing her to submit to his bestial designs. Thus, rape was established.

People of the Philippines Vs. Alberto L. Mahinay January 20, 2009

Ruling: Either way, this Court has observed in numerous cases that lust does not respect either time or place. The evil in man has no conscience -- the beast in him bears no respect for time and place, driving him to commit rape anywhere, even in places where people congregate such as in parks, along the roadside, within school premises, and inside a house where there are other occupants. Neither do we find merit in Mahinays insistence that AAAs failure to report the incident immediately was tantamount to giving consent to the alleged act of Mahinay. Delay in revealing the commission of rape is not an indication of a fabricated charge. Many victims of rape never complain or file criminal charges against the rapist, for they prefer to silently bear the ignominy and pain, rather than reveal their shame to the world or risk the offenders making good his threats. As correctly argued by the appellee, the fact that AAA did not shout or make an outcry when there were nearby persons does not mean that she was not raped by Mahinay. The workings of the human mind under emotional stress are unpredictable; people react differently in such situations: some may shout; some may faint; some may be shocked into insensibility; others may openly welcome their intrusion. As furthermore testified to by Mahinay himself, he left his residence after he had been accused of

raping AAA, and stayed in the house of his father in Tabunok. It is settled that the flight of an accused is an indication of his guilt or of a guilty mind.

People of the Philipines Vs. Jessie Malate G.R. No. 185724 June 5, 2009

Ruling: In determining the guilt or innocence of the accused in rape cases, the Court is guided by three wellentrenched principles: (1) an accusation of rape can be made with facility and while the accusation is difficult to prove, it is even more difficult for the person accused, though innocent, to disprove the charge; (2) considering that, in the nature of things, only two persons are usually involved in the crime of rape, the testimony of the complainant should be scrutinized with great caution; and (3) the evidence of the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merit, and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense. Moreover, in cases involving the prosecution for forcible rape, the courts have consistently held that, as a general rule, corroboration of the victims testimony is not a necessary condition to a conviction for rape where the victims testimony is credible, or clear and convincing or sufficient to prove the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The weight and sufficiency of evidence are determined by the credibility, nature, and quality of the testimony. The Court finds no reason to deviate from the time-honored doctrine that the assessment of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies is a matter best undertaken by the trial court because of its unique opportunity to observe the witnesses firsthand and note their demeanor, conduct, and attitude under grilling examination. Moreover, the issue on which witness to believe is one that is best addressed by the trial court, for the findings of fact of a trial judge are accorded great respect and are seldom disturbed on appeal for having the opportunity to directly observe the witnesses, and to determine by their demeanor on the stand the probative value of their testimonies. This rule admits of exceptions, however, such as when the trial courts findings of facts and conclusions are not supported by the evidence on record, or when certain facts of substance and value that would likely change the outcome of the case have been overlooked by the trial court, or when the assailed decision is based on a misapprehension of facts. None of these exceptions exists in this case. And there is also no reason not to believe her that out of fear threatened with a knife, she had to submit herself to the carnal desire of her ravisher against her will. She was helpless alone with the knifewielding man. Her passive submission may have saved her from any physical injuries, both external and internal, but still the medical examination she allowed herself to go through says that genital findings do not exclude sexual abuse. (Exh. B-1). After all when a victim says she has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape has been committed and if her testimony meets the test of credibility, the accused may be convicted on the basis thereof. (People v. Balacano, G.R. no. 127156, July 31, 2000.) Furthermore, accused-appellant cannot plausibly bank on the minor inconsistencies in the testimony of the complainant to discredit her account of the incident. Even if they do exist, minor and insignificant inconsistencies tend to bolster, rather than weaken, the credibility of the witness for they show that his testimony was not contrived or rehearsed. Trivial inconsistencies do not rock the pedestal upon which the credibility of the witness rests, but enhances credibility as they manifest spontaneity and lack of scheming. As aptly held in the American case of State v. Erikson, the rule that a victims testimony in

sexual assault cases must be corroborated "does not apply where the inconsistency or contradiction bears upon proof not essential to the case." Well to point, even the most truthful witnesses can sometimes make mistakes, but such minor lapses do not necessarily affect their credibility. Undoubtedly, the complainants testimony has been found to be credible by the trial court and this Court finds no reason to disturb such determination. Further, it is worth noting that no married woman in her right mind would subject herself to public scrutiny and humiliation in order to perpetuate a falsehood.

People of the Philippines Vs. Felix Palgan G.R. No. 186234 December 21, 2009

Ruling: AAAs failure to resist or to cry for help during those times that she was raped cannot be taken against her. Verily, when threat, intimidation and fear are employed, as was done here by appellant, there is no need to establish physical resistance. Certainly, an added reason for her failure was her stepfathers dominance over her. In rape committed by a father against his daughter, the fathers moral ascendancy and influence over the latter substitute for violence and intimidation. The foregoing principle applies in the case of a sexual assault of a stepdaughter by her stepfather and of a goddaughter by a godfather in the sacrament of confirmation. Moreover, no woman, especially one of tender age like AAA, would concoct a rape complaint and would, at the same time, allow a gynecological examination on herself, as well as subject herself to a public trial if she were not motivated by the desire to have her offender apprehended and punished.

People of the Philippines Vs. Gualberto Cinco G.R. No. 186460 December 4, 2009

Ruling: In rape cases, failure to specify the exact dates or times when the rapes occurred does not ipso facto make the information defective on its face. The reason is obvious. The date or time of the commission of rape is not a material ingredient of the said crime because the gravamen of rape is carnal knowledge of a woman through force and intimidation. The precise time when the rape took place has no substantial bearing on its commission. As such, the date or time need not be stated with absolute accuracy. It is sufficient that the complaint or information states that the crime has been committed at any time as near as possible to the date of its actual commission. In sustaining the view that the exact date of commission of the rape is immaterial, we ruled in People v. Purazo that: We have ruled, time and again, that the date is not an essential element of the crime of rape, for the gravamen of the offense is carnal knowledge of a woman. As such, the time or place of commission in rape cases need not be accurately stated. As early as 1908, we already held that where the time or place

or any other fact alleged is not an essential element of the crime charged, conviction may be had on proof of the commission of the crime, even if it appears that the crime was not committed at the precise time or place alleged, or if the proof fails to sustain the existence of some immaterial fact set out in the complaint, provided it appears that the specific crime charged was in fact committed prior to the date of the filing of the complaint or information within the period of the statute of limitations and at a place within the jurisdiction of the court. The informations in Criminal Case No. Q-99-89097 and Q-99-89098 allege that AAA was a minor at the time she was raped. However, there is no allegation therein that the offender, herein appellant, is the common-law spouse of AAAs parent. Thus, the qualifying circumstances of minority and relationship cannot be properly appreciated. In the absence of such qualifying circumstances, the rapes in the instant cases are treated as simple rapes. Under Republic Act No. 8353, the penalty for simple rape is reclusion perpetua.

People of the Philippines Vs. Elmer Peralta G.R. No. 187531 October 16, 2009

Ruling: In a determination of guilt for the crime of rape, primordial is the credibility of complainants testimony, because, in rape cases, the accused may be convicted solely on the testimony of the victim, provided it is credible, natural, convincing, and consistent with human nature and the normal course of things. This eloquent testimony of the victim, coupled with the medical findings attesting to her nonvirgin state, should be enough to confirm the truth of her charges. Of note moreover is that the trial court, which had the undisputed vantage in the evaluation and appreciation of testimonial evidence, found the victims narration of her painful ordeal as clear, categorical, straightforward, sincere, and truthful.

People of the Philippines Vs. Elister Basmayor G.R. No. 182791 February 10, 2009

Ruling: The trial court was convinced that appellant, indeed, raped AAA not twice, but only once. Due to AAAs conflicting testimonies as to the number of times she was raped and whether her mother was present when she was allegedly raped on 9 November 2001, the trial court was compelled to dismiss Criminal Case No. 122127-H. However, as to the second rape committed on 12 November 2001, the trial court was persuaded that it happened and that appellant was the culprit. It accorded full credence to AAAs testimony as to what happened on the fateful morning of 12 November 2001. The victim identified appellant as the one who violated her honor. Her testimony was further supported by the findings of the Dr. Carpio who, upon genital examination, found fresh lacerations in her hymen at the 3:00 oclock and 6:00 oclock positions. Consistent with his findings, Dr. Carpio concluded that AAA

had lost her virginity and that the lacerations, which were about three days old, were possibly caused by the rape committed on 12 November 2001. The trial court convicted appellant only of simple rape, because the prosecution failed to establish that appellant was the common-law spouse of AAAs mother. It said that the prosecution failed to show that BBB and CCC were one and the same person. In the case at bar, even though there were inconsistencies in the testimony of AAA regarding the alleged rape committed on 9 November 2001, we find that said discrepancies did not affect her credibility when she testified on the rape committed on her on 12 November 2001. We agree with the Court of Appeals when it said that the rape committed on 12 November 2001 was separate and distinct from the one allegedly committed on 9 November 2001, and that what was essential was the consistency in the narration of the 12 November 2001 rape. Appellant was charged with statutory rape. The first element was proved by the testimony of the victim herself, while the second element was established by AAAs Certificate of Live Birth showing that she was born on 4 February 1990. AAA was eleven (11) years old when the crime was committed on 12 November 2001. We agree with the Court of Appeals that the qualifying circumstance of relationship has been sufficiently proved. The victim declared that the appellant was her mothers live-in partner. Her mother, BBB, also testified and pointed to appellant as her live-in partner. On the other hand, appellant, who calls the victim his "anak-anakan," claimed that his live-in partner was CCC, not BBB. We find that BBB and CCC are one and the same person. It is of no moment that appellant knows BBB by the name of CCC. BBB categorically identified appellant to be her live-in partner, which statement was seconded by the victim. If BBB and CCC were truly different persons, appellant could have easily presented CCC to show such reality. This, he did not do. His reliance on his declaration that his common-law wife was CCC and not BBB was fatal to his cause.

People of the Philippines Vs. Antonio Dalisay G.R. No. 188106 November 25, 2009

Ruling: This eloquent testimony of the victim, coupled with the medical findings attesting to her non-virgin state, should be enough to confirm the truth of her charges. Further, deeply entrenched in our jurisprudence is the rule that the findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses are entitled to the highest respect and are not to be disturbed on appeal in the absence of any clear showing that the trial court overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied facts or circumstances of weight and substance which would have affected the result of the case. The Court discredits appellants defense of denial for it is a negative and self-serving evidence, which pales in comparison to the victims clear and convincing narration and positive identification of her assailant. The Court, likewise, does not find merit in appellants rather belated assertion that the prosecution failed to establish force or intimidation and the resistance of the victim to the intrusion. The presence of intimidation, which is purely subjective, cannot be tested by any hard and fast rule, but should be viewed in the light of the victims perception and judgment at the time of the commission of the rape.

People of the Philippines Vs. Eduardo Aboganda G.R. No. 183565 April 8, 2009

Ruling: Thus, while the informations allege that the rapes were committed on or about the months of February and March 2000, the lack of particularity in time or date does not affect the outcome of the instant case. The allegations as to the dates of commission substantially apprised accused-appellant of the rape charges against him as the elements of rape were in the informations. He, therefore, cannot insist that he was deprived of the right to be informed of the nature of the charges against him. As the appellate court pertinently noted, the conviction of accused-appellant does not depend on the time the rapes were committed but on the credibility of AAA, whom the trial court found to have testified in a clear, straightforward, and consistent manner. Her testimony outweighs accused-appellants weak defense of alibi. He may be convicted on the sole testimony of the victim, provided that such testimony is credible, natural, convincing, and consistent with human nature and the normal course of things, a factor which exists in the present case. Moreover, accused-appellant belatedly raised his argument on appeal. In the similar case of People v. Mauro, the accused gave a "not guilty" plea upon arraignment instead of questioning the so-called defect in the information against him. We observed in Mauro that if the accused really believed in the allegedly defective information and the prejudice to his rights, he should have filed a motion for bill of particulars before his arraignment. We, thus, also rule in the instant case that it is too late for accusedappellant to protest the imprecise dates found in the informations against him.

People of the Philippines Vs. Salvino Sumingwa G.R. No. 183619 October 13, 2009

Ruling: In rape cases particularly, the conviction or acquittal of the accused most often depends almost entirely on the credibility of the complainants testimony. By the very nature of this crime, it is generally unwitnessed and usually the victim is left to testify for herself. When a rape victims testimony is straightforward and marked with consistency despite grueling examination, it deserves full faith and confidence and cannot be discarded. If such testimony is clear, consistent and credible to establish the crime beyond reasonable doubt, a conviction may be based on it, notwithstanding its subsequent retraction. Mere retraction by a prosecution witness does not necessarily vitiate her original testimony. Clearly, the retraction made by the Victim is heavily unreliable. The primordial factor that impelled the Victim to retract the rape charges against her father was her fear and concern for the welfare of her family especially her four (4) siblings. It does not go against reason or logic to conclude that a daughter, in hopes of bringing back the harmony in her family tormented by the trauma of rape, would eventually cover for the dastardly acts committed by her own father. Verily, the Victims subsequent retraction does not negate her previous testimonies accounting her ordeal in the hands for (sic) her rapist.

In her direct testimony, AAA stated that appellant removed her short pants and panty, went on top of her and rubbed his penis against her vaginal orifice. She resisted by crossing her legs but her effort was not enough to prevent appellant from pulling her leg and eventually inserting his penis into her vagina. Clearly, there was penetration. It is noteworthy that appellant pulled AAAs leg, so that he could insert his penis into her vagina. This adequately shows that appellant employed force in order to accomplish his purpose. Moreover, in rape committed by a father against his own daughter, the formers moral ascendancy and influence over the latter may substitute for actual physical violence and intimidation. The moral and physical dominion of the father is sufficient to cow the victim into submission to his beastly desires, and no further proof need be shown to prove lack of the victims consent to her own defilement. While appellants conviction was primarily based on the prosecutions testimonial evidence, the same was corroborated by physical evidence consisting of the medical findings of the medico-legal officer that there were hymenal lacerations. When a rape victims account is straightforward and candid, and is corroborated by the medical findings of the examining physician, the same is sufficient to support a conviction for rape. Aside from the fact of commission of rape, the prosecution likewise established that appellant is the biological father of AAA and that the latter was then fifteen (15) years old. Thus, the CA aptly convicted him of qualified rape, defined and penalized by Article 266-B of the RPC. AAA testified that in November 2000, while she and appellant were inside the bedroom, he went on top of her and rubbed his penis against her vaginal orifice until he ejaculated. She likewise stated in open court that on May 27, 2001, while inside their comfort room, appellant rubbed his penis against her vagina while they were in a standing position. In both instances, there was no penetration, or even an attempt to insert his penis into her vagina. The aforesaid acts of the appellant are covered by the definitions of "sexual abuse" and "lascivious conduct" under Section 2(g) and (h) of the Rules and Regulations on the Reporting and Investigation of Child Abuse Cases promulgated to implement the provisions of R.A. 7610: (g) "Sexual abuse" includes the employment, use,persuasion, inducement, enticementor coercionof a child to engage in, or assist another person to engage in, sexualintercourse or lascivious conductor the molestation, prostitution, or incestwith children; (h) "Lascivious conduct" means the intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks, or the introduction of any object into the genitalia, anus or mouth, of any person, whether of the same or opposite sex, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, bestiality, masturbation, lascivious exhibition of the genitals or public area of a person. Following the "variance doctrine" embodied in Section 4, in relation to Section 5, Rule 120 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, appellant can be found guilty of the lesser crime of Acts of Lasciviousness committed against a child. The pertinent provisions read: Sec. 4. Judgment in case of variance between allegation and proof. When there is variance between the offense charged in the complaint or information and that proved, and the offense as charged is included in or necessarily includes the offense proved, the accused shall be convicted of the offense proved which is included in the offense charged, or of the offense charged which is included in the offense proved. Sec. 5. When an offense includes or is included in another. An offense charged necessarily includes the offense proved when some of the essential elements or ingredients of the former, as alleged in the complaint or information, constitute the latter. And 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. As the crime was committed by the father of the offended party, the alternative circumstance of relationship should be appreciated. In crimes against chastity, such as Acts of Lasciviousness, relationship is always aggravating. The attempt that the RPC punishes is that which has a logical connection to a particular, concrete offense; and that which is the beginning of the execution of the offense by overt acts of the perpetrator, leading directly to its realization and consummation. In the instant case, the primary question that comes to the fore is whether or not appellants act of removing AAAs pants constituted an overt act of Rape. We answer in the negative. Overt or external act has been defined as some physical activity or deed, indicating the intention to commit a particular crime, more than a mere planning or preparation, which if carried out to its complete termination following its natural course, without being frustrated by external obstacles nor by the voluntary desistance of the perpetrator, will logically and necessarily ripen into a concrete offense.

People of the Philippines Vs. Domingo Araojo G.R. No. 185203 September 17, 2009

Ruling: Testimonies of child-victims are normally given full weight and credit, since when a girl, particularly if she is a minor, says that she has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape has in fact been committed. When the offended party is of tender age and immature, courts are inclined to give credit to her account of what transpired, considering not only her relative vulnerability but also the shame to which she would be exposed if the matter to which she testified is not true. Youth and immaturity are generally badges of truth and sincerity. Where the victim is below 12 years old, the only subject of inquiry is whether "carnal knowledge" took place. Proof of force, threat or intimidation is unnecessary since none of these is an element of statutory rape. There is statutory rape where, as in this case, the offended party is below 12 years of age. In light of this perspective, the absence of a struggle or an outcry from AAA, if this really be the case, vis--vis the first three, i.e., 1997, 1998 and 1999, dastardly attacks, would not carry the day for Araojo. The Court is not convinced. To start with, full penile penetration, which would ordinarily result in hymenal rupture or laceration of the vagina of a girl of tender years, is not a consummating ingredient in the crime of rape. The mere knocking at the door of the pudenda by the accuseds penis suffices to constitute the crime of rape. And given AAAs unwavering testimony as to her ordeal in the hands of Araojo, the Court cannot accord merit to the argument that the lack of physical manifestation of rape weakens the case against Araojo. The medical report on AAA is only corroborative of the finding of rape. The absence of external signs or physical injuries on the complainants body does not necessarily negate the commission of rape, hymenal laceration not being, to repeat, an element of the crime of rape. A healed or fresh laceration would of course be a compelling proof of defloration. What is more, the foremost consideration in the prosecution of rape is the victims testimony and not the findings of the medico-legal officer. In fact, a medical examination of the victim is not indispensable in a prosecution for rape; the victims testimony alone, if credible, is sufficient to convict.

People of the Philipines Vs. Richard Sulima G.R. No. 183702 February 10, 2009

Ruling: AAAs failure to offer any kind of resistance to her abuser is of no moment and cannot in any way affect the credibility of her testimony. Rape is perpetrated when the accused has carnal knowledge of the victim through the use of force or threats or intimidation. It must be stressed that the resistance of the victim is not an element of the crime, and it need not be established by the prosecution. In any event, the failure of the victim to shout or to offer tenacious resistance does not make the sexual congress voluntary. Indeed, rape victims have no uniform reaction: some may offer strong resistance; others may be too intimidated to offer any resistance at all.

People of the Philippines Vs. Pedro Nogpo G.R. No. 184791 April 16, 2009

Ruling: Further weakening accused-appellants defense, even assuming arguendo that they were lovers, is that rape could still have been committed if he had carnal knowledge with private complainant against her will. This Court has consistently ruled that a "love affair" does not justify rape, for the beloved cannot be sexually violated against her will. A sweetheart cannot be forced to have sex against her will love is not a license for lust. The defense blames private complainant for not duly resisting accused-appellant, considering that she was an adult woman of 33 years while accused-appellant was only 22, drunk and unarmed. Suffice it to say that in rape cases, the law does not impose a burden on the private complainant to prove resistance. The degree of force and resistance is relative, depending on the circumstances of each case and on the physical capabilities of each party. It is well settled that the force or violence required in rape cases is relative; when applied, it need not be overpowering or irresistible. When force is an element of the crime of rape, it need not be irresistible; it need but 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. Accused-appellant also faults private complainant, considering her failure to tell her husband BBB on 9 March 2001 that she was allegedly raped that morning. The records of the case elucidate on this matter. To recall, private complainant kept on crying the entire day of the incident. And while she was not able to tell her husband directly what had happened, probably due to the unbearable pain of personally telling her husband, she did not hesitate to tell his mother that she was raped. The testimony of private complainant was given in an honest and believable manner, devoid of any hint of falsity or attempt at fabrication. The trial court observed the demeanor and deportment of private complainant when she testified in court and narrated her ordeal, and it noted that she was candid, frank and straightforward in her answers to questions relating to her harrowing experience, but that she felt embarrassed, would often cry and hesitated, or sometimes would not answer some questions even if the case was tried in a

closed door hearing, where only the proper parties were allowed inside the court. In several instances, her testimony was interrupted by fits of crying and outbursts of emotion, leaving no room for doubt that she was truthful in her narration of events. The incident occurred in a 1-meter x 2-meter wooden bed with a 3-month-old baby inside a 3-meter x 3-meter room, while the rest of the children were sleeping in the dining room of a small house, which barely had a floor area of 40 square meters. While private complainant was struggling to repel the attack against her honor, her 3-month-old baby was crying loudly. However, this was not impossible, as lust respects no time and place. In People v. Agbayani, the Court stated that "(t)he evil in man has no conscience. The beast in him bears no respect for time and place; it drives him to commit rape anywhere -- even in places where people congregate such as in parks, along the roadside, within school premises, and inside a house where there are other occupants." The crime of rape may be committed even when the rapist and the private complainant are not alone. Rape may take only a short time to consummate, given the anxiety of its discovery, especially when committed near sleeping persons. Oblivious to the goings on, thus, the court has held that rape is not impossible even if committed in the same room while the rapists spouse is sleeping or in a small room where other family members also sleep. It was not impossible or incredible for the members of the complainants family to be in deep slumber and not to be awakened while the brutish sexual assault on her was being committed.

2008

People of the Philippines Vs. Reynaldo Dela Torre G.R. No. 176637 October 6, 2008

Ruling: The Court agrees. Conspiracy exists when the acts of the accused demonstrate a common design towards the accomplishment of the same unlawful purpose. In the present case, the acts of Dela Torre, Bisaya, and Amoroso clearly indicate a unity of action: (1) Dela Torre called AAA and brought her inside the jeep; (2) Bisaya and Amoroso were waiting inside the jeep; (3) Dela Torre kissed and touched AAA while Bisaya and Amoroso watched; (4) Dela Torre passed AAA to Bisaya; (5) Bisaya kissed and touched AAA while Dela Torre and Amoroso watched; (6) Bisaya passed AAA to Amoroso; and (7) Amoroso inserted his penis in AAA's vagina and kissed her while Dela Torre and Bisaya watched. Since there was conspiracy among Dela Torre, Bisaya, and Amoroso, the act of any one was the act of all and each of them is equally guilty of all the crimes committed.

People of the Philippines Vs. Ricardo Talan G.R. No. 177354 November 14, 2008

Ruling:

In People v. Ibarrientos, the Court held that: The allegation in the information x x x that the appellant is an uncle of the victim is not specific enough to satisfy the special qualifying circumstance of relationship. We have previously ruled, and now we reiterate, that it is necessary to spell out in the Information for rape that the accused is a "relative within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity" as stated in Article 266-B. Without such averment, the Information x x x falls short of the statutory requirement for the imposition of capital punishment on the offender. Factual allegations in the information do not need to be referred to as "qualifying circumstances," in order to appreciate them as such and raise the penalty. However, these factual allegations must be specified completely, in order to fully inform the accused of the circumstances which warrant the imposition of a higher offense. Otherwise, such circumstances cannot be appreciated to qualify the offense. In the present case, the information in Criminal Case No. L-3373 merely states that Talan abducted and raped his "niece" without specifying that Talan is a relative of the victim within the third degree of consanguinity. In any event, the penalty for simple rape is still reclusion perpetua.

People of the Philippines Vs. Rogelio Pelagio G.R. No. 173052 December 16, 2008

Ruling: Appellant harps on the alleged statements of the examining physician that there were no external injuries on AAA's body or that the laceration on her hymen could be caused by many factors. Case law has it that in view of the intrinsic nature of rape, the only evidence that can be offered to prove the guilt of the offender is the testimony of the offended party. Even absent a medical certificate, her testimony, standing alone, can be made the basis of conviction if such testimony is credible. Moreover, the absence of external injuries does not negate rape. In fact, even the absence of spermatozoa is not an essential element of rape. This is because in rape, the important consideration is not the emission of semen but the penetration of the female genitalia by the male organ.

People of the Philippines Vs. Roger Mendoza G.R. No. 180501 December 24, 2008

Ruling: The right to speedy trial, as an adjunct to the right of all persons to a speedy disposition of their cases before judicial and quasi-judicial bodies, requires that court proceedings should be conducted according to fixed rules and must be free from vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays. The same right may also be considered violated when unjustified postponements of the trial are asked for and secured; or when without cause or justifiable motive, a long period of time is allowed to elapse without the parties having their case tried. None of these circumstances are, to us, present in the instant case. While perhaps there might have been delays, accused-appellant does not state in some detail what or who caused the delays, or whether these are of the vexatious or oppressive kind.

What is more, accused-appellant belatedly invoked his right to speedy trial only before the CA. The proceedings cannot now be claimed to be attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays. Accused-appellant cannot plausibly seek the protection of the law to benefit from the adverse effects of his failure to assert his right at the first instance. The Court need not belabor the issue of whether or not accused-appellant is guilty of rape which in turn resolves itself into the question of whether or not he inserted his fingers into AAAs sexual organ. The issue has been peremptorily answered in the negative by the CA, basing its resolution on the relevant finding of the examining doctor and on the testimony of AAA, who, at best, was tentative in her response when queried about the finger-insertion aspect of the incident. Also, the People does not challenge the determination. And precisely because of the fact of non-insertion that the appellate court was impelled, and rightly so, to downgrade the criminal act to acts of lasciviousness. The records appear to support the appellate courts modificatory action. Consider the following answer given by AAA to the prosecutions question: "Where did Roger touch you?" AAA pointed to the vagina of a female figure she had drawn. Absent any showing of the actual insertion of the finger in the private part of the child, there can be no consummated rape. Thus, the failure of the prosecution to establish accused-appellants guilt for rape notwithstanding, this Court finds him liable for the lesser crime of acts of lasciviousness. This latter crime is considered an offense included or subsumed in the rape charge. Thus in Dulla v. Court of Appeals and People v. Bon, the Supreme Court convicted the accused with the crime of acts of lasciviousness even though the information charged the crime of rape.

People of the Philippines Vs. Mario Martin G.R. No. 172069 January 30, 2008

Ruling: The Rules of Court requires that grounds for objection must be specified, whether orally or in writing. The result of violating this rule has been spelled out by this Court in a number of cases. In Krohn v. Court of Appeals, the counsel for the petitioner objected to the testimony of private respondent on the ground that it was privileged but did not question the testimony as hearsay. We held that "in failing to object to the testimony on the ground that it was hearsay, counsel waived his right to make such objection and, consequently, the evidence offered may be admitted." In Tan Machan v. De la Trinidad, the defendant assailed as error the admission of plaintiff's book of account. We rejected the contention and ruled that an appellate court will not consider any other ground of objection not made at the time the books were admitted in evidence. In the case at bar, the respondent did not assail in the trial court the hearsay character of the documents in question. It is too late in the day to raise the question on appeal. It is undisputed that AAA is a mental retardate. This was shown in the psychological evaluation report wherein she was found to have an IQ of 41.8. Even appellant admitted his daughters "handicap" in his testimony. However, despite her age and retardation, she was still able to communicate her experience in a sufficiently coherent and detailed manner. She clearly stated that appellant touched her breasts, removed her clothes and underwear, touched her vagina and inserted his penis in her vagina. Her narration was as natural and straightforward as could be, considering her mental deficiency. If there were instances when her answers were inaccurate or unresponsive, these did not make her testimony any less credible. Even children of normal intelligence cannot be expected to give a precise account of events considering their naivet and still undeveloped vocabulary and command of language. Yet, despite her limitations, AAA never wavered in her testimony.

People of the Philippines Vs. Elmer Glivano G.R. No. 177565 January 28, 2008 Ruling: The delay in the reporting of the crime, the absence of a threat on the life of the victim, and the presence of other occupants in the house cannot weaken the force of the victims clear and convincing statements. Jurisprudence states that the delay in reporting the commission of rape is not an indication of a fabricated charge. The charge is beclouded - only if the delay is unreasonable and unexplained. Often, victims would rather bear the ignominy and the pain in private than reveal their shame to the world. Likewise, a stepfather, who exercises moral and physical ascendancy over his stepdaughter, need not make any threat against her because the latter is cowed into submission when gripped with the fear of refusing the advances of a person she customarily obeys. Rape may, likewise, be committed in a room adjacent to where the victim's family is sleeping, or even in a room shared with other people. There is no rule that rape can only be committed in seclusion.

Emilio Campos Vs. People of the Philippines G.R. No. 175275 February 19, 2008

Ruling: Further, resistance is not an element of rape and the absence thereof is not tantamount to consent. If resistance would nevertheless be futile because of intimidation, then offering none at all does not mean consent to the assault so as to make the victims submission to the sexual act voluntary. Established is the rule that the testimonies of rape victims, especially child victims, are given full weight and credit. It bears emphasis that the victim was barely thirteen when she was raped. In a litany of cases, this Court has applied the well-settled rule that when a woman, more so if she is a minor, says that she has been raped, she says, in effect, all that is necessary to prove that rape was committed, for as long as her testimony meets the test of credibility. No young girl, indeed, would concoct a sordid tale of so serious a crime as rape at the hands of a close kin, undergo medical examination, then subject herself to the stigma and embarrassment of a public trial, if her motive were other than an earnest desire to seek justice. This holds true especially where the complainant is a minor, whose testimony deserves full credence.

People of the Philippines Vs. Nido Garte G.R. No. 176152 November 25, 2008

Ruling: Accused-appellant's reliance on the alleged discrepancies between [AAA]'s Sinumpaang Salaysay and handwritten sworn affidavit on the number of times she was raped is untenable. We take note of the steadfast doctrine prevailing in our criminal justice system that inconsistencies found in the ex parte affidavits do not necessarily downgrade the credibility of a witness. Almost always, ex parte affidavits are considered incomplete and often inaccurate. They are products sometimes of partial suggestions and at other times of want of suggestions and inquiries, without the aid of which witnesses may be unable to recall the connected circumstances necessary for accurate recollection. In the same manner, we rule that the alleged inconsistency with respect to the weapons used in the commission of the rapes is likewise unavailing as we find the same as a mere extraneous matter and does not remove the fact that the crime of rape was repeatedly committed by the accused-appellant against the victim through the use of force and intimidation More specifically on the kind of weapon used by appellant to threaten AAA, AAA's claims bearing thereon are not necessarily conflicting. AAA corrected herself by pointing out that aside from the knife, appellant also threatened her with a gun. If the defense wanted to impeach AAA, it should have followed the procedure laid down by Rules of Court by laying the predicate. No such effort was done, however. It bears emphasizing that in a rape committed by a father against his own daughter, the former's moral ascendancy and influence sufficiently takes the place of violence or intimidation. Under the same circumstances, proof of force and violence is not even essential, because the moral and physical ascendancy of the father over his daughter is sufficient to cow her into submission to his bestial desires.

People of the Philippines Vs. Jimmy Tabio G.R. No. 179477 February 6, 2008

Ruling: AAA never wavered in her assertion that appellant raped her. AAAs testimony is distinctively clear, frank and definite without any pretension or hint of a concocted story despite her low intelligence as can be gleaned from her answers in the direct examination. The fact of her mental retardation does not impair the credibility of her unequivocal testimony. AAAs mental deficiency lends greater credence to her testimony for someone as feeble-minded and guileless as her could not speak so tenaciously and explicitly on the details of the rape if she has not in fact suffered such crime at the hands of the appellant.

AAAs testimony on these two later rapes was overly generalized and lacked many specific details on how they were committed. Her bare statement that appellant repeated what he had done to her the first time is inadequate to establish beyond reasonable doubt the alleged second and third rapes. Whether or not he raped her is the fact in issue which the court must determine based on the evidence offered. The prosecution must demonstrate in sufficient detail the manner by which the crime was perpetrated. Certainly, the testimony of AAA to the effect that the appellant repeated what he did in the first rape would not be enough to warrant the conclusion that the second and third rape had indeed been committed. Each and every charge of rape is a separate and distinct crime so that each of them should be proven beyond reasonable doubt. The quantum of evidence in criminal cases requires more than that. x x x Be that as it may, however, on the bases of the evidence adduced by the prosecution, appellant can be convicted only of the two rapes committed in November, [sic] 1990 and on July 21, 1994 as testified to by complainant, and for the eight counts of rape committed in May and June and on July 16, 1994 as admitted in appellants aforementioned letter of August 24, 1994. We cannot agree with the trial court that appellant is guilty of 183 counts of rape because, as correctly asserted by the defense, each and every charge of rape is a separate and distinct crime so that each of them should be proven beyond reasonable doubt. On that score alone, the indefinite testimonial evidence that complainant was raped every week is decidedly inadequate and grossly insufficient to establish the guilt of appellant therefore with the required quantum of evidence. So much of such indefinite imputations of rape, which are uncorroborated by any other evidence, fall within this category.(Emphasis supplied)

People of the Philippines Vs. Marcelino Ramos G.R. No. 179030 June 12, 2008

Ruling: That appellant never sexually molested his other daughters and that AAA had a boyfriend are inconsequential facts that do not cast a doubt on AAA's claim that appellant raped her several times.

People of the Philippines Vs. Conrado Diocado G.R. No. 170567 November 14, 2008

Ruling: She remained steadfast in this narration and her identification of Diocado as the perpetrator despite the rigorous cross-examination she underwent. Her credibility was strengthened when she cried at certain points of her testimony as she related the details of the rape. It was further reinforced by its marked compatibility with the physical evidence reflected in Dr. Capellan's findings. These findings were consistent with her testimony that she was made to bend down while Diocado held her by the waist as she was raped.

we cannot avoid considering that this is a case where AAA is pitted against the testimonies of her stepfather and her own mother. What is involved, however, is not a straight line weighing of statements against statements, with two statements being always better than one. In a court of law, we look at the totality of the evidence adduced and we weigh these using the scales of reason, experience and credibility based on insights into the human character, all made within the parameters of the law. All these now tell us that, under the circumstances of this case, the mother's word cannot prevail against the word of her wronged daughter. The testimonial evidence of rape, supported by convincing physical evidence, cannot be defeated by a mother's contrary testimony. That CCC was in fact at home in the afternoon of February 7, 1998 does not negate the commission of the rape. Time and again, we have declared that lust is no respecter of time and place. It is a master that does not recognize decency or morality but cares only for the fulfillment of its selfish desires. CCC's changing testimonies also tell us that at some point she might have chosen the practical option of siding with the husband who provides for her and her family. Thus, we cannot give credit to what CCC, as mother, said with respect to her daughter's charge of sexual abuse in the hands of her stepfather.

People of the Philippines Vs. Ramon Arivan G.R. No. 176065 April 22, 2008

Ruling: This Court is in conformity with the findings of both the trial court and the appellate court that, indeed, the appellant and the private complainant were not sweethearts. The "sweetheart defense" is a muchabused defense that rashly derides the intelligence of the Court and sorely tests its patience. Being an affirmative defense, the allegation of a love affair must be supported by convincing proof. In the present case, other than the appellants self-serving assertions, there was no support of his claim that he and AAA were lovers. His "sweetheart defense" cannot be given credence in the absence of corroborative proof like love notes, mementos, pictures or tokens, that such romantic relationship really existed. More so, as the appellate court stated in its Decision, the following circumstances or actuations of the private complainant immediately after the alleged raped incident belies appellants claim of such a relationship, to wit: (1) AAA immediately disclosed to her uncle that she was raped; (2) AAA immediately sought the help of the police authorities in apprehending the appellant; (3) AAA subjected herself to physical examination; (4) AAA outrightly filed the criminal complaint against the appellant; and (5) AAA never knew the name of the appellant until after the appellants statement was taken at Police Station 6. In addition, the corroborative testimony of Rizaldy that the private complainant and the appellant were sweethearts cannot be given any credit because of his relationship with the appellant. This Court notes that Rizaldy is the brother of the appellant and it is well settled that the testimonies of close relatives and friends are necessarily suspect and cannot prevail over the unequivocal declaration of the complaining witness. The law does not impose upon a rape victim the burden of proving resistance, particularly when intimidation is exercised upon the victim and the latter submits herself to the appellants advances out of fear for her life or personal safety. The test remains to be whether the threat or intimidation produces a reasonable fear in the mind of the victim that if she resists or does not yield to the desires of her attacker, the threat would be carried out. It is thus not necessary for the victim to have resisted unto death or to have sustained physical injuries in the hands of the accused. So long as the intercourse takes place against the victims will and she submits because of genuine apprehension of harm to her and her family, rape is committed. It is well-settled that the rupture of the hymen or vaginal lacerations are not necessary for rape to be consummated. A medical examination is not indispensable in the prosecution of a rape victim. Insofar

as the evidentiary weight of the medical examination is concerned, we have already ruled that a medical examination of the victim, as well as the medical certificate, is merely corroborative in character and is not an indispensable element for conviction in rape. What is important is that the testimony of private complainant about the incident is clear, unequivocal and credible, and this we find here to be the case. Further, well-settled is the rule that prior sexual intercourse which could have resulted in hymenal laceration is not necessary in rape cases for virginity is not an element of rape. Hence, it is of no moment that there is a finding that AAAs hymen was remnant. Similarly, it must be stressed that the absence of spermatozoa in the private complainants sex organ does not disprove rape. It could be that the victim washed or urinated prior to her examination, which may well explain the absence of spermatozoa.

People of the Philippines Vs. Arturo Domingo G.R. No. 177136 June 30, 2008

Ruling: To begin with, let it be emphasized that delay in reporting a case of rape is not always to be taken as an ostensible badge of a fabricated charge. A rape charge becomes doubtful only when the delay in revealing its commission is unreasonable and unexplained. In this case, AAAs reluctance and hesitation in breaking her agonizing silence were sufficiently established by her testimony that appellant was able to instill fear in her by threatening to kill her mother should the incidents be made known to anyone. Such intimidation is sufficient to cower AAA and make her choose to suffer privately instead of disclosing her sordid tale of abuse in the hands of appellant. Settled is the theory that delay or hesitation in reporting the abuse due to the threats of the assailant is justified and must not be taken against the victim, since it is not uncommon that a rape victim conceal for some time the assault against her person on account of fear of the threats posed by her assailant. Especially in cases where, as in this case, both the offender and the offended party are living under the same roof and are thus expected to give solace and protection to each other, the offender can easily build an atmosphere of psychological terror that effectively numbs the victim to silence. In these cases, it is fear, not reason, which abounds in the mind of the victim both at the time of the assaults and thereafter. Inasmuch as intimidation is addressed to the victims mind, response thereto and the effect thereof naturally cannot be measured against any hard-and-fast rule such that it must be viewed in the context of the victims perception and judgment not only at the time of the commission of the crime but also at the time immediately thereafter. The threat and intimidation in this case, at least in the mind of AAA, were made even more real by the fact that at the time she was being ravished, a knife was drawn to her side which by itself was sufficient to animate her fear that appellant was seriously bent on actualizing his threat of physical harm, or at the very least it placed AAA in a confused situation that effectively sealed her lips for some time. It is thus not strange that it actually took her two long years before she could muster enough courage in taking the bold step towards her expiation, that is, when she has finally decided to join the cause of her own sister who, for an attempted rape, lost no t ime in filing a complaint against appellant. Affidavits or sworn statements are usually incomplete since they are often prepared by administering officers who cast the same in their language and understanding of what the affiant has said. Most of the time, they are products of partial suggestions and sometimes of want of suggestions and searching

inquiries without the aid of which witnesses may be unable to recall the circumstances necessary for an accurate recollection. Thus, AAAs belated claim that appellant poked a knife at her in all three instances of rape cannot be taken to hurt the credibility of her testimony. Be that as it may, such lapse in AAAs own narrative does not go into any of the elemental acts necessary to make a reasonable conclusion that appellant is guilty indeed of the charges. One important note. As correctly ruled by the appellate court, appellant should be sentenced to suffer the penalty corresponding to only simple rape for it is settled that the minority of the victim and her relationship to the offender must be both alleged in the charging sheets and proved with certainty. These qualifying circumstances do not obtain in the present case for although the criminal informations allege that appellant is the stepfather of AAA, there is nothing in the evidence that supports the same. The stepfather-stepdaughter relationship as a qualifying circumstance presupposes that the victims mother and the accused are married to each other. AAA herself stated that appellant is her stepfather but the prosecution did not submit any proof that BBB, AAAs mother, and appellant are indeed married to each other. Appellant for his part claimed that he and BBB are merely common-law spouses ("live-in" partners) which could also qualify the offense but only if the same is alleged in the informations and proven at the trial. In the same way, the circumstance pertaining to AAAs minority cannot likewise be taken into account for failure of the prosecution to prove the same with certainty. People v. Barcena, citing People v. Pruna, laid down the following guidelines in appreciating the age of the victim in rape cases. It held that the original or certified true copy of birth certificate is the best evidence to prove the age of the victim in the absence of which similar authentic documents--i.e., baptismal certificate and school recordsshowing the victims date of birth may be submitted to the court; that should the foregoing be not available on account of loss or destruction, the credible testimony of the mother or any relative by consanguinity or affinity qualified to testify on matters respecting pedigree shall be sufficient under certain conditions; and that if all the foregoing cannot be obtained, the testimony of the victim will suffice provided that it is expressly and clearly admitted by the accused. In this case, the prosecution did not submit any proof that AAA was a minor at the time the rapes were committed, except the testimony of AAA herself which however has not been admitted by appellant as in fact the latter in his testimony claimed that he had no knowledge of AAAs age at the time.

People of the Philippines Vs. Joselito Lopit G.R. No. 177742 December 17, 2008

Ruling: Explicitly, when the accused pleads guilty to a capital offense, the court shall conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and full comprehension of the consequences of his plea and require the prosecution to prove his guilt and the precise degree of his culpability. The accused may also present evidence on his behalf. Under the foregoing Rule, three things are enjoined upon the trial court when a plea of guilty to a capital offense is entered: (1) the court must conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness of the plea and the accused's full comprehension of the consequences thereof; (2) the court must require the prosecution to present evidence to prove the guilt of the accused and the precise degree of his culpability; and (3) the court must ask the accused if he desires to present evidence on his behalf and allow him to do so if he desires. Clearly, Section 3, Rule 116 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure was not satisfactorily complied with. The trial court should have taken the necessary measures to see to it that accused-appellant really and freely comprehended the meaning, full significance and consequences of his plea but it did not. It

failed to explain to accused-appellant that the penalty imposable for the crime attended by the qualifying circumstance of minority and filiation, as alleged in the Information against him, is death, whether or not he pleads guilty and regardless of the presence of other mitigating circumstances. Accused-appellant's justification that he had no money to defend his case and his belief that the penalty would be reduced if he pleaded guilty were not sufficient reasons for the trial court to allow a change of plea from not guilty to one of guilty. It was the duty of the judge to see to it that the accused did not labor under this mistaken impression. Still, the trial court's shortcomings will not necessarily result in accused-appellant's acquittal. The evidence for the prosecution, independently of accused-appellant's plea of guilty, adequately established his guilt beyond reasonable doubt as charged in the Informations. The testimony of the victim AAA is worthy of belief and enough to convict accused-appellant. She testified in a candid, straightforward and categorical manner. In the prosecution of criminal cases, especially those involving the extreme penalty of death, nothing but proof beyond reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to constitute the crime with which an accused is charged must be established. Qualifying circumstances or special qualifying circumstances must be proved with equal certainty and clearness as the crime itself; otherwise, there can be no conviction of the crime in its qualified form. As a qualifying circumstance of the crime of rape, the concurrence of the victim's minority and her relationship to the accused-appellant must be both alleged and proven beyond reasonable doubt. Here, the Information alleged the concurrence of the victim's minority and her relationship to accusedappellant. However, except for the bare testimony of the victim and her mother as to the former's age as well as their filiation to the accused-appellant, no birth certificate or baptismal certificate or school record and marriage contract exist on record to prove beyond reasonable doubt the victim's age or her minority at the time of the commission of the offense.

People of the Philippines Vs. Jose Magbanua G.R. No. 176265 April 30, 2008

Ruling: The Court of Appeals correctly observed that since the second sexual assault occurred on 13 January 1999, Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 8353, otherwise known as "The Anti-Rape Law of 1997" which took effect on 22 October 1997, should have been applied. Under that law, the insertion of ones finger into the genital of another already constitutes rape through sexual assault. Appellant would have been convicted of consummated rape for inserting his finger into the vagina of AAA were it not for the fact that the information charged him with attempted rape only. This being so, he cannot be convicted of the graver offense of rape by sexual assault. Nevertheless, appellant can be convicted of acts of lasciviousness because said crime is included in attempted rape.

People of the Philippines Vs. Luis Aycardo G.R. No. 168299 October 6, 2008

Ruling: Considering that private complainant was 9 years old at the time the first rape was allegedly committed and was 10 years old during the second and third rape incidents, the three counts of rape fall under paragraph 3 of Art. 335 of the Revised Penal Code. Carnal knowledge of a girl under 12 years old is statutory rape. Consent of the offended party is immaterial as she is presumed not to have any will of her own, being of tender age. The fact that the offended party is under 12 years old at the time of the commission of the crime is an essential element of the crime and must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. In statutory rape, violence or intimidation is not required, and the only subject of inquiry is whether carnal knowledge took place. Youth and immaturity are generally badges of truth and sincerity. No sane girl would concoct a story of defloration, allow an examination of her private parts and subject herself to public trial or ridicule if she has not, in truth, been a victim of rape, and thus impelled to seek justice for the wrong done to her. The weight of her testimony may be countered by physical evidence to the contrary, or indubitable proof that the accused could not have committed the rape, but in the absence of such countervailing proof, the testimony shall be accorded utmost value.

People of the Philippines Vs. Michael Muro G.R. No. 176263 December 24, 2008

Ruling: (ACQUITTED) It is settled that the absence of external signs of injuries on the private complainants body does not negate the commission of rape nor does it signify lack of resistance by private complainant to the sexual act, proof of injury not being an essential element of the crime of rape. The uncorroborated testimony of the victim in a rape case may, under certain circumstances, be adequate to warrant conviction. The testimony must, however, be clear, impeccable and ring true throughout or bear the stamp of absolute candor, free from any serious contradictions. Such inexplicable discrepancies on important details vis a vis the result of her physical examination which bears no indication of the commission of sexual intercourse committed hours earlier nag the Court to entertain serious doubts on whether appellant committed the crime charged. The Courts doubts are reinforced by prosecution witness Bermes following observation, viz: ATTY. JAO: Mr. witness, when you saw the victim, [AAA], how [did] she looks [sic]? A: Q: Very tired, sir. Was she crying? A: No, sir.

Q: A:

How about her clothes?

A bit alright, sir. (Underscoring supplied.),

which do not indicate the commission of rape in a watery area. That appellant even fetched BBB and accompanied her to the barangay hall where AAA was, a fact attested even by the prosecution witnesses, seals the doubts on whether he had hours earlier raped AAA.

People of the Philippines Vs. Jerry Nazareno G.R. No. 167756 April 8, 2008

Ruling: The argument is specious. An information is intended to inform an accused of the accusations against him in order that he could adequately prepare his defense. Verily, an accused cannot be convicted of an offense unless it is clearly charged in the complaint or information. Thus, to ensure that the constitutional right of the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him is not violated, the information should state the name of the accused; the designation given to the offense by the statute; a statement of the acts or omissions so complained of as constituting the offense; the name of the offended party; the approximate time and date of the commission of the offense; and the place where the offense has been committed. Further, it must embody the essential elements of the crime charged by setting forth the facts and circumstances that have a bearing on the culpability and liability of the accused, so that he can properly prepare for and undertake his defense. However, it is not necessary for the information to allege the date and time of the commission of the crime with exactitude unless time is an essential ingredient of the offense. In People v. Bugayong, the Court held that when the time given in the information is not the essence of the offense, the time need not be proven as alleged; and that the complaint will be sustained if the proof shows that the offense was committed at any time within the period of the statute of limitations and before the commencement of the action. In People v. Gianan, the Court ruled that the time of the commission of rape is not an element of the said crime as it is defined in Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code. The gravamen of the crime is the fact of carnal knowledge under any of the circumstances enumerated therein, i.e.: (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. In accordance with Rule 110, Section 11 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure, as long as it alleges that the offense was committed "at any time as near to the actual date at which the offense was committed," an information is sufficient. We find that appellant is guilty of two qualified rapes, instead of multiple rapes under Criminal Case No. 2650, and only one qualified rape, not multiple, under Criminal Case No. 2638. The legal basis for conviction for as many offenses as are charged and proved is Section 3, Rule 120 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure.

It is axiomatic that each and every charge of rape is a separate and distinct crime. Verily, each of the alleged incidents of rape charged should be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Considering that the law was already in force at the time of the insertion of appellant's finger into BBB's vagina on December 6, 1998, he should have been prosecuted and tried for rape by sexual assault and not under the traditional definition of rape. The People, however, failed in this regard. That is fatal. Under the new rules, the information or complaint must state the designation of the offense given by the statute and specify its qualifying and generic aggravating circumstances. Otherwise stated, the accused will not be convicted for the offense proved during the trial if it was not properly alleged in the information. Although the rule took effect on December 1, 2000, the same may be applied retroactively because it is a cardinal rule that rules of criminal procedure are given retroactive application insofar as they benefit the accused.

People of the Philippines Vs. Sammy Ramos G.R. No. 172470 April 8, 2008

Ruling: The threat instilled enormous fear in her such that she failed to take advantage of any opportunity to escape from the appellant. Also, as AAA explained, she withstood her father's lechery and stayed with him despite what he did because she wanted to complete her studies until 28 March 1992 when she graduated. Besides, getting away from appellant was a task extremely difficult for a 13-year old girl, alone with the predator in a far-away place, motherless, without any relative to turn to in an hour of need, penniless, and uninformed in the ways of the world. In fact, it was only when a Good Samaritan crossed her path that the victim was able to report to the authorities about her father's spiteful deeds. It is highly improbable for an innocent girl, who is very nave to the things of this world, to fabricate a charge so humiliating not only to herself but to her family. Moreover, it is doctrinally settled that testimonies of rape victims who are of tender age are credible. The revelation of an innocent child whose chastity was abused deserves full credit, as the willingness of the 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.

People of the Philippines Vs. John Montinola G.R. No. 178061 January 31, 2008

Ruling:

The Court is not impressed with Montinola's claim that AAA's testimony is not credible because it contains an inconsistency. Montinola pointed out that, on direct examination, AAA stated that she was not sure whether Montinola was able to insert his penis in her vagina during the 28 March 2000, 29 March 2000, and 4 November 2000 incidents. Then, on cross examination, she stated that Montinola was able to insert his penis during those instances. The Court of Appeals held that this minor inconsistency was expected and did not destroy AAA's credibility: [M]inor lapses should be expected when a person is made to recall minor details of an experience so humiliating and so painful as rape. After all, the credibility of a rape victim is not destroyed by some inconsistencies in her testimony. Moreover, testimonies of child victims are given full faith and credit. Rape victims do not cherish keeping in their memory an accurate account of the manner in which they were sexually violated. Thus, errorless recollection of a harrowing experience cannot be expected of a witness, especially when she is recounting details from an experience so humiliating and painful as rape. In addition, rape victims, especially child victims, should not be expected to act the way mature individuals would when placed in such a situation. In the instant case, a minor inconsistency is expected especially because (1) AAA was a child witness, (2) she was made to testify on painful and humiliating incidents, (3) she was sexually abused several times, and (4) she was made to recount details and events that happened several years before she testified. There have been too many instances when rape was committed under circumstances as indiscreet and audacious as a room full of family members sleeping side by side. Rape is not rendered impossible simply because the siblings of the victim who were with her in that small room were not awakened during its commission.

2007

The penalty of prision mayor is imposed for rape committed under paragraph 2 of Article 266-A which is committed by any person who inserts his penis into another persons mouth or anal orifice; or any instrument or object, into the genital or ano orifice of another person. Ormilla vs. Director, Bureau of Corrections, 512 SCRA 177.

It must be emphasized that the same penalties were imposed under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code prior to the enactment of R.A. No. 8353the law did not downgrade the applicable penalties. Id.

The elements of rape under the aforequoted provision are: 1) The offender is a man; 2) The offender had carnal knowledge of a woman; and 3) The said act was committed with the use of force or intimidation, or the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious, or the woman is under 12 years of age or is demented. People vs. Buban, 512 SCRA 500.

In a rape committed by a father against his own daughter, the formers moral ascendancy and influence over the latter substitutes for violence or intimidation. Id.; People vs. Pioquinto, 520 SCRA 712; People vs. Noveras, 522 SCRA 777; People vs. Ubia, 527 SCRA 307; People vs. Balonzo, 533 SCRA 760.

Where the discrepancy as to the period between the third and fourth rapes is one (1) month based on the Informations, and one (1) day based on the victims testimony, the discrepancy is not so serious as to create a reasonable doubt that the accused indeed committed the crime and not enough as to throw him off guard and prevent him from defending himself in cour. Id.

The precise date and time of the commission of rape are not essential elements of it. Id.; People vs. Dadulla, 519 SCRA 48; People vs. Jalbuena, 526 SCRA 500; People vs Rafon, 532 SCRA 370; People vs. Soriano, 534 SCRA 140; People vs. Domingo, 538 SCRA 733

When the testimony of a rape victim is consistent with the medical findings, there is sufficient basis to conclude that there was carnal knowledge. Id.

Not a few persons convicted of rape have attributed the charges against them to family feuds, resentment, or revenge. People vs. Reyes, 512 SCRA 712.

Carnal knowledge of a woman under 18 years of age by a parent is qualified rape. Id.

In determining the guilt or innocence of the accused in rape cases, the courts are guided by three willentrenched principles: (1) an accusation of rape can be made with facility and while the accusation is difficult to prove, it is even more difficult for the accused, though innocent, to disprove; (2) considering that in the nature of things, only two persons are usually involved in the crime of rape, the testimony of the complainant should be scrutinized with great caution; and (3) the evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense. People vs. Salidaga, 513 SCRA 306; People vs. Batiancila, 513 SCRA 434; People vs. Suyat, 518 SCRA 582; People vs. Fernandez, 522 SCRA 189; People vs. Noveras, 522 SCRA 777; People vs. Cornelio, 523 SCRA 419; People vs. Abellano, 524 SCRA 388; People vs. Astrologo, 524 SCRA 477; People vs. Ubia, 527 SCRA 307; People vs. Mangubat, 529 SCRA 377; People vs. Ortoa, 529 SCRA 536; People vs. San Antonio, Jr., 532 SCRA 411; People vs Balanzo, 533 SCRA 760; People vs. Ela, 541 SCRA 508. A woman raped in a state of unconsciousness would not be able to narrate her defloration during that state, and her violation may be proved indirectly by other evidence. People vs. Salidga, 513 SCRA 306.

The prosecution, at all times, bears the burden of establishing an accuseds guilt beyond reasonable doubtno matter how weak the defense may be, it is not and cannot be the sole basis of conviction if, on the other hand, the evidence for the prosecution is even weaker; The accused may offer no more than a feeble alibi but the Court is enjoined to proclaim him innocent in light of insufficient evidence proving his guilt. Id.

Youth and immaturity are generally badges of truth and sincerity. People vs. Batiancila, 513 SCRA 434.

The force, violence, or intimidation in rape is a relative term, depending not only on the age, size, and strength of the parties but also on their relationship with each other. Id.; People vs. Ubia, 527 SCRA 307.

Physical resistance need not be established in rape when intimidation is exercised upon the victim and the latter submits herself against her will to the rapists advances because of fear for her life and personal safety. Id.; People vs. Fernandez, 522 SCRA 189; People vs. Castro, 529 SCRA 800; People vs. Gingos, 532 SCRA 670; People vs. Tuazon, 537 SCRA 494.

Defense cannot just present testimonial evidence in support of the theory that the accused and the victim were sweethearts, independent proof is necessary such as tokens, mementos, and photographs. People vs. Batiancila, 513 SCRA 434.

Unless there are substantial matters that might have been overlooked or discarded, the findings of credibility by the trial court will not generally be disturbed on appel. Id.

The law punishes not only the person who commits the acts of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct with the child but also those who engage in or promote, facilitate or induce child prostitution. People vs. Delantar, 514 SCRA 115.

A child is deened exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual abuse, when the child indulges in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct (a) for money, profit or any other consideration, or (b) under the coercion or influence of any adult, syndicate or group. Id.

The acts done on AAA by the two clients ranged from lascivious conduct the defined under the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 7610 x x x and statutory rape under Art. 335, paragraph 3 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by R.A. No. 7659. Id.

Appellants violation of Sec. 5, Art. III of R.A. No. 7610 is as clear as day. The provision penalizes anyone who engages in or promotes, facilitates or induces child prostitution either by: (1) acting as a procurer of a child prostitute; or (2) inducing a person to be a client of a child prostitute by means of written or oral advertisements or other similar means; or (3) by taking advantage of influence or relationship to procure a child as a prostitute; or (4) threatening or using violence towards a child to engage him as a prostitute; or (5) giving monetary consideration, goods or other pecuniary benefits to the child with the intent to engage such child in prostitution. Id.

A child who is a person below eighteen years of age or those unable to fully take care of themselves or protect themselves from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation or discrimination because of their age

or mental disability or condition is incapable of giving rational consent to any lascivious act or sexual intercourse. Id.

Under R.A. No. 7610, Sec. 31 (c), relationship is not a qualifying circumstance but only an ordinary generic aggravating circumstance. Id.

Where the birth certificate presented was not signed by the father against whom filiation is asserted, such may not be accepted as evidence of the alleged filiation. Id.

The birth certificate of AAA is prima facie evidence only of the fact of her birth and not of her relation to appellant. Id.

The guardian envisioned by law is a person who has a legal relationship with a ward. Id.

Court deletes the award of civil indemnity because appellant was not the one who committed the lascivious acts and perpetrated the rape of AAA; Award of exemplary damages likewise improper considering that appellant is not AAAs biological father. Id.

Rape can be committed even in places where people congregate, in parks, along the roadside, within school premises, inside a house or where there are other occupants, and even in the same room where there are other members of the family who are sleeping. People vs. Diunsay-Jalandoni, 515 SCRA 227.

A medical examination is not essential in the prosecution of a rape case because it is merely corroborative in character; Penetration of the penis by entry into the labia of the pudendum of the vagina, even without rupture or laceration of the hymen, is enough to justify a conviction for rape. Id.; People vs. Dadulla, 519 SCRA 48; People vs. Fernandez, 522 SCRA 189; People vs. Gregorio, Jr., 523 SCRA 216; People vs. Balonzo, 533 SCRA 760; People vs. Ela, 541 SCRA 508.

An accused may be convicted on the basis of the lone, uncorroborated testimony of the rape victim, provided that her testimony is clear, convincing and otherwise consistent, with human nature. Id.; People vs. Fernandez, 522 SCRA 189; People vs. Aguilar; 540 SCRA 509.

The long settled rule is that qualifying circumstances must be sufficiently alleged in the indictment and proved during trial to be properly appreciated by the trial court, otherwise it would be a denial of the right of the accused to be informed of the charges against him, and, thus, a denial of due process, if he is charged with simple rape but is convicted of its qualified form even if the attendant qualifying circumstance is not set forth in the information; Where the Information merely states that the victim is a retardate without specifically stating that the accused knew of her mental disability at the time of the commission of the rape, the accused can only be convicted of simple rape. Id.

For defense of sweetheart theory to prosper, it should be substantiated by some documentary or other evidence of the relationshiplike mementos, love letters, notes, pictures and the like. People vs. Oliquino, 517 SCRA 579.

Not a few number of cases have established that an offer of marriage is considered an implied admission of guilt of the accused. Id.

Delay in revealing the commission of rape is not an indication of a fabricated charge. Id.; Piople vs. Pandapatan, 521 SCRA 304; People vs. Senieres, 519 SCRA 13; People vs. Noveras, 522 SCRA 777 Article 345 of the Revised Penal Code directs persons guilty of rape to acknowledge the offspring unless the law should prevent him from so doing. Id.

In cases where the victim could not testify on the actual commission of the rape because she was rendered unconscious at the time the crime was perpetrated, the Revised Rules on Evidence sanctions the courts to rule on the basis of circumstantial evidence. People vs. Moran, Jr., 517 SCRA 714.

Of course, an unconscious woman will not know who is raping her; It is precisely when the sexual intercourse is performed when the victim is unconscious that the act of statutory offense of rape specially when the loss of consciousness was the result of the accuseds violent act. Id.

It takes a lot of perversity for a 14-year-old child to acquiesce to a coitus accompanied by violence and threat. Id.

In rape cases, the evaluation of the credibility of witnesses is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial judge whose conclusion thereon deserves much weight and respect because the judge has the direct opportunity to observe them on the stand and ascertain if they are telling the truth or not. Id.

It is inconceivable for a child to concoct a sordid tale of so serious a crime as rape at the hands of a close kin, her father in this case, and subject herself to the stigma and embarrassment of a public trial, if her motive were other than an earnest desire to seek justice. People vs. Alarcon, 517 SCRA 778.

Where it is established only by himself and by his relative, an accuseds denial of culpability does not deserve consideration in the face of the affirmative testimony of a credible prosecution witness. Id.

It is not necessary that the place where the rape is committed be isolated. Id.

The imposition of the supreme penalty of death is proper if the special qualifying circumstances of the victims minority and her relationship to the accused were properly alleged in the Information and their existence duly admitted by the defense on stipulation of facts during pre-trial. Id.

This Court has held time and again that testimonies of rape victims who are young and immature deserve full credence, considering that no young woman, especially of tender age, would concoct a story of defloration, allow an examination of her private parts, and thereafter pervert herself by being subject to a public trial, if she was not motivated solely by the desire to obtain justice for the wrong committed against her. People vs. Pangilinan, 518 SCRA 358.

There is no rule that a woman can only be raped in seclusion. Id.

The delay and initial reluctance of a rape victim to make public the assault on her virtue is neither unknown nor uncommon. Id.

The gravamen of the offense of rape is sexual congress with a woman by force and without consent. Id. People vs. Bejic, 525 SCRA 488; People vs. Jalbuena, 526 SCRA 500.

In rape cases specifically, the credibility of the complaint is of paramount importance as oftentimes her testimony, when it satisfies the test of credibility, may be the sole basis for an accuseds conviction. People vs. Suyat, 518 SCRA 582

The rule is that when a rape victims testimony is straightforward and candid, unshaken by rigid crossexamination and unflawed by inconsistencies or contradictions in its vital points, the same must be given full faith and credit. Id.

For the conviction of rape, it is not necessary that the same be supported by medical findings of injuries as proof of injuries is not an essential element of the crime. Id.

The rape victims injury is now recognized as inherently concomitant with and necessarily proceeds from the appalling crime of rape which per se warrants an award of moral damages. Id.

In a rape case, what is most important is the credible testimony of the victim. People vs. Senieres, 519 SCRA 13.

Court has repeatedly observed that no standard form of behavior can be anticipated of a rape victim following her defilement, particularly by a child who could not be expected to fully comprehend to fully comprehend the ways of an adult. Id.; People vs. Dadulla, 519 SCRA 48; People vs. Balonzo, 533 SCRA 760

Hymenal lacerations, whether healed or fresh, are the best evidence of forcible defloration. Id.

The settled jurisprudence is that categorical and consistent positive identification, absent any showing of ill-motive on the part of the eyewitness testifying thereon, prevails over the defenses of denial and alibi which, if not substantiated by clear and convincing proof, constitute self-serving evidence undeserving of weight in law. Id.

Alibi, like denial, is also inherently weak and easily fabricated; For this defense to justify an acquittal, the following must be established: The presence of the appellant in another place at the time of the commission of the offense and the physical impossibility for him to be at the scene of the crime. Id.

The failure to shout or offer tenacious resistance does not make voluntary the victims submission to the criminal act of the offender. People vs. Dadulla, 519 SCRA 48.

The sweetheart defense is effectively an admission of carnal knowledge of the victim and consequently places on the accused the burden of proving the alleged relationship by substantial evidence. Id.

Court has consistently held that civil indemnity ex delicto is mandatory upon a finding of rape. Id.

Rape is committed when the accused has carnal knowledge of the victim by force or intimidation and without consent. People vs. Durano, 519 SCRA 466.

When the testimony of a rape victim is simple and straightforward, unshaken by rigorous crossexamination and unflawed by any serious inconsistency or contradiction, the same must be given full faith and creditwhen a woman says that she has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape has been committed. Id.

Physical evidence of bruises or scratches eloquently speaks of the force employed upon the rape victim. Id.

Resistance is not an element of rape as rape could be perpetrated through the use of force or intimidation. Id.

Behavioral psychology teaches that people react to similar situations dissimilarly. Id.

A sweetheart cannot be forced to have sex against her willdefinitely a man cannot demand sexual gratification from a fiance and, worse, employee violence upon her on the pretext of love. Id.

When a woman or a girl-child says that she has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape has indeed been committed. People vs. Pioquinto, 520 SCRA 712; People vs. Guillermo, 521 SCRA 597; People vs. Ibaez, 523 SCRA 136; People vs. Astrologo, 524 SCRA 477; People vs. Bejic, 525 SCRA 488; People vs. Hermocilla, 527 SCRA 296; People vs Miranda, 529 SCRA 670; People vs. Aquilar, 540 SCRA 509.

More often than not, a victim would rather bear the ignominy and pain in private rather than reveal her shame to the whole world or risk the danger of physical harm by the rapist. Id.

A searching inquiry is mandatory if an accused pleads quilty to a capital offense. Id.

In incestuous rape, we have held that a rape victims testimony against her father is entitled to greater weight because it is deeply ingrained in our culture to revere and respect our elders, thus, unless true, a child would not thoughtlessly accuse a parent of rape. People vs. Reyes, 521 SCRA 146.

In People vs. Pruna, 390 SCRA 577 (2002), the Court laid down the guidelines in appreciating the age of the victim. People vs. Villanueva, 521 SCRA 236.

The fact of minority was further established by victims certificate of live birth, albeit a mere photocopy of the original. Id.

The presentation of the photocopy of the birth certificate of the victim is admissible as secondary evidence to prove its contents. Id.

In incest, access to the victim is guaranteed by the blood relationship, proximity magnifying the sense of helplessness and the degree of fear. People vs. Pandapatan, 521 SCRA 304.

Lust is no respecter of time, place or kinship. Id.; People vs. Mayao, 522 SCRA 748; People vs. Castro, 529 SCRA 800; People vs. Tuazon, 537 SCRA 494.

The fact that the laceration of the hymen did not exceed fifty percent of its opening does not negate the fact of rape, either. Id.

We have already held that rape victims are not expected to mechanically keep tab and give an accurate account of the exact dates of the rape. Id.

A rape victims testimony against her parent is entitled to great weight since Filipino children have a natural reverence and respect for their elders. Id.

The alleged ill-feelings harbored by a daughter against her father are too flimsy to justify the filing of charges punishable by death. People vs. Guillermo, 521 SCRA 597.

Rape committed upon one who was asleep falls within Article 266-A-1(b) of the Revised Penal Code. Id.

In an appeal where the culpability or innocence of the accused depends on the issue of the credibility of witnesses and the veracity of their testimonies, the findings of the trial court are given the highest degree of respect if not finality, People vs. Fernandez, 522 SCRA 189.

When there is no evidence to show any improper motive on the part of the prosecution witness to falsely testify against or falsely implicate the accused in the commission of the crime, the logical conclusion is that the testimony is worthy of full faith and credence. Id.

For alibi to prosper, the following requisites must concur: (a) the presence of appellant at another place at the time of the perpetration of the offense; and (b) it was physically impossible for the accused to be at the scene of the crime. Id.; People vs. Gregorio, Jr., 523 SCRA 216.

So long as the crime was committed under circumstances that would justify the imposition of the death penalty, the accused shall pay civil indemnity in the amount of P75,000.00. Id.

Rape can be committed even when relatives of the victim are just nearby for it is not necessary for the place to be ideal for it to be committed. People vs. Mayao, 522 SCRA 748.

The precise time of commission is not an essential element of the crime. Id.

An accused charged with rape through one mode of commission may still be convicted of the crime if the evidence shos another mode of commission provided that the accused did not object to such evidence. Id.

The concurrence of the minority of the victim and her relationship to the offender is a special qualifying circumstance which increases the penalty; Such must be properly alleged in the information because of the right to be informed of the accused. Id.

The relationship of stepfather presupposes a legitimate relationship. Id.

If the offender is merely a relationnot a parent, ascendant, stepparent, guardian or common law spouse of the mother of the victimthe specific relationship must be alleged in the information, i.e. that he is a relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree. Id.

It is settled that when the victims testimony is corroborated by the physicians finding of penetration, there is sufficient foundation to conclude the existence of the essential requisite of carnal knowledge. People vs. Noveras, 522 SCRA 777.

The aggravating circumstance of nighttime cannot be appreciated where there is no proof that the crime began and was completed at nighttime. Id.

In the prosecution of rape cases, conviction or acquittal depends on the credence to be accorded to the complainants testimony because of the fact that usually the participants are the only witnesses to the occurrences; Factual findings of fact of the trial court should not be disturbed on appeal. People vs. Lizano, 522 SCRA 803.

It has been an oft-repeated rule that mere denial, if unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, has no weight in law and cannot be given greater evidentiary value than the positive testimony of a rape victim. Id.

A rape victim cannot, after all, be expected to summon the courage to report a sexual assault committed against her person, where the act was accompanied by a death threat. Id.

Civil indemnity is automatically imposed upon the accused without need of proof other than the fact of

the commission of rape; Moral damages is also automatically granted in rape cases without need of further proof other than the commission of the crime. Id.

Court cannot bring its mind to a rest that a young girl, like X X X, could have the courage and strength to fabricate a tale of defloration against her very own father and relate in public all its horrifying details were she not in fact physically abused and violated. People vs. Gregorio, Jr., 523 SCRA 216.

Motive is not necessary when, as here, the identity of the wrongdoer is positively identified by the victim herself. Id.

The failure of the victim to immediately report the rape is not necessarily an indication of a fabricated charge. Id.

A denial, unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, is negative, self-serving and merits no weight in law. Id.

The circumstances mentioned in RA 7659, i.e., minority of the victim and her relationship to the offender, are in the nature of qualifying circumstances which cannot be proved as such unless alleged in the information. Id.

Exemplary damages in the sum of P25,000 in each case of rape are likewise imposed on appellant to deter other fathers with perverse tendencies and aberrant sexual behavior from preying upon and sexually abusing their daughters. Id.

The silence of a victim of rape or her failure to disclose her misfortune to the authorities without loss of material time does not prove that her charge is baseless and fabricatedit is not uncommon for young girls to conceal for some time the assault on their virtues because of the rapists threat on their lives, more so when the offender is someone whom she knew and who was living with her. People vs. Cornelio, 523 SCRA 419.

No woman would want to go through the humiliation of trial unless she has been so brutalized that she desires justice for her sufferingit takes a certain amount of psychological depravity for a young woman to concoct a story which could cost the life of her own father and drag the rest of her family, including herself, to a lifetime of shame. People vs. Abellano, 524 SCRA 388.

Nowhere in People vs. Bartolome, 381 SCRA 91 (2002); People vs. Cula, 329 SCRA 101 (2000); and People vs. Liban, 345 SCRA 453 (2000), is it declared that the exact age, including the number of months must be recited in the Information, otherwise, an accused may not be convicted of qualified rape. Id.

It has been said that when the testimony of rape victim is consistent with the medical findings, sufficient basis exists to warrant a conclusion that the essential requisite of carnal knowledge has thereby been established. People vs. Astrologo, 524 SCRA 477.

Although denial is a legitimate defense in rape cases, mere bare assertions to this effect cannot overcome the positive, straightforward, unequivocal and categorical testimony of the victiman affirmative testimony is far stronger than a negative testimony, especially so when it comes from a credible witness. Id.

The insertion of ones finger into the genital or anal orifice of another person constitutes rape by sexual assault and not merely an act of lasciviousness. People vs. Fetalino, 525 SCRA 170.

The evidence which should be considered by the court in criminal cases need not be limited to the statements made in open court, rather it should include all documents, affidavits or sworn statements of the witnesses and other supporting evidence. Id.

The rule is settled that against the positive identification by the private complainant, the mere denials of an accused cannot prevail to overcome conviction by the trial court. Id.

A mother like BBB certainly would not expose her own daughter to the ignominy of a rape trial simply to retaliate against her husband for the transgressions, knowing fully well the lifelong stigma and scars that such a public trial could bring. Id.

Each and every charge of rape is a separate and distinct crime so that each of the other rape charges should be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Id.

The severity, permanence and irreversible nature of the penalty prescribed by law makes the decisionmaking process in capital offenses, such as qualified rape, subject to the most exacting rules of procedure and evidence. Id.

In crimes against chastity, like acts of lasciviousness, relationship is considered aggravating. Id.

In determining the quilt or innocence of the accused in cases of rape, the victims testimony is crucial in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime in which only two persons are normally involved. People vs. Bejic, 525 SCRA 488.

When the credibility of a witness is a primordial consideration, as in the present case, the findings of fact of the trial court, its calibration of the testimonies of the witnesses and its assessment of the probative weight thereof, as well as its conclusions anchored on said findings, are accorded high respect if not conclusive effect. Id.

It is well-entrenched in our case law that the rape victims pregnancy and resultant childbirth are irrelevant in determining whether or not she was rapedpregnancy is not an essential element of the crime of rape, and whether the child which the rape victim bore was fathered by the accused, or by some unknown individual, is of no moment. Id.

Denial is inherently a weak defense, as it is negative and self-serving and cannot prevail over the positive identification and testimony of witnesses unless buttressed by strong evidence of nonculpabilitycorollarily, alibi is the weakest of all defenses for it is easy to contrive and difficult to disprove. Id. Rape victims do not cherish keeping in their memory an accurate account of the manner in which they were sexually violatederrorless recollection of a harrowing experience cannot be expected of a witness, especially when she is recounting details from an experience so humiliating and painful as rape. Id.

Testimonies of victims of tender age are credible, more so if they are without any motive to falsely testify against their offender. People vs. Abellera, 526 SCRA 329.

Statutory rape is carnal knowledge of a woman below 12years of age. Id.

When on accuses a close relative of having raped her, as in this case where the complainant accused her very own father, her testimony is entitled to greater weight. People vs. Jalbuena, 526 SCRA 500.

Parental punishment or disciplinary chastisement is not enough for a daughter in a Filipino family to falsely accuse her father of rape. Id.

That the complainants hymen remained intact despite the claim of three occasions of rape is not impossible and does not negate a finding that they were committed a torn or broken hymen is not an essential element of rape, not even when the victim is an innocent child. Id.

The determination and the competence and credibility of a witness rest primarily with the trial court. People vs. camanda, 528 SCRA 689.

Doctrinal Guidelines in Scrutinizing Credibility. Id.

A young girls revelation that she has been raped, coupled with her voluntary submission to medical examination and her willingness to undergo public trial where she could be compelled to give out the details of an assault to her dignity be so easily dismissed as a mere concoction. Id.

The defense of insanity and imbecility must be clearly proved, for there is a presumption that acts penalized by law are voluntary. Id.

The briefest of contacts under circumstances of force, intimidation or unconsciousness even without the laceration of the hymen, is deemed to be rape in our jurisprudence; the more introduction of the penis to the aperture of the female organ, thereby touching the labia of the pudendum, already consummates the crime of rape. Id.

Youth and immaturity are generally badges of truth and sincerity. People vs. Ubia, 527 SCRA 307.

Family resentment, revenge or feud have never swayed the court from giving full credence to the testimony of a complainant for rape. Id.

To be believed, denial must be buttressed by strong evidence of non-culpability; for alibi to prosper, it must be proven that during the commission of the crime, the accused was in another place and that it physically impossible for him to be at the locus criminis. Id.

Appellant cannot be charged with committing the crime of rape in this simple form and then be tried and convicted of rape in its; qualified form. Id.

Forcible abduction is absorbed in the crime of rape if the real objective of the accused is to rape the victim. Garces vs. People, 527 SCRA 827.

The mere fact that the rape was committed at the night time does not make nocturnity an aggravating circumstance. Id.

The aggravating circumstance of an uninhabited place cannot likewise be appreciated in the absence of evidence that the accused actually sought an isolated place to better execute their purpose. Id.

That the gas lamp was a bit fair from AAA when the incident occurred did not preclude her from recognizing the appellant; AAA lived with the appellant for more or less 6 years to enable her to acquire familiarity with the voice, gait and demeanor. People vs. Canuto, 528 SCRA 366.

A six month delay in reporting the rape to the authorities does not impair the credibilityof the private complainant or indicate a fabricated charge if satisfactorily explained. Id.

Minority and relationship constitute a special qualifying circumstances which when alleged in the information and proved during the trial warrant the imposition of the death penalty, the proper penalty imposable on appellant is reclusion perpetua. Id.

Non-paternity of the appellant will not necessarily negate the crime of rape as positively prove and established by AAs credibility testimony; they may or may not be a conception after the commission of the crime of rape because the offense may be consummated even without full penetration or even complete ejaculation on the part of the assailant. Id.

There is no stereotypical on the form of reaction from a woman, much more a minor, when faced with a shocking and horrifying experience such as sexual assault. Id.

Kit is not necessary that the force and intimidation employed to commit rape to be so great of such character as could not be resisted because all that is required is that it be sufficient to consummate the purpose which the accused had in mind. People vs. dela Cruz, 529 SCRA 109.

It is instinctive for a young woman, unmarried woman to protect her honor and thus difficult to believe that she would fabricate a tale of defloration, allow the examination of her private parts, reveal her shame and permit herself to be the subject of a public trial if she had not really been ravished. Id.

It is not to show that the irresistible force or intimidation accompanied the crime of rape it suffice to show that the force or intimidation was present and did not result in the accused copulating with the offended woman against her will. People vs. Cabierte, 529 SCRA 311.

The victims character in rape is immaterial. Id.

It is not unusual for a rape victim to conceal the incident at least momentarily. Id.

The rule is that when a rape victims testimony is straightforward and candid, unshaken by grid cross-examinations and unflawed by inconsistencies or contradictions in its material points, the same must be given full faith and credit. People vs. Mangubat, 529 SCRA 377.

Verily, an affirmative testimony is far stronger than a negative testimony, especially so when it comes from the mouth of a credible witness; Mere resentment is not so compelling as to motivate a young girl to accuse a person who practically took care of her since birth and whom she already considers as her father, of such a serious crime as rape. Id.

In the prosecution of criminal cases, especially those involving the penalty of death, nothing but proof beyond reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to constitute the crime with which an accused is charged must be established. Id.

A person cannot be considered as step-grandfather where he and the grandmother only lived in a common-law relationshiphe cannot even be considered as grandfather by affinity in relation to the grandchild of the grandmother. Id.

The qualifying circumstance of relationship cannot be established by mere testimony or even by the accuseds very own admission. Id.

At the core of almost all rape cases is the issue of credibility of witnesses and the trial court is in the bes position to resolve the question, having heard the witnesses and observed their demeanor during trial. People vs. Miranda, 529 SCRA 399.

It is well-settled that lacerations, whether fresh or healed, are the best physical evidence of forcible defloration. Id.

A person is guilty of rape when he had sexual intercourse with a female who was suffering from a borderline mental deficiency. Id.

It is not uncommon in incestuous rape for the accused to claim that the case is a mere fabrication and that the victim was moved by familial discord and influence, hostility, or revenge. Id.

No matter how enraged a mother could be, it would take nothing less than psychological depravity for

her to concoct a story too damaging to the welfare and well-being of her own daughter. Id.

There is no uniform behavior that can be expected from those who had the misfortune of being sexually molested. Id.

The proper penalty to be imposed on the accused in this case is provided in Section 2, paragraph (a) of R.A. No. 9346 which prescribes that the penalty of reclusion perpetua be imposed when the law violated makes use of the nomenclature of the penalties under the Revised Penal Code. Id.

The fact that the private complainant did not resist or attempt or flee or shout for help does not negate force or intimidation. People vs. Castro, 529 SCRA 800.

The court finds it strange for the complainant, who was already being molested by the accused with the insertion of his finger inside her vagina, to still find time to expose her breast and breastfeed her crying child in order to calm him. People vs. Perez, 530 SCRA 376. Judges must free themselves of the natural tendency to be overprotective of every woman decrying her having been sexually abused, and demanding punishment for the abuser. Id.

When a rape victims testimony, however, is straightforward and marked with consistency despite grueling examination, it deserves full faith and confidence and cannot be discarded. People vs. Abulon, 530 SCRA 675.

It is inconceivable and contrary to human experience for a daughter, who is attached to her father by the natural bond of love and affection, to accuse him of rape, unless he is the one who raped and defoliated her. Id.

Nothing is more settled in criminal law jurisprudence than that alibi and denial cannot prevail over the positive and categorical testimony and identification of the complainant. Id.

A child of thirteen years cannot be expected to know how to go about reporting the crime to the authorities. Id.

Well-established is the rule that force or intimidation need not be proven in incestuous casesthe overpowering moral influence of a father over his daughter takes the place of violence and offer of resistance ordinarily required in rape cases where the accused is unrelated to the victim. Id.

With the enactment of Republic Act. No. 8353 (R.A. No. 8353), otherwise known as the Anti-Rape Law of 1997, the concept of rape was revolutionized with the new recognition that the crime should include sexual violence on the womans sex-related orifices other than her organ, and be expanded as well to cover gender-free rape. Id.

Rape through sexual intercourse is also denominated as organ rape or penile rape, while on the other hand, rape by sexual assault is otherwise called instrument or object rape, also gender-free rape, or the narrower homosexual rape. Id.

Rape Through Sexual Intercourse and Rape by Sexual by Sexual Assault, Distinguished. Id.

Where the charge in the Information is rape through carnal knowledge, the accused cannot be found guilty of rape by sexual assault although proven. Id.

An accused charged with rape may be found guilty of the lesser crime of acts of lasciviousnessacts of lasciviousness or abusos dishonestos are necessarily included in rape. Id.

The sweetheart theory is effectively an admission of carnal knowledge of the victim and consequently places on the accused the burden of proving the supposed relationship by substantial evidenceto be worthy of judicial acceptance, such a defense should be supported by documentary, testimonial, or other evidence. People vs. Hapin, 531 SCRA 224.

Moral damages is automatically granted in rape cases without need of further proof other than the commission of the crime, because it is assumed that a rape victim has actually suffered moral injuries entitling her to such award, and the presence of the aggravating circumstance of use of a deadly weapon justifies the award of exemplary damages. Id.

That a daughter would falsely accuse her own father of committing so grave a crime as rape only o fuel a grudge harbored by her uncle is hardly believable. People vs. Rafon, 532 SCRA 370.

Although the Court have held that the moral ascendancy of the accused in incestuous rapes, alone, does not lead to the conclusion that sufficient intimidation was present, it may be considered a contributing factor when coupled with other threatening circumstances. Id.

The sweetheart defense is a much-abused defense that rashly derides the intelligence of the Court and sorely tests its patienceto be worthy of judicial acceptance, such a defense should be supported by documentary, testimonial or other evidence. People vs. San Antonio, Jr., 532 SCRA 411.

Failure of the victim to shout or offer tenacious resistance does not make voluntary the victims submission to the criminal acts of the accusedthere is no standard form of reaction for a woman, much more a minor, when facing a shocking and horrifying experience such as a sexual assault. Id.

It is settled that force or intimidation is not limited to physical forceas long as it is present and brings the desired result, all consideration of whether it was more or less irresistible is beside the point. Id.

It is well-settled that proof of physical injuries sustained by reason of resistance to the sexual attacker is not an essential element of the crime of rapeit is enough to show that the appellant did succeed in having sexual intercourse with the complainant against her will. Id.

The trial judge enjoys the advantage of observing the witness deportment and manner of testifying, her furtive glance, blush of conscious shame, hesitation, flippant or sneering tone, calmness, sigh, or the scant or full realization of an oathall o f which are useful aids for an accurate determination of a witness honesty and sincerity. Id.

The act of the complainant in filing a complaint against the accused, few hours after the rape incident happened, can be regarded as an indication of a truthful narration that indeed, she was raped by the accused; Testimonies of child-victims are given full faith and credit, since when a girl says she has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape was indeed committed. Id.

Where age is not adequately proven, it cannot be used to qualify the offense of rape. People vs. Biyoc, 532 SCRA 528.

Admission in open court of relationship is sufficient and hence conclusive to prove relationship with the rape victim. Id.

No woman would openly admit that she was raped and consequently subject herself to an examination of her private parts, undergo the trauma and humiliation of a public trial and embarrass herself with the need to narrate in detail how she was raped unless she was in fact raped. Id.

Mere penetration of the labia by the penis is enough to consummate rape.

In rape cases particularly, the conviction or acquittal of the accused most often depends almost entirely on the credibility of the complainants testimony. People vs. Gingos, 532 SCRA 670.

A medical certificate is not indispensable to prove the commission of rape. Id.

There was conspiracy where there was obvious, concerted efforts to perpetrate, one after the other, the crime of rape. Id.

In rape cases, the credibility of the victim is almost always the single most important issue. People vs. Ceballos, Jr., 533 SCRA 493.

The nearby presence of the relatives of the victim, the cramped condition of the room, the presence of other people therein, or the high risk of being caught, have been held as not sufficient and effective to deter the commission of rape. Id.

Parental punishment or disciplinary chastisement is not enough for a daughter in a Filipino family to falsely accuse her father of rape. Id.

The crime of acts of lasciviousness is necessarily included in the crime of rape. Id.

The familiar rule is that in passing upon the credibility of witnesses, the highest degree of respect must be afforded to the findings of the trial court unless there is proof of its misappreciation of evidence. People vs. Balonzo, 533 SCRA 760.

The law does not impose a burden on the rape victim to prove resistance. Id.

It is the most natural reaction for victims of criminal violence to strive to see the appearance of their assailant and observe the manner in which the crime was committed. Id.

Jurisprudence dictates that in appreciating age, either as an element of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance4, the best evidence is an original or certified true copy of the certificate of live birth of a party. Id.

When the victims testimony is corroborated by the physicians findings of penetration, then there is sufficient foundation to conclude the existence of the essential requisite of carnal knowledge. People vs. Soriano, 534 SCRA 140.

In rape, the force and intimidation must be viewed in the light of the victims perception and judgment

at the time of the commission of the crime. Id.

The presence of people in a certain place is no guarantee that rape will not and cannot be committed. Id.

When the testimony of the rape victim is consistent with the medical findings, there is sufficient basis to establish carnal knowledge. People vs. Sancho, 534 SCRA 256.

For conviction in the crime of rape, the following elements must be proved beyond reasonable doubt: 1) that the accused had carnal knowledge of the victim; and 2) that sid act was accomplished (a) through the use of force or intimidation, or (b) when the victim is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious, or (c) when the victim is twelve years of age or is demented. People vs. Barangan, 534 SCRA 570.

The sweetheart theory or sweetheart defense is an oft abused justification that rashly derides the intelligence of the Supreme Court and sorely tests its patience. Id.

A man does not have an unbridled license to subject his beloved to his carnal desires. Id.

Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman who is depreived of reason or otherwise unconsciousthus, there is rape where the woman was unconscious as when she was asleep when the carnal act was accomplished. People vs. Fernandez, 535 SCRA 159.

The relationship as first cousins is not covered by any of the alternative circumstances of relationships mentioned in Article 15 of the Revised Penal Code. Id.

Having sexual intercourse with a female whose mental age is below 12 years old, even if she voluntarily submitted herself to the sexual desires of the accused without force or intimidation, is rape within the context of Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code. People vs. Constantino, 535 SCRA 165.

The rape victims positive identification of the accused prevails over the inherently weak defenses of denial and alibi. Id.

The vernacular words hinimod and kinantot have meanings that are so different from each other ot the point of raising reasonable doubt against the prosecutionon the face of it all, the Court strongly suspects that the author of the child-victims lurid vocabulary can be none other but her own mother who is a veteran in taking up rape charges. People vs. Paredes, 535 SCRA 171.

When the offended party is under 18 years of age and the offender is an ascendant of the victim, rape is qualified and becomes punishable by death as provided under Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7659. People vs. Mira, 535 SCRA 543.

When either one of the qualifying circumstances of relationship and minority is omitted or lacking, that which is pleaded in the Information and proved by the evidence may be considered as an aggravating circumstance; It may not serve to raise the penalty because in simple rape, the imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua which is single and indivisible. Id.

The conviction or acquittal in a rape case more often than not depends almost entirely on the credibility of the complainants testimony because of the very nature of this crimeit is usually the victim who alone can testify as to its occurrence. People v s. Tuazon, 537 SCRA 494.

Testimonies of rape victims who are young and immature demand full credence. Id.

When the testimony of a rape victim is consistent with the medical findings, sufficient basis exists to warrant a conclusion that the essential requisite of carnal knowledge has thereby been established. Id.

In truth, a man and a woman cannot be physically closer to each other than during a sexual act. Id.

The hesitance of the victim in reporting the crime to the authorities is not necessarily an indication of a fabricated charge, and this is especially true where the delay can be attributed to the pattern of fear instilled by the threats of bodily harm made by a person who exercises moral ascendancy over the victim. Id.

It is highly inconceivable that a grandmother would willfully and deliberately corrupt the innocent mind of her young granddaughter and put into her lips the lewd description of a carnal act to justify a personal grudge or anger against the accused. Id.

If it can be conclusively determined that the accused did not sire the alleged rape victims child, this may cast the shadow of reasonable doubt and allow his acquittal on this basis. People vs. Umanito, 537 SCRA 552.

Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) print or identification technology is now recognized as a uniquely effective means to link a suspect to a crime, or to absolve one erroneously accused, where biological

evidence is availablefor purposes of criminal investigation, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) identification is a fertile source of both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence. Id.

With respect to the date of the commission of the offense, Section 11, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure specifically provides that it is not necessary to state in the information the precise date the offense was committed except when it is a material ingredient of the offense, and that the offense may be alleged to have been committed on a date as near as possible to the actual date of its commission; In rape cases, failure to specify the exact dates or times when the rapes occurred does not ipso facto make the information defective on its facethe date or time of the commission of rape is not a material ingredient of the said crime because the gravamen of rape is carnal knowledge of a woman through force and intimidation. People vs. Ching, 538 SCRA 117.

The Supreme Court has upheld complaints and informations in prosecutions for rape which merely alleged the month or year of its commissionallegations in the informations which stated that the three incidents of rape were committed in the year 1996 and in May 1998 are sufficient to affirm the conviction of the accused in the instant case. Id.

To curb the disturbing trend of children being snatched from the cradle of innocence by some beast to sate its deviant sexual appetite, the accused should, likewise, be made to pay exemplary damages which is pegged at P25,000.00. Id.

The crying of a victim during her testimony is eloquent evidence of the credibility of the rape charge with the verity borne out of human nature and experience. People vs. Aguilar, 540 SCRA 509.

The accuseds barefaced denial of the charge cannot prevail over the positive, spontaneous and straightforward identification by the victim of the accused as the malefactor. Id.

A stepdaughter is the daughter of ones spouse by a previous marriagefor the accused to be the stepfather of the victim, he must be legally married to the latters mother. Id.

The Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure which took effect on 1 December 2000 now provides that aggravating circumstances must be alleged in the information to be validly appreciated by the court; The retroactive application of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure cannot adversely affect the rights of a private offended party to exemplary damages that have become vested prior to the effectivity of the said Rules. Id.

The eloquent testimony of the victim, coupled with the medical findings attesting to her non-virgin state, should be enough to confirm the truth of the charges. People vs. Ela, 541 SCRA 508.

To sustain a conviction for rape, there must be proof of the penetration of the female organ. People vs. Capwa, 541 SCRA 516.

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force

2006

People of the Philipines Vs. Henry Bidoc G.R. No. 169430 October 31, 2006

Ruling: In reviewing rape cases, the Court is guided by these principles: First, the prosecution has to show the guilt of the accused by proof beyond reasonable doubt or that degree of proof that, to an unprejudiced mind, produces conviction. Second, unless there are special reasons, the findings of trial courts, especially regarding the credibility of witnesses, are entitled to great respect and will not be disturbed on appeal. Third, the disposition of rape cases are governed by the following guidelines: (1) an accusation for rape can be made with facility; it is difficult to prove but more difficult for the person accused, though innocent, to disprove; (2) in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime of rape where only two persons are usually involved, the testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with extreme caution, and (3) the evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits and cannot draw strength from the weakness of the evidence of the defense. It is settled that when a woman, more so if she is a minor, says she has been raped, she says, in effect, all that is necessary to prove that rape was committed and if her testimony meets the test of credibility, that is sufficient to convict the accused. As in this case, when AAA testified in court, her testimony described in details the hideous experiences suffered by her on 21 November 1999 and sometime in December 1999 in the hands of her own father. In her narration on the manner of how the appellant took advantage of her, she never wavered in her testimonies. In fact, she even exemplified the details of the incident without flourish and innuendo. While denial is a legitimate defense in rape cases, bare assertions to this effect cannot overcome the categorical testimony of the victim. It is an established rule that an affirmative testimony is far stronger than a negative testimony, especially so when it comes from a credible witness. It is hornbook doctrine that the positive and categorical testimony of a rape victim-daughter, identifying her own father as the one who sexually attacked her, prevails over his bare denial. No daughter will charge a father, especially a good father, with rape. The charge is not only embarrassing to the victim and the family. It means death to the head of the family. A father so charged cannot exculpate himself by a bare-bone denial.

People of the Philippines Vs. Jose Alvizo Audine G.R. No. 168649 December 6, 2006

Ruling: We also fail to see anything extraordinary or unbelievable in AAAs testimony that despite her act of kicking the accused-appellant he still succeeded in inserting his penis into her vagina. While it may be admitted that AAAs act of kicking made penetration somewhat difficult, it certainly did not render the satyrs maniacal attack irresistible, nor his penetration into the citadel of his daughters purity anything impossible. Private complainant is being faulted for not taking the necessary measures to prevent a recurrence of her horrible experience with accused-appellant last 24 December 1999. Her failure to perform what accused-appellant claims she ought to have done cannot be taken against her. A fourteen-year old girl cannot be reasonably expected to exercise or put into place any measure that would avert the repetition of the ordeal with her father. How the victim comported herself after the incident was not significant as it had nothing to do with the elements of the crime of rape. Not all victims can be expected to act conformably to the usual expectations of everyone. Different and varying degrees of behavioral responses are expected in the proximity of, or in confronting, an aberrant episode. It is settled that different people react differently to a given situation or type of situation and there is no standard form of human behavioral response when one is confronted with a strange, startling or frightful experience. The workings of the human mind when placed under emotional stress are unpredictable. This Court, in People v. Luzorata, held: This Court indeed has not laid down any rule on how a rape victim should behave immediately after she has been abused. This experience is relative and may be dealt with in any way by the victim depending on the circumstances, but her credibility should not be tainted with any modicum of doubt x x x The defense tried to impute ill motive on private complainant claiming that the latter filed the two cases of rape to exact revenge because he separated private complainant from her lover-boyfriend. We find this hard to believe. Motives such as feuds, resentment and revenge have never swayed us from giving full credence to the testimony of a minor complainant. It is highly improbable that a girl of tender years, one not yet exposed to the ways of the world, would impute to any man a crime so serious as rape if what she claims is not true. Youth and immaturity are generally badges of truth. Full weight and credit should, indeed, be accorded AAAs testimony. It is very unlikely for her to accuse her father of so heinous a crime if it were not true. Her credibility was bolstered beyond reproach by her spontaneous emotional breakdown during trial.

People of the Philippines Vs. Emeterio Ricamora G.R. No. 168628 December 6, 2006 Ruling: The filing of complaints for rape months, even years, after their commission may or may not dent the credibility of witness and of testimony, depending on the circumstances attendant thereto. Under the circumstances attendant to the present case, the delay of respondent in reporting the incidents of rape may not be taken against her. In any event, the subject of the complaint filed on January 22, 1998 by private complainant, which

became the basis of the filing of the information, was the last incident of rape, that which occurred on January 21, 1998. Any delay in the report of the previous commissions of rape is thus irrelevant to this case. For rape to exist it is not necessary that the force or intimidation employed be so great or of such character as could not be resisted. It is only necessary that the force or intimidation be sufficient to consummate the purpose which the accused had in mind. Intimidation must be viewed in the light of the victims perception and judgment at the time of the rape and not by any hard and fast rule. It is therefore enough that it produces fear fear that if the victim does not yield to the bestial demands of the accused, something would happen to her at the moment or thereafter, as when she is threatened with death if she reports the incident. Intimidation would also explain why there are no traces of struggle which would indicate that the victim fought off her attacker. [Emphasis supplied; citations omitted] The rule is well-settled that evidence to be believed must not only come from a credible source but must also be credible in itself such as one that the common experience and observation of mankind can approve as probable under the circumstances. The immediately foregoing version of the defense falls short of such standard. It is difficult to believe that an 18 year-old barrio lass would initiate and consent to having an amorous affair with the common-law spouse of her own mother, under the same roof where she and her younger siblings are staying. The Court however, does not believe the unbelievable and strange story of the neighbor-spouses which not only borders on the improbable but also fantastic. It would be the height of incredulity for live-in partners between a young lady and a middle age man to display for others to see their intimate moments for even married husband and wife will normally seek a place where they are alone together to perform their romantic encounters secure from possible prying eyes.

People of the Philippines Vs. Romeo Canare G.R. No. 168444 December 13, 2006 Ruling: The foregoing is borne out by the transcript of stenographic notes of XXX's positive and clear testimony of how appellant ravished her despite her plea for mercy. An examination of the transcripts of the proceedings in the court of origin shows that XXX repeatedly cried while testifying; so much so that the trial had to be suspended sometimes because of her bitter sobs and occasional trembling to enable her to regain her composure. If anything else, XXX's act of crying several times during her testimony bolsters the credibility of the rape charge with the verity borne out of human nature and experience. To be sure, the law does not impose burden on the rape victim to prove resistance. It is enough if the intercourse takes place against the victim's will. Tenacious resistance against rape is not required; neither is a determined nor a persistent physical struggle on the part of the victim necessary. In fact, whatever resistance XXX was able to muster was easily repulsed by appellant considering the great disparity in their physical built. Record reveals that XXX is 5'1" in height and 123 pounds in weight while appellant is 6 feet tall and weigh 220 pounds. More importantly, alibi cannot prevail over the positive identification of the accused as the perpetrator of the crime. Here, XXX clearly and positively identified appellant as the very man who raped her on that fateful day of August 4, 1998 inside a room at Wise Hotel in Pasay City. To recapitulate, the guiding rule in rape cases is that the lone testimony of the victim, if credible, is enough to sustain a conviction. XXX's testimony, given in a straightforward manner amidst sobs as she

recounted her harrowing experience, is indubitably credible especially considering that there is no showing that she was motivated by any evil motive to falsely testify against appellant who is a complete stranger to her. As we see it, XXX, innocent and nave as she is to the ways of the world, would not concoct a tale of defloration or bestiality and consequently subject herself to an examination of her private parts, undergo the trauma and humiliation of a public trial, and embarrass herself with the need to narrate in sordid details how she was raped, if she was not in fact raped, unless motivated by her quest to right an injustice done to her.

People of the Philippines Vs. Melchor Cabalquinto G.R. Nos. 167693 September 19, 2006

Ruling: The testimony of [AAA] was even more bolstered by the consistency of her declaration under cross by the defense counsel, Atty. Torralba of the Public Attorney's Office, whose attempt to discredit [AAA]'s accusation by making it appear that she would not have known how to testify that she was raped by her own father, had she not been coached by someone else to say so, miserably failed. In the following portions of [AAA]'s cross-examination by the Defense, instead of destroying [AAA]'s credibility the more that it was established that accused indeed raped her (sic) daughter. [AAA]'s declaration that she was raped corroborates the testimony of the doctor who testified that a strand of hair was found inside [AAA]'s vaginal vault. The doctor's testimony that the presence of a strand of hair inside the vaginal vault would not be possible without sexual intercourse, bolsters the accusation of [AAA] that she had been raped. Of course, there is no test to determine whose hair was it, but considering [AAA]'s testimony that accused had carnal knowledge of her twice prior to examination, a conclusion that the hair is accused's is plausible. The idea that that hair was purposely placed inside [AAA]'s vagina would be absurdity. Thus, when [AAA] pointed to her father as the person who molested her, this Court can only believe because no daughter in [AAA]'s age would accuse her own father of any wrongdoing, if it is not for the fact that he had wronged her, and that hair (pubic or not) is accused's. It should be emphasized that AAA was but eight (8) years old when the rapes happened. A child of her tender years cannot be expected to be able to recount the details of her torment with exactitude. In People v. Villar, the accused questioned the inconsistency between the victim's declaration in her sworn statement and her direct testimony in court as to the exact time when she was first raped by the accused in 1993. The Court held that it cannot impose the burden of exactness in the victim's recollection of her harrowing experience more so because the victim was an innocent and tender nine (9)-year old lass when she was first raped. Citing People v. Sagucio, we also held that errorless testimony cannot be expected especially when a witness is recounting the details of a harrowing experience.

People of the Philippines Vs. Bernie Teodoro G.R. No. 170473 October 12, 2006

Ruling: Thus, the contention of appellant that there were no lacerations in the vagina does not merit any consideration. In that regard, it has been held that the medical examination of the victim is merely corroborative in character and is not an element of rape. Likewise, a freshly broken hymen is not an essential element of rape and healed lacerations do not negate rape.

People of the Philippines Vs. Charlie Gloria G.R. No. 168476 September 27, 2006

Ruling: The Court does not subscribe to appellant's claim that the filing of the rape charges was part of ABC's effort to gain custody of her children, especially since the accused failed to prove the same. This is mere conjecture and obviously, a vain attempt to escape liability from his dastardly acts. It will take a sick and sinister parent to conjure up such a ploy and use an offspring as an engine of malice. It is also unthinkable for a mother to allow an examination of her daughter's private parts and subject her through the rigors and humiliation of a public trial if the accusations were not true, or if she was not motivated solely by the desire to have the person responsible for the defloration of her daughter apprehended and punished. With regard to the alleged inconsistency in AAA's testimony and the physical evidence, indeed, AAA testified on cross-examination that her father did not tie her up at anytime in the year 1999, despite the medico-legal's finding that there were ligature marks on both her wrists. On re-cross, however, she stated that she denied having been tied up by her father because she was afraid of her father. She then said that her father used a plastic straw when he tied her up the first time he raped her. Moreover, even if she hemmed and hawed in revealing the fact of her being tied up by her father, this does not detract from the cold reality that she was raped. It should be pointed out that errorless recollection of a traumatic and agonizing incident cannot be expected of a witness when she is recounting details of an experience as humiliating and painful as rape. A rapist should not expect the hapless object of his lechery to have "the memory of an elephant and the cold precision of a mathematician."

People of the Philippines Vs. Celestino Gardon G.R. No. 169872 September 27, 2006

Ruling:

That AAA failed to immediately report the rape is not necessarily indicative of fabrication as Gardon suggests. As we held in People v. Melivo, incest magnifies the terror of rape because the perpetrator is a person normally expected to give solace and protection to the victim. Access to the victim is guaranteed by the blood relationship, proximity magnifying the sense of helplessness and the degree of fear. The perpetrator takes full advantage of his blood relationship, ascendancy and influence over his victim, both to commit the sexual assault and to intimidate the victim into silence. In this case, not only was AAA cowed into submission and silence by the fact that Gardon is her grandfather, the latter also actually threatened to kill her and her brother if she told anyone what happened. To reiterate, given that the Informations failed to allege the aggravating circumstance of use of a deadly weapon and the qualifying circumstances of minority and relationship, Gardon is guilty of simple rape only.

People of the Philippines Vs. Gregorio Corpuz G.R. No. 168101 February 13, 2006

Ruling: It is highly inconceivable that complainant would not recognize her own father, with whom she had been living for a long time. We have held that it is the most natural reaction for victims of criminal violence to strive to see the appearance of their assailant and observe the manner in which the crime was committed. Most often, the face and body movements of the assailants create a lasting impression which cannot be easily erased from their memory. The impression becomes more profound where the malefactor is the victim's own father. Also, Juvilie categorically testified that it was her father who raped her. It is unthinkable, if not completely preposterous, that a daughter would concoct a story of rape against her father, taking to mind the reverence and respect for elders that is too deeply ingrained in Filipino children. It is well-settled that a categorical and positive identification of an accused, without any showing of ill-motive on the part of the eyewitness testifying on the matter, prevails over alibi and denial, which are negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of real weight in law unless substantiated by clear and convincing evidence. Identification of an accused by his voice has been accepted particularly in cases where, such as in this case, the witness has known the malefactor personally for so long and so intimately. In People v. Calixto, the Supreme Court has given credence to the blindfolded rape victims identification of the accused, a barriomate, by his voice. Also, in an earlier case, the Supreme Court has said: "x x x [C]omplainants identification of the appellant was not based solely on the latters physical defect, but by his voice as well, when he warned complainant, Flor, keep quiet. Although complainant did not see appellants face during the sexual act because the house was dark, nevertheless, no error could have been committed by the complainant in identifying the voice of the accused, inasmuch as complainant were neighbors." Be that as it may, the amendment of the information did not affect the crime committed by the appellant, that is, qualified rape. In cases of incestuous rape, force or intimidation need not even be proven. The overpowering moral influence of the father over the daughter takes the place of violence and offer of resistance required in rape cases committed by an accused unrelated to the victim. Consequently, his conviction is in order.

People of the Philippines Vs. Alfredo Bon G.R. No. 166401 October 30, 2006

Ruling: It is carnal knowledge, not pain, that is the element to consummate rape. Indeed pain may be deduced from the sexual act but accused cannot be convicted of rape by presuming carnal knowledge out of pain. It is well-settled that complete penetration of the penis into the vagina is not necessary to convict for consummated rape since the slightest penetration of one into the other will suffice. However, in People v. Campuhan, the term "slightest penetration" was clarified to mean that there must be sufficient and convincing proof of the penis indeed touching at the very least the labias of the female organ. Mere epidermal contact between the penis and the external layer of the victim's vagina (the stroking and the grazing of the male organ upon the female organ or the mons pubis) categorizes the crime as attempted rape or acts of lasciviousness. There must be positive proof of even the slightest penetration, more accurately, the touching of the labias by the penis, before rape could be deemed consummated. We, therefore, take exception to the finding of the trial court that when the accused was trying to insert his penis into the child's vagina, the act proved painful to [AAA,] which made the accused stop from further executing the act. From the testimony of private complainant, [AAA] in the afore-numbered cases, the prosecution failed to demonstrate beyond any shadow of doubt that accusedappellant's penis reached the labia of the pudendum of AAA's vagina. There is no basis then to apply the rule that the introduction of the penis into the aperture of the female organ (thereby touching the labia of the pudendum) already consummates the case of rape. x x x It should be added that under Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code, there is an attempt when the offender commences the commission of a felony directly by overt acts, and does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the felony by reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance. In the crime of rape, penetration is an essential act of execution to produce the felony. Thus, for there to be an attempted rape, the accused must have commenced the act of penetrating his sexual organ to the vagina of the victim but for some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance, the penetration, however slight, is not completed.

2005

People of the Philippines Vs. Antonio Mendoza G.R. No. 152589 and 152758 January 31, 2005 Ruling: There is an attempt to commit rape when the offender commences its commission directly by overt acts but does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the felony by reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance. The elements, therefore, of an attempted felony are the following: (1) the offender commences the commission of the felony directly by overt acts; (2) he does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the felony; (3) the offender's act be not stopped by his own spontaneous desistance; and (4) the non-performance of all acts of execution was due to cause or accident other than his spontaneous desistance.

Upon the other hand, Article 366 of the Revised Penal Code states: "(a)ny person who shall commit any act of lasciviousness upon the other person of either sex, under any of the circumstances mentioned in the preceding article, shall be punished by prision correccional." The elements of this crime are: (1) that the offender commits any act of lasciviousness or lewdness; (2) that it is done (a) by using force and intimidation, or (b) when the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious, or (c) when the offended party is under 12 years of age; and (3) that the offended party is another person of either sex. As explained by an eminent author of criminal law, rape and acts of lasciviousness have the same nature. There is, however, a fundamental difference between the two. In rape, there is the intent to lie with a woman whereas this element is absent in acts of lasciviousness. In this case, the series of appalling events which took place on the night of 18 March 1998 inside the humble home of private complainant and of accused-appellant, establish beyond doubt that the latter intended to ravish his very own flesh and blood. As vividly narrated by private complainant before the trial court, accused-appellant, taking advantage of the cover of darkness and of the absence of his wife, removed her (private complainant's) clothing and thereafter placed himself on top of her. Accusedappellant, who was similarly naked as private complainant, then proceeded to kiss the latter and he likewise touched her breasts until finally, he rendered private complainant unconscious by boxing her in the stomach. These dastardly acts of accused-appellant constitute "the first or some subsequent step in a direct movement towards the commission of the offense after the preparations are made." Far from being mere obscenity or lewdness, they are indisputably overt acts executed in order to consummate the crime of rape against the person of private complainant. Indeed, had private complaint given a categorical statement that the penis of accused-appellant had in fact penetrated her vagina or that it had at least touched her labia, we would have definitely affirmed the accused-appellant's conviction for consummated rape in Crim. Case No. 6636-G. Unfortunately, the records are bereft of any indication to this effect thus, we are constrained to find accused-appellant guilty only of attempted rape as far as Crim. Case No. 6636-G is concerned lest we obliterate the fine distinction between an attempted and consummated rape.

2004

EN BANC [G.R. No. 139236. February 3, 2004] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. RODEL ANTIVOLA, appellant. In the present case, no birth certificate or any similar authentic document was presented and offered in evidence to prove Rachels age. The only evidence of the victims age is her testimony and that of her mothers (Sally de Guzmans) Simumpaang Salaysay, which was adopted as part of the latters direct testimony, attesting to the fact that her five-year-old daughter was raped. Sallys testimony regarding Rachels age was insufficient, since Rachel was alleged to be already five years old at the time of the rape, and what is sought to be proved is that she was then less than seven years old. Her testimony will suffice only if it is expressly and clearly admitted by the accused. There is no such express and clear declaration and admission of the appellant that Rachel was less than seven years old when he raped her. Moreover, the trial court made no finding as to the victims age. However, Sallys testimony that her daughter was five years old at the time of the commission of the crime is sufficient for purposes of holding the appellant liable for statutory rape, or the rape of a girl below twelve years of age. Under the second paragraph of Article 266-B, in relation to Article 266A(1)(d), carnal knowledge of a woman under twelve years of age is punishable by reclusion perpetua. Thus, the appellant should be sentenced to suffer reclusion perpetua, and not the death penalty.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs Carmelito Laurente CaPWA,, G.R. No. 174058 December 27, 2007 We now rule on the prosecutions sufficiency of evidence. To sustain a conviction for rape, there must be proof of the penetration of the female organ. In this case, the conviction of accused-appellant was anchored mainly on the testimony of the minor victim, AAA. Accused-appellant, however, questions AAAs credibility, alleging that there was significant discrepancy between her Sinumpaang Salaysay, where she said that she was harassed; and her testimony in court, where she said that she was raped. We affirm the credibility of AAA. It is a settled doctrine that the trial courts finding of credibility is conclusive on the appellate court, unless it is shown that certain facts of substance and value have been plainly overlooked, misunderstood, or misapplied. In this case, accused-appellant has not shown that the RTC and CA findings should be reversed. As correctly observed by the CA, the inaccuracy in AAAs Sinumpaang Salaysay may be attributed to the inadequacy of the investigators language, and not on her alleged lack of honesty. Moreover, AAAs testimony in court clearly proved that accusedappellant had sexually abused her. It must be stressed that affidavits taken ex parte are inferior to testimony given in court, the affidavits being invariably incomplete and oftentimes inaccurate due to partial suggestions or want of specific inquiries. EN BANC [G.R. No. 145223. February 11, 2004] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. ALBERTO LUCERIANO, appellant. An appeal in a criminal case throws the whole case wide open for review and the reviewing tribunal can correct errors, though unassigned in the appealed judgment, or even reverse the trial courts decision on the basis of grounds other than those that the parties raised as errors. Thus, although not raised as an issue by appellant, we deem it prudent to discuss appellants use of force or intimidation in consummating his bestial act. Mysan testified that appellant pointed a knife at her side. There was, therefore, the essence of force and intimidation sufficient to engender fear in Mysans mind that she would be killed if she did not yield to appellants bestial desire. The act of holding a knife by itself is strongly suggestive of force or at least intimidation, and threatening the victim with a knife is sufficient to bring her into submission. Even in the absence of force, threat or intimidation, appellants sexual intercourse with Mysan would constitute statutory rape. The Information alleged, and the prosecution proved during trial, that Mysan was only eleven (11) years old when appellant had sexual intercourse with her. Under Article 266A(d) of the Revised Penal Code, when the victim is under twelve (12) years of age, there is rape even in the absence of force, threat or intimidation. Appellants pretense cannot prevail over the testimony of Mysan which the trial court found to be candid, plain, and straightforward. The testimony of victims who are of tender age are credible. Besides, we note that Mysan could not hold back her emotions and cried profusely at certain points during the trial. The spontaneous crying of a young victim while recounting her heart-rending experience is evidence that speaks well of her credibility. There being proof beyond reasonable doubt that appellant committed the crime as charged, we affirm his conviction. In the present case, the Information does not state that appellant is the live-in partner of Mysans mother. Even if the prosecution proved that appellant was in fact the common-law spouse of Mysans mother, the death penalty could not be imposed on appellant because the Information did not specifically allege this relationship. The relationship cannot increase the crime to qualified rape if the Information does not specifically allege the relationship. Otherwise, appellant would be deprived of his right to be informed of the nature of the charge against him. Consequently, appellant is only liable for simple rape under the first paragraph of Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code which penalizes

simple rape with reclusion perpetua. Since we are reducing the penalty to reclusion perpetua, the damages awarded by the trial court to Mysan should be modified accordingly. The award of P50,000 civil indemnity is in accordance with current jurisprudence involving simple rape. In the present case, the Information did not specifically allege the relationship between appellant and Mysan although the prosecution proved during the trial the relationship with the testimonies of Mysan, Mysans mother, and appellants own admission. Hence, even if the relationship cannot be appreciated as a qualifying circumstance, it can nonetheless be the basis of a civil award of P25,000 in exemplary damages. EN BANC [G.R. No. 152954. March 10, 2004] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. PAULINO SEVILLENO y VILLANUEVA, a.k.a. Tamayo Sevilleno, appellant. 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. While it is established that nothing less than proof beyond reasonable doubt is required for a conviction, this exacting standard does not preclude resort to circumstantial evidence when direct evidence is not available. Direct evidence is not a condition sine qua non to prove the guilt of an accused beyond reasonable doubt. For in the absence of direct evidence, the prosecution may resort to adducing circumstantial evidence to discharge its burden. Crimes are usually committed in secret and under conditions where concealment is highly probable. If direct evidence is insisted on under all circumstances, the prosecution of vicious felons who commit heinous crimes in secret or secluded places will be hard, if not impossible, to prove. 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. We find no circumstance of weight or substance that was overlooked by the trial court. EN BANC [G.R. No. 146803. January 14, 2004] THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. CLEMENTINO LOU y GALINDO alias Junior, appellant. DECISION It is claimed that the victims motive in filing the rape charge has only been to exact vengeance and to get rid of appellant. The Court has consistently disregarded this kind of assertion as being too trite to merit consideration. In one case, the allegation that the rape victim has just wanted to get rid of an accused due to the maltreatment which she and her mother have suffered in his hands has been held by the Court to be too unnatural to merit faith and credit. Truly, as has so often been said, neither the victim nor a mother would expose the family to shame and scandal if the charge were merely impelled by a motive other than to exact justice.

EN BANC [G.R. No. 142431. January 14, 2004] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. DIONISIO ANCHETA, appellant.

Moreover, when a woman, more so if she is a minor, says she has been raped, she says, in effect, all that is necessary to prove that rape was committed. Courts usually give greater weight to the testimony of a girl who is a victim of sexual assault, especially a minor particularly in cases of incestuous rape, because no woman would be willing to undergo a public trial and put up with the shame, humiliation and dishonor of exposing her own degradation were it not to condemn an injustice and to have the offender apprehended and punished. We further note that Ginalyn broke into tears while testifying. The crying of a victim during her testimony is evidence of the truth of the rape charges, for the display of such emotion indicates the pain that the victim feels when asked to recount her traumatic experience. Moreover, the fact that appellant admitted that he is the father of Ginalyn during the pre-trial, thus dispensing with the need to present evidence to prove the same, will not justify the trial courts appreciation of the qualifying circumstance of relationship. A perusal of the pre-trial order would readily show that the said stipulation was not signed by the appellant and his counsel. Hence, it cannot be used as evidence against him. Rule 118, Sec. 2 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that all agreements or admissions made or entered during the pre-trial conference shall be reduced in writing and signed by the accused and counsel, otherwise, they cannot be used against the accused. This requirement is mandatory. Thus, the omission of the signature of the accused and his counsel, as mandatorily required by the Rules, renders the Stipulation of Facts inadmissible in evidence. Considering that the relationship of the victim and the offender was not proved beyond reasonable doubt, appellant can only be convicted of simple rape, punishable by reclusion perpetua. EN BANC [G. R. No. 149557. March 16, 2004] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. RYAN TORRES y CERVANTES, appellant. Full penetration of the victims genital organ is not required in order to sustain a conviction for rape. The act performed by appellant cannot be classified as being a mere epidermal contact, stroking or grazing of organs, as so held in People vs. Campuhan, but an entry of the penis, albeit slight or incomplete, into the labia of the pudendum. In a number of cases, this Court has held that even where penetration is not fully established, a consummated rape can still be anchored on the victims testimony that she has felt pain in the attempt of penetration. Rhosella has positively and categorically identified appellant to be her assailant. She has had a fairly good look at his face, with not slightest attempt on his part to cover or shield himself at any time before, during and after the assault. Most certainly, this declaration prevails over the denial and alibi of appellant, both negative and self-serving, which defenses are often considered to be undeserving of weight in the absence of clear and convincing evidence. In any event, based on appellants own testimony, it would take only about thirty minutes from GMA, Cavite, to reach the San Pedro market, a statement that can hardly support the defense of alibi.

EN BANC [G.R. No. 130586. January 29, 2004] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. FRANCISCO BLANCAFLOR, appellant. In this case, appellant, who had been the common-law husband of Mylenes mother for fifteen years, was practically the one exercising parental authority over Mylene, as he himself testified that he took it upon himself to try to discipline her. In People vs. Labayne, we ruled that a child of tender years would blindly follow her stepfather who not only exercised strong, moral and physical ascendancy over her, but who made explicit threats on her life should she make any noise. Thus, we find appellants contention that the delay of fourteen months in reporting the alleged rape

clouded her credibility, to be unmeritorious. Mylene greatly feared appellant, believing him capable of carrying out his threat to kill them all. Because of this, it took her three weeks before she could muster the courage to tell her mother about the incident. But despite having been apprised of her daughters sad fate, Mylenes mother failed to take any positive act to bring appellant to justice for his evil deed. In fact, as related by Mylene, which was not refuted by the defense, her mother and appellant fought about it but after a while, they were on speaking terms again. As a child of fourteen years at the time the crime was committed, Mylene could hardly be expected to know how to go about reporting the crime to authorities without the help of an adult. Verily, we see how Mylene must have felt absolutely hopeless, believing that there is nobody who could help her if her own mother would not even lift a finger to vindicate her rights or to ensure that she would not be subjected to similar atrocity in the future. It took Mylenes teachers who had enough concern for her well-being that impelled them to bring the matter to the attention of law enforcement agencies. Thus, the delay of fourteen months in reporting and filing the case against appellant has been sufficiently explained. EN BANC [G. R. No. 145034-35. February 5, 2004] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. PEDRO INTONG y AGAPAY, appellant. The victims relationship with appellant, however, is not among the qualifying circumstances of relationships covered by the law. Article 266-B requires that the offender is a parent, ascendant, stepparent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim. Conformably with the principle of exclusio unius est exclusio alterius, the relationship of the offender, as being just a step-grandfather of the victim, cannot be deemed embraced by the enumeration. Furthermore, there is no evidence submitted that appellant is legally married to the victims grandmother. Absent one of the twin qualifying circumstances heretofore discussed, the rape committed may only be subject to the single indivisible penalty of reclusion perpetua. Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code provides that [i]n all cases in which the law prescribes a single indivisible penalty, it shall be applied by the courts regardless of any mitigating or aggravating circumstances that may have attended the commission of the deed. Accordingly, the attendance of the aggravating circumstance of dwelling may not raise the penalty to death but it may serve as a basis for the award of exemplary damages. The crime has been witnessed by the nine-year-old brother of the victim. Under Article 266-B(3), the penalty of death may be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with the qualifying circumstance of the crime having been witnessed in full view by any of the victims relatives within the third civil degree of consanguinity. While Gino is a full-blood brother of the victim, or a relative within the second degree, this qualifying circumstance, however, has not been alleged in the Information so as to warrant the imposition of the death penalty. Sections 8 and 9, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure requires the recital in the charge or information of aggravating circumstances. The commission of the crime prior to the effectivity of the Rules on 1 December 2000 does not deprive the appellant of its favorable consequence. EN BANC [G.R. No. 142887. March 2, 2004] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. RODRIGO PACHECO y CASTILLO, appellant. We are not convinced that the private complainants conduct in meekly walking home in single-file with her mother and the appellant behind after she was raped, would negate her tale of ravishment. First, as appellant himself admits, there is no standard reaction of a victim in a rape incident. Second, there is nothing bizarre about the behavior of the private complainant or of her mother, as appellant would have us believe. As the Solicitor General correctly points out, both Mary Jane and Araceli were threatened with death by the appellant. Araceli, in fact, had no choice but to placate appellant with promises that she would not disclose the rape lest the latter make good his threats. Hence, they had to act as if they were calm and had accepted the fait accompli as a matter of course in order to throw appellant off his guard. Note, however, that once safely out of the appellants clutches, Araceli did not waste time to report immediately the incident to the barangay authorities when she had the chance to

do so. Note likewise that appellant ran off to the mountains when the authorities sought to bring him in for questioning. His flight strongly indicates his guilt. A truly innocent person would seize every opportunity to defend himself and assert his innocence. EN BANC [G.R. No. 132146. March 10, 2004] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. DANTE GAUFO y DILAO, appellant. Appellants defense that other unknown persons raped Imee cannot be given credence. It is too unconvincing and obviously a concoction a product of a desperate attempt to exculpate himself from criminal liability. Certainly, it cannot overcome the categorical and positive testimony of the victim that it was appellant who dragged her to the grassy area, hit her with a piece of wood, and punched her abdomen until she fainted. She cannot be mistaken of his identity since she knows him well she even calls him Kuya Dante. To be sure, there is no proof or any indication that Imee and the rest of the prosecution witnesses were animated by improper motive in testifying against appellant. We have held that where there is no evidence and nothing to indicate that the principal witnesses for the prosecution were impelled by any improper motive, the presumption is that they were not and that their testimonies are thus entitled to full faith and credit. The trial court correctly appreciated the credibility of the prosecution witnesses. It did not err in rejecting appellants version, finding it not worthy of faith and credit. Once again, we must reiterate the familiar rule that the task of taking on the issue of credibility is a function properly lodged with the trial court, whose findings are entitled to great weight and accorded the highest respect by the reviewing courts, unless certain facts of substance and value were overlooked or misappreciated such as would alter the conviction of the appellant. There is no such fact of substance and value in this case. [G.R. No. 134766. January 16, 2004] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. ELPEDIO TORRES y CAETE, appellant. We agree with the appellant that the trial court erred in sentencing him to suffer the death penalty for raping the victim on its findings that the use of deadly weapon, nighttime and uninhabited place were attendant in the commission of the crime. We note that the prosecution proved beyond cavil that the appellant committed the crime at nighttime to facilitate the commission of the crime and with the use of a knife, a deadly weapon, to intimidate the victim. However, the prosecution failed to prove the aggravating circumstance of uninhabited place (despoblado). In People v. Cabiles, this Court held that the more important consideration is whether the place of the commission of the offense is a reasonable possibility for the victim to receive some help. Before despoblado could be appreciated against the accused, it must be established that solitude was purposely sought or taken advantage of to facilitate the commission of the crime. We find that the prosecution failed to prove such circumstance in this case. The Information failed to allege the aggravating circumstance of nighttime as required by Section 8, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, which reads: [G.R. No. 146111. February 23, 2004] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. ROLENDO GAUDIA @ LENDOY or DODO, appellant. Similarly, appellants charge that the offers of compromise allegedly made by the parents of the appellant to Amalia, and by the appellant himself to Amalias husband should not have been taken against him by the trial court, even if sustained, will not exculpate him. To be sure, the offer of compromise allegedly made by appellant to Amalia Loyolas husband is hearsay evidence, and of no probative value. It was only Amalia who testified as to the alleged offer, and she was not a party to the conversation which allegedly transpired at the Hagonoy Municipal Jail. A witness can only testify on

facts which are based on his personal knowledge or perception. The offer of compromise allegedly made by the appellants parents to Amalia may have been the subject of testimony of Amalia. However, following the principle of res inter alios acta alteri nocere non debet, the actions of his parents cannot prejudice the appellant, since he was not a party to the said conversation, nor was it shown that he was privy to the offer of compromise made by them to the mother of the victim. They cannot be considered as evidence against appellant but we reiterate that these errors are not enough to reverse the conviction of the appellant. Appellants defense hardly impresses. It is interesting to note that appellant and his witnesses claim that it was at around 5:00 p.m. when appellant carried the child Daylen toward her grandmother Catalina at the place where she was gathering tuba. Mik testified that it was around 4:00 p.m. when he saw appellant carrying Remelyn toward the ipil-ipil grove. Given the 130-meter distance between the ipil-ipil grove and the houses of appellant and of Amalia Loyola, appellant could have easily taken Remelyn from her house, raped her at the ipil-ipil grove, and left her there, all in a matter of a few minutes. Sometime past 4:00 p.m., he could then have returned to his house, and together with Alex Loyola, proceeded to the COMELEC office to register, and did all the subsequent acts he claims to have done. [G.R. Nos. 146462-63. January 14, 2004] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. RAFAEL CEA y GUERRERO, appellant. From the foregoing, it is clear that the age and minority of complainant Marilou was sufficiently established. Marilous filiation to appellant was also sufficiently proven. It must be noted that generally, a baptismal certificate, by itself, is not considered as proof of filiation because it proves only the administration of the act of baptism on the day specified therein and does not prove the veracity of the statements made therein regarding the relatives or parents of the person baptized. However, in the present case, not only did the baptismal certificate indicate appellant as Marilous father, but appellant himself admitted on the stand that he is the father of Marilou. In the case of People v. Salvador, we accepted the baptismal certificate of the victim, together with the testimony of the victim, that of the victims mother, as well as the admission of the accused that he is the father of the victim, as sufficient proof of filiation. [G.R. No. 139351. February 23, 2004] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. WARLITO TOLENTINO y LAQUIN, appellant. The appellant has not debunked the examining physicians finding of penile penetration as shown by the lacerations on the private complainants genitalia. Lacerations, whether fresh or healed, are the best physical evidence of forcible defloration. Under the circumstances of this case, we hold that the essential requisites of statutory rape defined in Article 335, Paragraph 3 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 11 of Rep. Act No. 7659, which was in force at the time of the rape, have been sufficiently established. That Mylene was only seven years old is clear from her authentic birth certificate and the corroborating testimony of her mother. Both establish that she was born on May 23, 1988. The appellants alibi that he was at his brothers house deserves scant consideration. It was correctly rejected by the court a quo for being inherently weak, unreliable, and easily fabricated. For the defense of alibi to prosper, it must be established by positive, clear, and satisfactory proof that it was physically impossible for the accused to have been at the crime scene at the time of its commission and not merely that he was somewhere else. Physical impossibility refers to the distance between the place where the accused was when the crime was committed and the place where it was committed, as well as the facility of the access between the two places. In this case, the element of physical impossibility is absent, as the residence of appellants brother where he supposedly was at the time of the commission of the crime is located in the same barangay as the scene of the crime. Moreover, his alibi must crumble in the face of the positive identification made by the private complainant of the appellant as her rapist.

[G.R. No. 146859. January 20, 2004] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. RAUL OBRIQUE y ANTONIO, appellant. As we have pointed out early on, the same certificate of live birth was presented and marked as evidence during the pre-trial conference. Its existence and contents formed part of the pre-trial agreement, as well as the pre-trial order issued by the trial court. The genuineness and authenticity of such birth certificate was not objected to, nor was its presentation opposed by appellant. It was on the basis of such birth certificate that both parties agreed to admit the stipulation that Angela was indeed born on June 19, 1984. The fact of Angelas minority was properly alleged in the information, and her birth certificate confirming the same, is the best proof of her age. We now discuss the matter of relationship. A reading of the information shows that the prosecution failed properly to allege the qualifying circumstance of relationship. The information merely states that the complainant is appellants niece, without specifying that appellant was a relative by consanguinity within the third civil degree. In the case of People v. Ferolino, we ruled: In this case, the allegation that FERLYN is ANTONIOs niece is not specific enough to satisfy the special qualifying circumstances of relationship. If the offender is merely a relation not a parent, ascendant, step-parent, or guardian or common law spouse of the mother of the victim it must be alleged in the information that he is a relative by consanguinity or affinity [as the case may be] within the third civil degree. That relationship by consanguinity or affinity was not alleged in the informations in these cases. Even if it was, it was still necessary to further allege that such relationship was within the third civil degree. [G.R. No. 139697. June 15, 2004] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. LITO HERNANDEZ, appellant. It bears stressing that the crime was committed in broad daylight, about 12:00 noon. We have ruled that where the conditions of visibility are favorable and the witness does not appear to harbor any ill motive against the malefactors, his testimony as to how the crime was committed and on the identities of perpetrators must be accepted. There is no evidence on record of any ill motive on the part of Cesar to falsely implicate Catapang and the appellant in the heinous crime for which the latter could be sentenced to the capital penalty. [G.R. Nos. 148939-40. February 13, 2004] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. JOSEPH ORILLA, appellant. Remilyn had no reason to fabricate the serious charges against her own brother whose life could hang in the balance in case he is found guilty of qualified rape. With the filing of the criminal cases, Remilyn had to face the ire of her other siblings, two of whom have even testified against her. Remilyn is now under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Lingayen, Pangasinan. An incestuous sexual assault is a psycho-social deviance that inflicts a stigma, not only on the victim but also on their whole family. Even in ordinary rape cases, the sole testimony of a credible victim may seal the fate of the rapist. However, we resort to the strict interpretation of the term aggravating circumstance only for the purpose of imposing the death penalty. When the penalty to be imposed is a range of penalties where the maximum penalty is death and the appreciation of an aggravating circumstance would call for the imposition of the maximum penalty, which is death, the term aggravating circumstance must be strictly construed. The aggravating circumstance sufficient to justify the imposition of the death penalty must not only be duly alleged and proven it must be one of those enumerated in Article 14 of

the Revised Penal Code or that specified by law. In all other cases where the maximum penalty is not death, the term aggravating circumstance must be interpreted in its broad or generic sense so as to include the alternative circumstances under Article 15 of the Revised Penal Code. We cannot consider dwelling as a generic aggravating circumstance because the Amended Information did not allege dwelling. The 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, which applies retroactively in this case, now explicitly mandates that the information must state in ordinary and concise language the qualifying and aggravating circumstances. When the law or rules specify certain circumstances that can aggravate an offense or qualify an offense to warrant a greater penalty, the information must allege such circumstances and the prosecution must prove the same to justify the imposition of the increased penalty. [G.R. No. 153119. April 13, 2004] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. ANTONIO REYES y MAGANO, appellant. The trial court sentenced the appellant to suffer the death penalty on its finding that the crime was aggravated by the fact that it was committed in the victims dwelling and in complete disregard of the victims sex and advanced age of seventy years old. According to the Office of the Solicitor General, however, the imposable penalty should be reclusion perpetua, because the foregoing aggravating circumstances were not alleged in the Information. IN RE: THE WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS FOR REYNALDO DE VILLA (detained at the New Bilibid Prisons, Muntinlupa City) REYNALDO DE VILLA, petitioner, JUNE DE VILLA, petitionerrelator, vs. THE DIRECTOR, NEW BILIBID PRISONS, respondent. In this instance, although the DNA evidence was undoubtedly discovered after the trial, we nonetheless find that it does not meet the criteria for newly-discovered evidence that would merit a new trial. Such evidence disproving paternity could have been discovered and produced at trial with the exercise of reasonable diligence. Petitioner-relators claim that he was unaware of the existence of DNA testing until the trial was concluded carries no weight with this Court. Lack of knowledge of the existence of DNA testing speaks of negligence, either on the part of petitioner, or on the part of petitioners counsel. In either instance, however, this negligence is binding upon petitioner. It is a settled rule that a party cannot blame his counsel for negligence when he himself was guilty of neglect. A client is bound by the acts of his counsel, including the latters mistakes and negligence. It is likewise settled that relief will not be granted to a party who seeks to be relieved from the effects of the judgment when the loss of the remedy at law was due to his own negligence, or to a mistaken mode of procedure. Even with all of the compelling and persuasive scientific evidence presented by petitioner and his counsel, we are not convinced that Reynaldo de Villa is entitled to outright acquittal. As correctly pointed out by the Solicitor General, even if it is conclusively proven that Reynaldo de Villa is not the father of Leahlyn Mendoza, his conviction could, in theory, still stand, with Aileen Mendozas testimony and positive identification as its bases. The Solicitor General reiterates, and correctly so, that the pregnancy of the victim has never been an element of the crime of rape. Therefore, the DNA evidence has failed to conclusively prove to this Court that Reynaldo de Villa should be discharged. Although petitioner claims that conviction was based solely on a finding of paternity of the child Leahlyn, this is not the case. Our conviction was based on the clear and convincing testimonial evidence of the victim, which, given credence by the trial court, was affirmed on appeal. [G.R. Nos. 140873-77. February 6, 2004] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. LEVI SUMARAGO, appellant. There is no proof beyond reasonable doubt that the appellants penis entered the labia of the pudendum of Norelyn. It is possible that while Norelyn was unconscious, the appellant undressed her, removed

her panties and inserted his private organ into her vagina; and after satisfying himself, put her clothes back on before she regained consciousness. But such possibility is not synonymous with evidence. That the appellant had carnal knowledge of Norelyn cannot be presumed simply because she felt pain in her vagina when she regained consciousness, and that for over a period of time, the appellant warned her not to tell anybody. [I]n rape cases, there are no half measures or even quarter measures, nor is their gravity graduated by the inches of entry. Partial penile penetration is as serious as full penetration. In either case, rape is deemed consummated. We further said that in a manner of speaking, bombardment of the drawbridge is invasion enough even if the troops do not succeed in entering the castle. The appellants assertion that the incomplete laceration in the hymen of Norelyn could have been caused by a stick or a finger is clutching at straws. In light of Norelyns straightforward, positive, and spontaneous testimony that the appellant inserted his penis into her vagina on the four occasions that she was raped, the appellants surmises cannot prevail. 2003 [G.R. No. 149199. January 28, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. NEMESIO BON, accused-appellant. It is therefore clear from the foregoing testimony that accused-appellant did not have sexual intercourse or sexual bodily connections with the victim. Absent direct proof of carnal knowledge, accusedappellant cannot be convicted of rape. It appears that in the Sinumpaang Salaysay of the victim, she never claimed that accused-appellants penis grazed or touched her private parts. According to her, he committed the following acts: Sinundot-sundot ang pekpek ko, dinilaan ang pekpek ko. The presence of a deep healed laceration on the hymen of the victim does not conclusively prove carnal knowledge. As testified to by Dr. Suguitan, the laceration could have been caused by introduction of any of the following objects into the victims vagina: (1) finger; (2) erect penis; or (3) any other blunt instrument that can be inserted in the vagina. Standing alone, a physicians finding that the hymen of the alleged victim was lacerated does not prove rape. It is only when this is corroborated by other evidence proving carnal knowledge that rape may be deemed to have been established. Likewise, the testimony of Violeta failed to establish the element of carnal knowledge. Violeta saw that accused-appellant was lying on top of the victim; and that accused-appellant and the victim were fully clothed. Similarly, in People v. Contreras, all that the prosecution was able to establish was the accused sitting on the floor, his fly open, and his sex organ out, while [the victim] was sitting on his lap, facing him, her legs spread apart, and without any underwear on. In the said case, we ruled that since there was no direct evidence showing that the accused was able to insert his organ into the victims vagina or that his penis made contact with the labia, he cannot be convicted of rape. Verily, from the testimony of Violeta, it is easy to speculate that the victim was raped. But in criminal cases, speculation and probabilities cannot take the place of proof required to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. Suspicion, no matter how strong, must not sway judgment. Under the present law on rape, Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 8353 (or the The Anti-Rape Law of 1997 which took effect on October 22, 1997), and interpreted in People v. Soriano, insertion of ones finger into the genital of another constitutes rape through sexual assault. This law, however, finds no application in the case at bar, considering that the governing law at the time of the commission of the crime on August 19, 1997 was Article 335 of the Revised

Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 7659, where insertion of ones finger into the genitals of another does not amount to rape. Nevertheless, accused-appellant is not completely without liability. In Dulla v. Court of Appeals, et al.,we held that although the information charged the crime of rape, accused-appellant can be convicted of acts of lasciviousness because it is included in rape. Rule 120, Sec. 4 of the Rules of Court states: Judgment in case of variance between allegation and proof. When there is variance between the offense charged in the complaint or information, and that proved, and the offense as charged is included in or necessarily includes the offense proved, the accused shall be convicted of the offense proved which is included in the offense charged, or of the offense charged which is included in that which is proved. The elements of the crime of acts lasciviousness are: (1) that the offender commits any act of lasciviousness or lewdness; (2) that it is done: (a) by using force and intimidation or (b) when the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious, or (c) when the offended party is under 12 years of age; and (3) that the offended party is another person of either sex. Section 32, Article XIII, of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 7610 or the Child Abuse Law defines lascivious conduct, as follows: [T]he intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks, or the introduction of any object into the genitalia, anus or mouth, of any person, whether of the same or opposite sex, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, bestiality, masturbation, lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a person. In the case at bar, all the elements of the offense were established, making accused-appellant liable for the crime of acts of lasciviousness, as defined and penalized under Article 366 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to R.A. No. 7610 or the Child Abuse Law. As evidenced by her birth certificate, the victim was 6 years of age at the time of the commission of the offense on August 19, 1997, having been born on November 3, 1991. Accused-appellants acts of removing the victims underwear, inserting his finger into and licking her vagina, and lying on top of her, constitute lascivious conduct intended to arouse or gratify his sexual desire. Indeed, the victims testimony that accused-appellant performed the said lecherous acts should be given full faith and credence. In cases of acts of lasciviousness, the lone testimony of the offended party, if credible, is sufficient to establish the guilt of the accused. Such is the testimony of victims who are young, immature, and have no motive to falsely testify against the accused, as in the instant case. Article III, Section 5, of Republic Act No. 7610, provides: Child Prostitution and other Sexual Abuse. Children, whether male or female, who for money or profit, or any other consideration or due to the coercion or influence of any adult, syndicate or group, indulge in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct are deemed to be children exploited in prostitution and other sexual abuse. The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon the following: (b) Those who commit the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual abuse; Provided, That when the victim is under twelve (12) years of age, the perpetrators shall be prosecuted under Article 335, paragraphs 3, for rape and Article 336 of Act No. 3815, as amended, the Revised Penal Code, for rape or lascivious conduct, as the case may be: Provided, That the penalty for lascivious conduct when the victim is under twelve (12) years of age shall be reclusion temporal in its medium period; x x x . (Emphasis supplied) Considering that the victim in the instant case was only 6 years old at the time the crime was

committed, accused-appellant should be meted the penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period. In the absence of any mitigating or aggravating circumstance, the penalty shall be imposed in its medium period,which has a range of fifteen (15) years, six (6) months and twenty (20) days to sixteen (16) years, five (5) months and nine (9) days. Notwithstanding that R.A. No. 7610 is a special law, accused-appellant may enjoy the benefits of the Indeterminate Sentence Law. Thus, he shall be entitled to a minimum term to be taken within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Code. The penalty next lower in degree is prision mayor, the range of which is from six (6) years and one (1) day to twelve (12) years. Hence, for the crime of acts of lasciviousness, accused-appellant shall suffer the indeterminate sentence of eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as minimum, to fifteen (15) years, six (6) months and twenty (20) days of reclusion temporal as maximum. In line with current jurisprudence, accused-appellant is liable to pay the victim the amount of P30,000.00 as moral damages. Accused-appellant Nemesio Bon is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of acts of lasciviousness, [G.R. No. 143125. June 10, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. DIOSDADO CORIAL y REQUIEZ, appellant. The death penalty for the crime herein charged may be imposed only when the twin qualifying circumstances of relationship between the appellant and the victim and the latters age are indubitably proven; otherwise, the appellant can only be held liable for the crime of simple rape penalized by reclusion perpetua. The relationship between appellant and the victim has been adequately established. The prosecution evidence has shown that appellant is the grandfather of the victim, a fact that appellant himself has likewise maintained. The same cannot, however, be said with respect to the age of the victim. In People vs. Pruna,the Court, after noting the divergent rulings on proof of age of the victim in rape cases, has set out certain guidelines in appreciating age, either as an element of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance. The primary evidence of age of the victim is her birth certificate. Age may also be proven by such authentic documents as a baptismal certificate and school records only in the absence of a birth certificate. If the aforesaid documents are 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 but only 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. In the instant case, the prosecution did not offer the victims certificate of live birth or any similar authentic document in evidence. The trial court, in convicting the appellant of the crime of rape and imposing upon him the death penalty even in the absence of the necessary documents, relied on the sworn statement of Marietta Corial, the mother of the victim, attesting to the fact that her daughter Maricar Corial was born on 26 May 1990. Marietta Corial, however, did not testify in court. Such sworn statement was thus inadmissible in evidence under the hearsay rule, and unless the affiant had been placed on the witness stand, the admission of the mere affidavit and the conviction of appellant on the basis thereof would violate the right of the accused to meet witness face to face. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, authentic document, or the testimony of the victims mother or relatives concerning the victims age under the circumstances heretofore mentioned, the complainants sole testimony can suffice provided that it is expressly and clearly admitted by the accused; to repeat, provided that it is expressly and clearly admitted by the accused. There is no such

declaration and admission on the part of appellant. This Court cannot be overly strict as regards the proof of age of the victim particularly when, such as under Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Rep. Act No. 8353, age is an element of the crime that, if shown, would make it punishable by death. As so frequently expressed by the Court, the severity of the death penalty, which by its nature is irreversible when carried out, should behoove courts to apply the most exacting rules of procedure and evidence. The prosecution is not excused from discharging its burden even when the defense lets itself loose about it. The trial court ordered appellant to indemnify the complainant in the amount of P75,000.00 and moral and exemplary damages in the amount of P50,000.00. The award must be corrected. In consonance with prevailing jurisprudence, appellant must be made to pay P50,000.00 civil indemnity, an award that is outrightly due the victim of rape by the mere fact of its commission, P50,000.00 moral damages which is deemed concomitant with and which necessarily results from this odious criminal offense, and P25,000.00 exemplary damages which are awarded under Article 2230 of the Civil Code when the crime is committed with one or more aggravating circumstances such as relationship between the offender and the victim. The judgment of the court a quo finding appellant Diosdado Corial y Requiez guilty of rape is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that he is hereby only adjudged guilty of simple, not qualified, rape and sentenced to suffer, instead of the death penalty, the penalty of reclusion perpetua. [G.R. No. 133189. May 5, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. SOLOMON PURAZO, accused-appellant. Hence, there may be circumstances to warrant such forbearance. Thus, in People v. Roque, where this Court upheld the conviction of the accused for two (2) counts of rape committed, first in the month of August 1994, and second, in the month of September 1994, under two (2) similarly worded complaints alleging that the two (2) counts of rape were committed sometime in 1992 and subsequent thereto in 1994, the death penalty imposed by the trial court was reduced to reclusion perpetua. We opined then that The necessity that the allegation in the Information be specific enough should be understandable particularly when the accused would be minded to raise the defense of alibi. The instant Information, which placed the time of the commission of the offense sometime in 1992, and subsequent thereto in 1994, concededly was widely inclusive spanning, as it so did, a period of two (2) years. Understandably, it unduly put the accused, who raised the defense of alibi, the difficult task of accounting in detail his actions for every single day of the two-year period to prove that he could not have committed the particular offense charged. The Court is convinced of the guilt beyond reasonable doubt of the appellant for the crime with which he has been charged but, given the circumstances hereinabove stated, there is, in the mind of the Court, sufficient justification in imposing on him the reduced penalty of reclusion perpetua. Considering that the instant case is on all fours with People v. Roque, where the complaining sisters were raped several times over a period of two (2) years by their father who was charged only with two (2) counts, we have no option but to follow case law. Likewise, we therefore vote to reduce the death penalty imposed by the trial court to reclusion perpetua. In conformity with prevailing jurisprudence, the amount of moral damages should be reduced from P100,000.00 to P50,000.00 which is given without need of proof other than the commission of rape. Another sum of P50,000.00 is however awarded to the victim as indemnity ex delicto. Considering the tender age of the victim, the aggravating circumstance of father-daughter relationship and to deter fathers with perverse and aberrant sexual behavior from sexually abusing their daughters, the victim is likewise entitled to exemplary damages.

[G.R. Nos. 142553-54. July 1, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. ALBERT SAYANA, appellant. We have held in several cases that the lone uncorroborated testimony of the complainant is sufficient to warrant a conviction, provided that such is credible, natural, convincing and consistent with human nature and the normal course of things. However, we have also held that the testimony of the complainant should not be received with precipitate credulity but with utmost caution. The test for determining the credibility of complainants testimony is whether it is in conformity with common knowledge and consistent with the experience of mankind. Whatever is repugnant to these standards becomes incredible and lies outside judicial cognizance. Complainants testimony in this case fails to satisfy the test of credibility. Moreover, it appears that complainants aunts have sufficient motive to concoct falsehoods against appellant. The latter mentioned several reasons why they resented him and the prosecution never refuted these allegations. The records show that these charges were filed against appellant upon the prompting of complainants aunts. In rape cases, it is the primordial duty of the prosecution to present its case with clarity and persuasion to the end that conviction becomes the only logical and inevitable conclusion. Proof beyond reasonable doubt is required. Although the law does not demand absolute certainty of guilt, it nonetheless requires moral certainty to support a judgment of conviction. Where the inculpatory facts admit of several interpretations, one consistent with accuseds innocence and another with his guilt, the evidence thus adduced fails to meet the test of moral certainty and it becomes the constitutional duty of the Court to acquit the accused. Such is the case here. [G. R. No. 137283. February 17, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. RODERICK LEGASPI, accused-appellant. There is then no doubt that accused-appellant had carnal knowledge of Cristina. A determination of the circumstances under which the crime was committed is thus in order to arrive at the proper penalty to be imposed on him. The information alleges that Cristina was 6 years old when the crime was committed. No birth certificate or any other authentic document was presented, however, to show when she was born in order to determine her age at the time. While Brigida declared that she was born on October 22, 1990 and undertook to submit a copy of her birth certificate, no such certificate was presented. In People v. Pruna, this Court set the following guidelines in appreciating age, either as an element of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance: 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 documentis 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. 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 no be taken against him. 6. The trial court should always make a categorical finding as to the age of the victim. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.) Based on the foregoing guidelines, the unavailability of the birth certificate of Cristina notwithstanding, the testimony of her aunt Brigida suffices to prove that she was below 12 years old at the time of the commission of the offense. The trial court, in imposing the penalty, appreciated the presence of aggravating circumstances that fall under the following paragraphs of Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code, to wit: 4. That the act be committed with insult or in disregard of the respect due to the offended party on account of his rank, age, or sex, or that it be committed in the dwelling of the offended party, if the 6. That the crime be committed in the nighttime, or in an uninhabited place, or by a band, whenever 14. craft, fraud, or disguise be employed. 15.advantage be taken of superior strength, or means be employed to weaken the defense. These circumstances, however, may not be appreciated to modify the penalty for the rape committed reclusion perpetua in light of Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code which provides: ART. 63. Rules for the application of indivisible penalties. - In all cases in which the law prescribes a single indivisible penalty, it shall be applied by the courts regardless of any mitigating or aggravating circumstances that may have attended the commission of the deed. x x x (Underscoring supplied.) But even assuming that the penalty is not single indivisible, such circumstances still can not be appreciated in the determination of the proper penalty since the Information dated August 18, 1997, failed to allege them as required by the 2000 Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure which is given retroactive effect. The failure to allege the aggravating circumstances notwithstanding, the proven presence thereof is still material in the determination of exemplary damages to be awarded to private complainant under Article 2230 of the Civil Code which provides: Art. 2230. In criminal offenses, exemplary damages as a part of the civil liability may be imposed when the crime was committed with one or more aggravating circumstances. Such damages are separate and distinct from fines and shall be paid to the offended party. As held in People v. Catubig,38 the retroactive application of procedural rules cannot adversely affect the rights of the private offended party that have become vested prior to the effectivity thereof.

This Court, however, finds that, contrary to the finding of the trial court, not one of above-mentioned aggravating circumstances can be appreciated for the purpose of awarding Cristina exemplary damages. It bears recalling that two hours after accused-appellant started drinking liquor at 6:00 p. m. together with his father and the latters two compadres, or at 8:00 p. m., he asked Cristina to go out. There is no showing that the circumstances of nighttime and uninhabited place were deliberately sought by accused-appellant to ensure the commission of rape. As to the circumstance of age, the same was already considered to qualify it to statutory rape. Neither can craft or fraud be appreciated, there being nothing deceitful with the way accused-appellant asked Cristina to go out with him, to wit: Ty, we will go out for a few minutes. As to the circumstance of abuse of superior strength, the same can be considered inherent in the crime of statutory rape, taking into account the disparity of age and size between accused-appellant and Cristina. [G.R. No. 146569. October 6, 2003] THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. JOHN NEQUIA, appellant. In People v. Salinas, we held that in rape cases, there are no half measures or even quarter measures, nor is their gravity graduated by the inches of entry. Partial penile penetration is as serious as full penetration. In either case, rape is deemed consummated. We further said that in a manner of speaking, bombardment of the drawbridge is invasion enough even if the troops do not succeed in entering the castle. In People v. Campuhan, we held that rape is consummated by the slightest penetration of the female organ, i.e., touching of either labia of the pudendum by the penis: As the labias, which are required to he touched by the penis, are by their natural situs or location beneath the mons pubis or the vaginal surface, to touch them with the penis is to attain some degree of penetration beneath the surface, hence, the conclusion that touching the labia majora or the labia minora of the pudendurn constitutes consummated rape. The pudendum or vulva is the collective term for the female genital organs that are visible in the perineal area, e.g., mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, the hymen, the clitoris, the vaginal orifice, etc. The mons pubis is the rounded eminence that becomes hairy after puberty, and is instantly visible within the surface. The next layer is the labia majora or the outer lips of the female organ composed of the outer convex surface and the inner surface. The skin of the outer convex surface is covered with hair follicles and is pigmented, while the inner surface is a thin skin which does not have any hair but has many sebaceous glands. Directly beneath the labia majora is the labia minora. ... Mere contact by the males sex organ of the females sex organ consummates rape. Threats of physical harm on the victim is not an indispensable element in the crime of rape. For rape to be consummated, it is enough that the victim is intimidated or forced into submitting to the bestial lust of the accused. In People v. Sagun, we held that intimidation is addressed to the mind of the victim. It is subjective and its presence cannot be tested by any hard-and-fast rule but must be viewed in the light of the perception and judgment of the victim during the commission of the crime. The age, size and strength of the parties should be taken into account in evaluating the existence of the element of force or intimidation in the crime of rape. Though the accused lays no hand on the victim, yet if by any way of physical forces, he so overpowers her mind that she does not resist, or ceases resistance through fear of greater harm, rape is deemed consummated. Physical resistance need not be proven in rape when intimidation is exercised upon the victim and the latter is impelled to submit herself to the bestial desire of the accused. In this case, the appellant was 28 years old and heavy in built. He overpowered the victim by holding both her hands and placing them at her back. The appellant even slapped her buttocks and put a pillow over her face to prevent her from shouting for help. The victim could hardly breathe as the appellant ravished her. She felt pain in her vagina when the appellant penetrated her.

The Court, however, does not agree with the appellants submission that he did not commit rape (sexual assault), as defined and penalized in Article 266-A, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act 8353, when he inserted his fourth finger into Mary GheIs vagina. The aforesaid law reads: Article 266-A. Rape; When and How Committed. Rape is committed: 2) By any person who, under any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph I hereof, shall commit an act of sexual assault by inserting his penis into another persons mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into the genital or anal orifice of another person. In People v. Perez, the word instrument or object was construed to include a human finger. The Court reiterated its ruling in People v. Sorianoand People v. Bun. The Anti-Rape Law transformed and reclassified rape as a felony against persons, under Title Eight, Chapter Two, Book II of the same Code. The criminalization of the penetration of a persons sex organ or anal orifice and the insertion of a persons penis into the mouth or anal orifice of another, whether man or woman, and the classification thereof as rape (sexual assault) were designed to prevent not only the physical injuries inflicted on the victim but also his subjection to personal indignity and degradation and affront to the psychological integrity associated with an unwanted violation. An unconsented intrusion by whatever object or instrumentality chosen by the perpetrator, whether animate or inanimate, is prohibited by the law. The fact that only digital penetration occurred did not lessen the victims fear and humiliation or the violation of her bodily integrity. The public prosecutor should thus have filed two separate Informations against the appellant, one for rape under Article 266-A, paragraph 1 for the insertion by him of his penis into the vagina of the victim, and rape (sexual assault) under Article 266-A, paragraph 2 of the law for inserting his finger into the victims vagina. However, only one information was filed against the appellant, for rape under Article 266-A, paragraph 1 of the Code. The appellant cannot thus be convicted of rape (sexual assault) under Article 266-A, paragraph 2, since he was not charged with the said crime. There is no discordance between Mary Ghels affidavit, which was appended to the criminal complaint for rape, and her testimony. In her affidavit, Mary Ghel stated that the appellant had intercourse with her: That after a few minutes, my stepfather John Nequia came and he hold [sic] my hands, covered my mouth with a pillow and slapped my hip in order not to shout and he immediately took off my underwear, he put pillow my [sic] hips, kissed, sucked and finger [sic] my vagina and have intercourse with me but did not consum[m]ate because [sic] I shouted for [sic] the pain of my vagina. The credibility of Mary Ghel and the probative weight of her testimony are not impaired by the deficiency in the accusatory portion of the criminal complaint filed by Oton Chief of Police Bersamin, nor the latters failure to testify for the prosecution, or the fact that Mary Ghel did not sign the criminal complaint. Besides, the criminal complaint was never adduced in evidence by the prosecution. There is no evidence on record that Mary Ghel and Helena were always smiling and in a happy mood during the trial. If we go by the testimony of complainant Mary Ghel vis a vis the denial by the accused John Nequia, it would not be difficult for the Court to readily give credence to the testimony of Mary Ghel which the Court finds replete with spontaneity and so overwhelming as to be impervious as to the mere denial of the accused. It is a well-settled rule that an affirmative testimony is far stronger than a negative testimony especially so when it comes from the mouth of a credible witness. (People vs. Ramirez, G.R. No. 97020, Jan. 20, 1997). After an incisive consideration of the evidence on record, we find no reason to deviate from the findings of the trial court and its calibration of the testimony of Mary Ghel. In People v. Castillo, we held that in rape cases where the offended parties are young and immature girls from the ages of twelve to sixteen, there is considerable receptivity on the part of this Court to lend credence to their

testimonies, considering not only their relative vulnerability but also the shame and embarrassment to which such a grueling experience as a court trial, where they are called upon to lay bare what perhaps should be shrouded in secrecy, did expose them to. There is no showing that Mary Ghel was impelled by any ill-motive in charging her stepfather with a heinous crime. Hence, her testimony is entitled to full faith and credence. No woman, much less a child, would willingly submit herself to the rigors, the humiliation and the stigma attendant upon the prosecution of rape, if she were not motivated by an earnest desire to put the culprit behind bars. All told then, this Court is convinced of the guilt of the appellant for qualified rape, and that the trial court correctly imposed the penalty of death in this case. [G.R. No. 136299. August 29, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. ZOILO MAGALLANES, appellant. Appellant is grasping at straws. The fact that Deodelfa was having her menstrual period at the time of the incident does not affect her credibility as a witness. As she clearly clarified on the witness stand, her physical discomfort did not prevent her from being a keen observer to the gruesome acts perpetuated by appellant upon Nelida. She had likewise sufficiently explained that while she may have had opportunity to stop appellant and help the victim, her physical discomfort and, more importantly, the fear of death for herself and her two young children, if appellant knew that she was witnessing what he was doing to Nelida, prevented her from trying to rescue Nelida by at least making known her presence to appellant. Besides, the fact that Deodelfa did not think of going near the body of Nelida after appellant had left her does not render her testimony incredible. It should be remembered that different people react differently to an unusual event and there is no standard of behavior when a person becomes a witness to something so shocking or gruesome as rape with homicide especially if the assailant is near. The sight of the killing must have unnerved Deodelfa and her reluctance to get involved while the crime is being committed is not an unnatural reaction of some individuals. We agree with appellant that the testimony of Prescillano to the effect that Benjie, the son of the appellant, said to him that his father had raped Nelida, should not have been considered by the trial court at all. The alleged utterance of Benjie is indeed hearsay and lacks probative value because Benjie was never presented in court. It is of no moment that no timely objection was raised during the trial in the face of such evidence. A conviction can never be rooted thereon because it is not grounded on the personal knowledge of the witness but on the knowledge of some other person who was not crossexamined on the witness stand. Nevertheless, as we have found earlier, appellants guilt was proven by Deodelfas positive and categorical testimony, buttressed by the physical evidence. It is for this reason that appellants defense of denial and alibi must fail. Absent any showing of ill motive on the part of the eyewitness testifying on the matter, a categorical, consistent and positive identification of the accused prevails over denial and alibi. Moreover, appellants alibi is weak since he failed to establish that he could not be at the vicinity of the locus criminis when the rape and killing took place. For the defense of alibi to prosper, the requirements of time and place must be strictly met. The accused must not only prove his presence at another place at the time of the commission of the offense but he must also demonstrate that it would be impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime when it was committed. Thus, between the positive identification made by Deodelfa and the bare denial and alibi of appellant, there is scarcely any serious doubt but that decisive weight must be given to the positive testimony of Deodelfa. Appellant is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the complex crime of rape with homicide. [G.R. No. 142749. March 18, 2003] THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. BERNARDO C. GAVINO, defendantappellant.

The family is under attack, declared the Pope in the recently concluded Third World Meeting of Families. With the growing number of incestuous rape cases, however, it is unfortunate that one such attack comes from within the family. Appellant contends that his guilt was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. He argues that Wennas testimony is not worthy of credit. He opines that it is unbelievable for Wenna to have experienced pain when she was last abused in March, 1995 considering her claim that appellant had been sexually molesting her since she was nine (9) years old. Appellant likewise insists that Wennas failure to report to her mother the continued assault on her virtue for six (6) years further detracts from her credibility. Appellants attempt to discredit Wenna is unconvincing. First, Wennas testimony that she suffered pain when she was last molested by the appellant is not inconceivable. The evidence shows that on the last sexual assault, appellant hit Wenna on the abdomen and kicked her back. He then lifted the weakened girl, dropped her on the wooden bed and ravished her. Clearly, the physical attack that preceded the molestation contributed to the pain of Wenna. Second, the reluctance and delay of Wenna in reporting the series of incestuous abuses she suffered for many years is not necessarily indicative of a fabricated charge. The delay is due to the pattern of fear instilled by the appellant on Wenna. The sexual assaults were accompanied with death threats from appellant who exercised moral ascendancy over her. Neither do we agree with appellants contention that the trial court overlooked the nefarious motive of Wenna in accusing him of rape. We adhere to the settled rule that the calibration of the credibility of a witness is best left to the discretion of the trial judge who was able to observe the demeanor of the witness while testifying. In giving more weight to Wennas testimony, the trial court found her testimony to be sincere and straightforward as she narrated in detail the manner by which she was ravished by the appellant. The trial court also took note of Wennas agony as her testimony throughout the trial was punctuated by uncontrollable bursts of tears. Moreover, her positive testimony of forcible defloration was corroborated by the results of the physical examination conducted on her. It is settled that the existence of lacerations, coupled with the victims testimony, are the best physical evidence of sexual abuse. In contrast, we find the defense adduced by the appellant to be flimsy. First, it is unnatural for a nave, barrio lass to accuse her father of such a grave, personal offense and expose herself and her family to social humiliation if it were not true. Second, the defenses attempt to shift the blame on Lino Racho has to fail for lack of evidence. Appellant likewise insists that the trial court failed to give due weight to Wennas affidavit of retraction considering that its execution and signing was attended by defense witnesses Atty. Demecillo and Pastor Elizardo. We are not persuaded. For one, Atty. Demecillo who prepared Wennas affidavit of retraction cannot be considered a neutral witness as he was the counsel of appellant during the trial of these cases. Thus, his testimony as to the alleged voluntary execution of Wennas affidavit of retraction is immediately suspect. Secondly, Pastor Felizardo admitted during the trial that he was unaware whether Wenna signed the affidavit due to threats or a promise of reward. Thirdly, it is of judicial notice that an affidavit of desistance or retraction is easily procured through intimidation, threat or a promise of reward. Courts thus view such affidavit with suspicion and reservation. In the case at bar, the prosecution duly established that Wenna signed the affidavit of retraction under duress. Her relatives accosted her in school while she was under the custody of the DSWD and took her to Agusan to sign the said affidavit. Its content was not explained to Wenna nor was she given a chance to read it. She was forced to sign the affidavit as she was threatened that she could not return to Cagayan de Oro City if she refused. Coming now to the penalty, appellant rightly impugns the correctness of the sentence imposed by the trial court as the prosecution failed to adduce evidence to prove the qualifying circumstances of the victims minority and her filiation with the accused. In People vs. Ramirez, the Court en banc laid down the guidelines for the proper appreciation of minority either as an element of a crime or as a qualifying circumstance. It held that: (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 its absence, 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 of Evidence shall be sufficient; and, (4) in the absence of all the above, the complainants testimony will suffice provided it is expressly and clearly admitted by the appellant. In the case at bar, no birth certificate or similar authentic document was offered by the prosecution to prove Wennas minority. Neither was it shown that they were lost, destroyed or unavailable at the time of the trial. The testimony of the mother or the victim relative to the latters age cannot be accepted as adequate proof thereof. In addition, we note that the prosecution failed to adduce independent proof to establish appellants relationship with the victim. Although Wennas filiation to appellant and minority was neither refuted nor contested by the defense, proof thereof is critical considering the penalty of death imposed for qualified rape. Thus, the prosecutions failure to sufficiently establish Wennas minority and relationship to appellant bars the latters conviction for qualified rape and the imposition of the extreme penalty of death. [G.R. Nos. 150523-25. July 2, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. ONOFRE GALANG y MENDOZA, appellant. The response and conduct of the complainant amidst an overpowering sexual assault do not disclose any hint of voluntariness on her part to submit to accused-appellants lecherous advances. In fact, under the circumstances, she gave a rather good account of herself in defending her honor and dignity by resisting her assailant with utmost courage and determination. If she eventually submitted, meekly as it seemed, to the libidinous incursions of accused-appellant it was more a reflection of the terror and fear in her young mind and the sense of futility of any form of resistance. The pronouncement of this Court in People v. Pamor is instructive Under the circumstances and considering her tender age, the reaction of a mature or normal person could hardly be expected from her. Nor is it reasonable to demand that a greater degree of intimidation be present so as to warrant conviction. Intimidation in rape cases is not calibrated or governed by hard and fast rules. Since it is addressed to the mind of the victim and is therefore subjective, it must be viewed in the light of the victims perception and judgment at the time of the commission of the crime. It is enough that it produces fearfear that if the victim does not yield to the bestial demands of the accused, something would happen to her at that moment. It includes the moral kind such as the fear caused by threatening the victim with a knife or pistol. Where such intimidation exists and the victim is cowed into submission as a result thereof, thereby rendering resistance futile, It would be extremely unreasonable, to say the least, to expect the victim to resist with all her might and strength. If resistance would nevertheless be futile because of a continuing intimidation, then offering none at all would not mean consent to the assault as to make the victims participation in the sexual act voluntary. During the trial, the court a quo observed that complainant wept while recounting her heartrending experience. Her tears were a tangible expression of pain and anguish for the acts of violence she suffered in the hands of the man she hoped would take the place of her departed father. The crying of the victim during her testimony was evidence of the credibility of the rape charge with the verity borne out of human nature and experience. The lower court also found that accused-appellant was not legally married to complainants mother. Strictly speaking therefore, he is not the stepfather of the complainant but only the common-law spouse of her mother. Nonetheless, this does not detract from the fact that he exercised some measure of moral ascendancy over the victim. Be that as it may, it has been established beyond any iota of doubt that accused-appellant employed force and intimidation to threaten, coerce or compel the complainant to succumb to his lechery.

[G.R. No. 140781. May 8, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. Eduardo Metin, appellant. Appellants contention that he could not have raped the private complainant with so many persons living in their house is non sequitur. It need not be emphasized here that lust is no respecter of time and place. That observation has now become a platitude. The proposition that private complainant consented to appellants sexual advances, negating force and intimidation, is too trite to be seriously considered. That there was force and intimidation was clear from the testimony of private complainant. There was force when appellant pressed Emelyn to the floor despite her plea of Huwag po. There was intimidation when he threatened to kill her if she shouted. Intimidation must be viewed in light of the victims perception and judgment at the time of rape and not by any hard and fast rule. It is enough that it produces fearfear that if the victim does not yield to the bestial demands of the accused, something would happen to her at the moment or thereafter, as when she is threatened with death if she reports the incident. Here, private complainant succumbed to appellants abuses out of fear, not only for herself but also for the life and safety of her mother, her siblings and her grandparents. Such fear is heightened by the fact that appellant, when intoxicated, has the habit of grabbing a bolo. Moreover, given the circumstances in this case, the moral ascendancy of appellant over the private complainant could not be discounted. To constitute sexual congress with a girl of minor age into a crime of incestuous rape, it is sufficient that the accused exercised a pervasive influence and control over the victim.In this case, we have no doubt at all that rape has been committed. However, we are unable to agree with the trial court on the propriety of the penalty imposed. It imposed the death penalty following Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 11 of R.A. 7659, because private complainant was only fourteen (14) years old at the time of the rape and the offender is her father. But it must be emphasized that the circumstances of minority and relationship mentioned in Article 335 are special qualifying circumstances which must be alleged in the information and duly proven by the prosecution in order to warrant the imposition of the death penalty. Here, although the minority of the victim was properly alleged in the information, there is insufficient evidence of private complainants age. The trial court erred when it took judicial notice of private complainants age to be fourteen. It should have required competent evidence, such as her birth certificate, as proof of the victims actual age at the time of the offense. In People v. Rivera, we held that the trial court could only take judicial notice of the victims minority when the latter is, for example, 10 years old or below. Otherwise, the prosecution has the burden of proving the victims age at the time of the rape. While it is true that in this case the defense admitted the medical certificate dated August 29, 1997, which indicated that private complainant was fifteen years old at the time of the examination, we held in Rivera that the absence of denial on the part of appellant does not excuse the prosecution from discharging its burden. Besides, the medical certificate is not the primary evidence of the date of birth of party examined. In this case, judicial notice of the age of the victim is inappropriate, despite the defense counsels admission of the medical certificate. [G.R. No. 136849. October 23, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. NESTOR CODERES y ABLAZA, appellant. From the foregoing, it can be seen that while appellant admits that he tried to settle the case filed against him by his daughter, he, nonetheless, denied that he raped her. Thus, the fact that appellant admitted having tried to settle the case against him may not be used as a basis of his conviction in the absence of competent evidence presented by the prosecution that complainant was raped through force and intimidation. The prosecution may not rely on the weakness of the evidence for the defense. Instead, it must depend on the strength of its own evidence and establish the guilt of appellant beyond reasonable doubt. This, the prosecution failed to do.

Where the prosecution has failed to discharge the onus probandi for a pronouncement of guilt beyond reasonable doubt, the constitutional presumption of innocence in favor of the accused will result in acquittal. We need to emphasize however what we have enunciated in People vs. Eliarda, to wit: In an acquittal, an accused is set free not necessarily because he did not commit the offense but, more likely than not, because the exacting proof for conviction may not have been met. A person is presumed innocent of a crime unless his guilt has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt. Thus, an acquittal does not always mean that the defense evidence is given full credence, but, rather that the prosecution has failed to overcome the presumption of innocence. [G.R. No. 145995. March 20, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. SATURNINO ILUIS y JANDOC, accusedappellant. Appellant claims that Julienes behavior after the commission of the crime, i.e., in not missing school, can hardly be considered normal for one who has been raped. There is, the Court has repeatedly observed however, no standard form of behavior that can be anticipated of a rape victim following her defilement, particularly by a child who could not be expected to fully comprehend the ways of an adult. People react differently to emotional stress and rape victims are no different from them. Mindful, indeed, of the entitlement of an accused to this fundamental right, the Court has now provided for in Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, made effective on 1 December 2000, thusly: SEC. 8. Designation of the offense. The complaint or information shall state the designation of the offense given by the statute, aver the acts or omissions constituting the offense, and specify its qualifying and aggravating circumstances. If there is no designation of the offense, reference shall be made to the section or subsection of the statute punishing it. SEC. 9. Cause of accusation. The acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense and the qualifying and aggravating circumstances must be stated in ordinary and concise language and not necessarily in the language used in the statute but in terms sufficient to enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is being charged as well as its qualifying and aggravating circumstances and for the court to pronounce judgment. The allegation in the Information that the victim is below twelve (12) years old, an age indication that would only call for the penalty of reclusion perpetua, cannot suffice to warrant the imposition of the extreme penalty of death.

[G.R. Nos. 137520-22. August 15, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. ALFREDO BAROY and FELICISIMO NACIONAL, appellants. At the outset, we stress that the verification of the authenticity of the birth certificate of the accused should normally be done during the trial. However, due to (1) the gravity of the penalty imposed in this case; (2) the existence in the records of weighty evidence proving Baroys minority at the time of the commission of the crime; and (3) the simple and straightforward method of verification recommended by the OSG, the Court -- in the interest of justice -- went the extra mile to ascertain the authenticity of the evidence submitted. This move was in line with the particular zealousness of the

law in criminal cases in which the transcendental matter of life or liberty of an individual is at stake. Baroys Birth Certificate -- the authenticity of which was confirmed by the NSO -- outweighs the other evidence submitted to prove his date of birth. A birth certificate is the best evidence of a persons date of birth. The earlier evidence submitted by appellant during the trial did not conclusively prove his age. However, since the OSG did not object to the belated appreciation of Annex A and left the matter to the sound discretion of this Court, we resolve to rule in favor of the accused. This has been the position of the Court when confronted with the same dilemma. As early as 1909, in United States v. Barbicho, the doubt as to the age of the accused was resolved in his favor as follows: In regard to the doubt as to whether the accused is over or under 18 years of age, and in the absence of proof that on the day he committed the crime he was 18 years old, he must perforce be considered as still under that age, and therefore, the mitigating circumstance mentioned in paragraph No. 2 of article 9 of the code should be applied in his favor, x x x. The Court took the same position in United States v. Agadas and Sabachan, in which it held: While it is true that in the instant case Rosario testified that he was 17 years of age, yet the trial court reached the conclusion, judging from the personal appearance of Rosario, that he is a youth 18 or 19 years old. Applying the rule enunciated in the case just cited, we must conclude that there exists a reasonable doubt, at least, with reference to the question whether Rosario was, in fact, 18 years of age at the time the robbery was committed. This doubt must be resolved in favor or the defendant, x x x. And in David v. CA, the Court reaffirmed this position when it held that if the accused alleges minority and the prosecution does not disprove his claim by contrary evidence, such allegation can be accepted as a fact. Based on his Birth Certificate, it is clear that Baroy was only fourteen (14) years old when he committed the crime of rape. Hence, a reconsideration of the Courts May 9, 2002 Decision is proper. Article 68 of the Revised Penal Code provides that when the offender is a minor x x x under fifteen years x x x a discretionary penalty shall be imposed, but always lower by two degrees at least than that prescribed by law for the crime which he committed. The penalty prescribed by law for the crime committed by Baroy is reclusion perpetua to death. The penalty two degrees lower is prision mayor. Additionally, Baroy is entitled to the benefits granted by the Indeterminate Sentence Law. [G.R. No. 139211. February 12, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. GORGONIO VILLARAMA alias Baby, appellant. Finally, in the Contreras case, the mother of the victim did not testify in court for no explainable reason. Here, Elizabeths mother actively pursued the prosecution of appellant who is her own brother. No mother will falsely accuse a person of rape, specially if it involves her own sibling, unless she is convinced it will vindicate the wrong done to her daughter. The Court is convinced with moral certainty that appellant Gorgonio Villarama raped 4-year-old Elizabeth Tumulak on November 2, 1996. We, however, hold that the trial court erred in imposing the death penalty on him. Appellant can neither be convicted for incestuous rape under the first paragraph of Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, nor for rape of a child below 7 years old under the fourth paragraph of the same provision. Under paragraph 1, although Elizabeth was less than 18 years at the time she was raped and the offender was her uncle, the information failed to categorically state that said offender was a relative by consanguinity within the third civil degree. Jurisprudence dictates that if the offender is merely a

relative, not a parent, ascendant, step-parent, or guardian or common-law spouse of the mother of the victim, the information must allege that he is a relative by consanguinity or affinity (as the case may be) within the third civil degree. It is not enough for the information to merely allege that appellant is the uncle of the victim even if the prosecution is able to prove the same during trial. [G.R. No. 135563. September 18, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. BOBBY SANCHEZ y PAGUIA, appellant. We have held in People vs. Ferolino, that: If the offender is merely a relation not a parent, ascendant, step-parent, or guardian or common law spouse of the mother of the victim it must be alleged in the information that he is a relative by consanguinity or affinity (as the case may be) within the civil degree. That relationship by consanguinity or affinity was not alleged in the informations in these cases. Even if it was, it was still necessary to further allege that such relationship was within the third civil degree. The present case is not within the contemplation of said ruling considering that in the Ferolino case, the victim is a niece of the offender while in the present case the victim is a sister of the offender. It was deemed necessary in the Ferolino case to require that it must be specifically alleged in the Information that the offender is a relative by consanguinity or affinity (as the case may be) within the third civil degree because we acknowledge the fact that there are niece-uncle relationships which are beyond the third civil degree, in which case, death penalty cannot be imposed on an accused found guilty of rape. However, a sister-brother relationship is obviously in the second civil degree and no other sisterbrother relationship exists in civil law that falls beyond the third civil degree. Consequently, it is not necessary in this case that the Information should specifically state that the appellant is a relative by consanguinity within the third civil degree of the victim. This is an exception to the requirement enunciated in the Ferolino case. Thus, the trial court correctly imposed on appellant the penalty of death. Three members of the Court maintain their position that RA 7659, insofar as it prescribes the death penalty, is unconstitutional; however, they submit to the ruling of the Court, by majority vote, that the law is constitutional and that the death penalty should be imposed accordingly. [G.R. No. 144402. August 14, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. ROMEO ECLERA, SR., appellant. Appellant tries to assail the credibility of Riolyn. There being no other witness to the rape, the conviction of appellant indeed hinges on her credibility. He argues that Riolyn should not be believed because she is a liar. She testified that, on the day of the alleged rape, she came from school but this was belied by her teachers who testified that they had already dropped her from their classes as early as September 1, 1999. Also, there was a discrepancy between her complaint-affidavit and her testimony in open court. Appellant points out that, in her affidavit, Riolyn stated that the appellant was not able to penetrate her since she was able to kick him. But, during the trial, she testified that appellant was able to penetrate her. The Court is not convinced. Riolyns testimony is positive, categorical and consistent. Although two of Riolyns professors testified that she was already dropped from their classes, it was not conclusive that she stopped schooling altogether. The certification issued by both professors that she had been dropped from their classes was not a certification from the school itself. It was not even signed by the dean or the registrar and thus, could not be taken as evidence that she had completely ceased attending school, that is, there must have been other subjects that she was still attending. Besides, it is well-settled that the trial court is in the best position to decide the question of credibility of witnesses, having heard the witnesses themselves and observed their deportment and manner of

testifying during the trial, unless it plainly overlooked certain facts of substance and value that, if considered, might affect the result of the case. Thus, its findings are given great weight and respect and will not be disturbed by the appellate courts. The Court finds it hard to believe that Riolyn would impute such a serious charge against her father who might be put to death if found guilty. The trial court repeatedly reminded complainant of the dire consequences of her charge against her father, yet Riolyn remained unwavering in her testimony This Court has repeatedly ruled that no mother in her right mind would stoop so low as to subject her own daughter to the shame and stigma concomitant to rape proceedings merely to assuage her own vengeful feelings against her husband. At any rate, the Court cannot find Rosalindas affidavit, dated October 25, 1999, in the records. We quote the explanation of the Solicitor General regarding this point: Appellant also points to an alleged inconsistency between Rosalinda Ecleras affidavit-complaint and her testimony. According to appellant, the said affidavit-complaint merely states that Riolyn Eclera was almost raped and that appellant inserted his fingers to his daughters vagina while her court declaration was that appellant raped Riolyn Eclera (p. 7, Appellants Brief). The claim is misleading. The record of this case made available to the Office of the Solicitor General reveals that there is no such Affidavit-Complaint dated October 25,1999, purportedly executed by Rosalinda Eclera in connection with this case. What is extant in the record is an Affidavit dated October 23, 1999 executed by Rosalinda Eclera which was subscribed and sworn to before Judge Hilarion A. Suller. Even a cursory reading of the same affidavit, however, reveals that nothing is mentioned therein by Rosalinda Eclera that Riolyn Eclera was almost raped and that appellant inserted his fingers to his daughter (sic) vagina. [G.R. Nos. 148673-75. October 17, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. FLORENCIO ABANILLA y RIVERA, appellant. In the present case, nothing prevented appellant from consummating the act and it would seem that he was already contended with rubbing his penis against the complainant without actually inserting it into her private part. Thus, appellant cannot be convicted of attempted rape but only of acts of lasciviousness for the June 1999 incident. [G.R. Nos. 145309-10. April 4, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. VIRGILIO FLORES Y AQUINO, appellant. We stress that, in the crime of rape, complete or full penetration of the complainants private part is not at all necessary. Neither is the rupture of the hymen essential. What is fundamental is that the entry or at least the introduction of the male organ into the labia of the pudendum is proved. The mere introduction of the male organ into the labia majora of the victims genitalia, even without the full penetration of the complainants vagina, consummates the crime. Hence, the touching or entry of the penis into the labia majora or the labia minora of the pudendum of the victims genitalia consummates rape. In the present case, we give credence to Loribelles unequivocal testimony that, when she refused to hold appellants penis, the latter forcibly pressed his private part into her vagina but failed to fully penetrate as she cried due to the intense pain. The concurrence of the minority of Loribelle, and her relationship to the appellant, who is her father, would have ordinarily justified the imposition of the death penalty in these two cases. We, however, decline to do so on account of the prosecutions failure to specifically allege in the two Informations

the age of the victim at the time of the commission of the crimes pursuant to our ruling in People vs. Panganiban, [G.R. No. 131804. February 26, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROBERTO OSTIA @ ROBERT, accusedappellant. The trial court likewise erred in appreciating nighttime, despoblado and abuse of confidence as generic aggravating circumstances in the commission of the crime. The prosecution failed to prove that accused-appellant purposely sought or took advantage of nighttime in killing Beverly. There is no evidence that accused-appellant sought or took advantage of the solitude of the situs criminis in committing the crime. Abuse of confidence could not be appreciated as generic aggravating circumstance because the prosecution failed to prove that (a) accused-appellant enjoyed the trust and confidence of Beverly or her parents; (b) and that even if accused-appellant enjoyed said confidence, he took advantage of said trust or confidence to kill Beverly. The barefaced fact that the accusedappellant and Ponciano were co-workers does not constitute evidence that the latter reposed trust and confidence in accused-appellant. In the absence of any generic aggravating or mitigating circumstances in the commission of the crime, the accused-appellant is meted the penalty of reclusion perpetua conformably with Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code. [G.R. No. 127152. February 12, 2003] People of the Philippines, plaintiff-appellee, vs. FilomEno Avergonzado alias Minoc, accusedappellant. We agree with the Solicitor General that we cannot infer from the mere fact that they were residents of the same sitio that the complainant and the accused already knew each other before then. There is no showing that their houses were located in close proximity. Geralyn was barely in her teens and had yet to attend any of the social gatherings in their community. The two (2) were also unlikely to share the same circle of friends as the accused is almost ten (10) years her senior. Nor can we presume such an acq uaintance only because of their presence at palay harvests under the local residents' customary bayanihan. These activities are usually participated in by numerous people and there is not even any insinuation that the thirteen (13)-year old complainant was ever introduced much less talked to the accused. We do not agree. The presentation of a medical certificate and the testimony of the examining physician, although not essential in the prosecution of rape, substantiated the allegations and reinforced the testimony of the complainant. The tightness of the vaginal canal does not negate rape. The complainant's vagina was found to be elastic, given her age. Thus even with the insertion of an object like the penis in the vaginal canal, the examining physician concluded that the same would still return to its normal size. The presence of spermatozoa is not a prerequisite for conviction of rape, the important consideration being the penetration of the pudenda by the male organ, no matter how slight, and not the emission of seminal fluid. Nor can we seriously consider the defense's theory on the cause of complainant's injuries. The attribution of the lacerations in the genitalia of the complainant to the examination performed by the physician is simply ludicrous, clearly a desperate attempt to provide an alternative explanation for the blatant evidence of sexual assault. [G.R. Nos. 149392-94. January 16, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. LUCILO UNTALAN y PEREZ, accusedappellant. Marivics testimony clearly established that appellant used force and intimidation in satiating his

bestial lust. He would surpise Marivic at midnight while the latter was sleeping alone in her bedroom. During the trial, Marivic demonstrated that appellant would put his right hand over her mouth, effectively silencing whatever protestations she would have made. With his left arm, appellant would hold her right arm. As Marivics left arm was free, she would try to box appellant, to no avail. He would then forcibly undress and penetrate her. Marivic was left gripped with intense fear every single time she was abused by appellant. Appellant then repeatedly warned her against confiding the abuses she suffered to any one. Clearly, the force and intimidation utilized by appellant produced fear in the mind of his victim. Incestuous rape was sufficiently proved. Thus, we hold that the trial court correctly imposed the sentence of three (3) death penalties on the appellant. Section 11 of Republic Act 7659 provides for the imposition of the death penalty if, inter alia, the rape victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent of the victim. In the case at bar, the prosecution established that Marivic was the product of the common-law relationship between the appellant and Damiana Arcega. Marivics birth certificate categorically established her filial relationship to the appellant and that she was under eighteen (18) years of age at the time she was sexually abused in 1997 until 1999. [G.R. No. 144595. August 6, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. DANTE ILAGAN, appellant. The aforequoted testimony of the victim is marked by spontaneity, honesty, and sincerity. When the testimony of the victim is simple and straightforward, the same must be given full faith and credit. A young girls revelation that she had been raped, coupled with her voluntary submission to medical examination and her willingness to undergo public trial where she could be compelled to give out the details of an assault on her dignity, cannot be easily dismissed as mere concoction. It is highly inconceivable for a daughter to publicly accuse her father of rape if it were not true. Indeed, it is highly against human nature to fabricate a story that would expose herself as well as her family to a lifetime of dishonor, especially when her charge could mean the death of her own father. Anent the delay in reporting the case to the authorities, suffice it to state that delay and the initial reluctance of a rape victim to make public the assault on her virtue is neither unknown or uncommon. Rape is a traumatic experience, and the shock concomitant with it may linger for a while. Oftentimes, the victim would rather bear the ignominy and the pain in private, rather than reveal her shame to the world or risk the rapists carrying out his threat to harm her. Hence, in addition to the requirement that the qualifying and aggravating circumstance must be specifically alleged in the information, it must be established with certainty that the victim was below eighteen (18) years of age or that she was a minor at the time of the commission of the crime. It must be stressed that the severity of the death penalty, especially its irreversible and final nature once carried out, makes the decision-making process in capital offense aptly subject to the most exacting rules of procedure and evidence. [G.R. Nos. 140439-40. June 18, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. FELIX HERMOSA, accused-appellant. The young complainant was made aware that the penalty of death may be imposed upon her father as a consequence of her allegations. Yet, she vehemently manifested her desire to continue with his prosecution. The trial court observed. The insinuation of appellant that the filing of the charges was not of Jennifers own volition but the product of a vengeful teacher does not square, in our view, with human nature and experience. The alleged squabble between Mrs. Gregorio and the appellant appears too flimsy a reason for complainant and her witness to take pains in concocting an accusation where complainants honor and appellants life would be at stake.

In the prosecution of rape cases, the offended party is, more often than not, the only one available to prove directly the commission of rape. In the present case, the defense of bare denial proffered by appellant cannot outweigh the positive and consistent testimony of complainant. The prosecution with testimonial and medical evidence effectively discharged its burden of proving appellants guilt beyond reasonable doubt. By itself alone, Jennifers testimony suffices to support appellants conviction. Thus, this Court finds no reason to reverse appellants conviction. However, with regard to the penalty imposed, modifications are in order. [G.R. Nos. 140388-91. November 11, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. ERNESTO ALVAREZ @ GADAY, appellant. Surely then, we cannot expect a halfwit barrio girl whose chastity was defiled to become instantly smart just because she was recounting her harrowing experience. Lingilyns odd behavior and minor lapses during trial should not per se destroy her credibility. Errorless recollection of a traumatic and agonizing incident cannot be expected of a witness when she is recounting details of an experience as humiliating and painful as rape. We have held that a rapist should not expect the hapless object of his lechery to have the memory of an elephant and the cold precision of a mathematician. What is truly decisive in this case is that she was able to identify appellant as her rapist. When a victim of rape says that she has been violated, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape has been committed against her and so long as her testimony meets the test of credibility, the accused may be convicted on the basis thereof. The victim testified in a direct and categorical manner. She recounted before the trial court the details of her terrifying experience on the night of June 18, 1997. It is therefore clear to us that appellants imputation of ill-motive to the victim and her mother was only a last ditch effort to save the day for him. Furthermore, it is highly inconceivable to this Court how a young barrio girl who was never alleged nor proven to have loose morals could concoct a story of defloration, suffer the embarrassment of recounting the rape in a public trial and open herself to pernicious gossip and speculation regarding her and her family, just to be able to express her disapproval of her grandmothers cohabitation with a man. Moreover, we also believe that no mother would draw her young daughter into a rape trial, with all its concomitant embarrassment and public scandal, if she were not motivated solely by a desire to have the culprit apprehended and punished. [G.R. Nos. 150493-95. October 23, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. CIRILO MACABATA, appellant. By his own answers to the questions propounded by his own counsel, appellant categorically admitted and established the special qualifying circumstances of relationship and minority. Verily, there is moral certainty that he committed incestuous rape against his daughter of minority age on three (3) separate occasions from June to August 1996. The contention of appellant that the birth certificate of Ma. Christine should not be given due weight and credence cannot be sustained. The purported erroneous entries in the victims birth certificate are immaterial to the determination of the special qualifying circumstances. The only material entry in the said birth certificate is the date of birth of the victim, which is indicated as August 12, 1984. This entry sufficiently corroborates both the testimonies of Elsa and Ma. Christine as to the age of the latter. Consequently, we sustain the trial courts imposition of the death penalty. The relationship of appellant to the victim and her minority were sufficiently alleged and proved with moral certainty. [G.R. No. 130662. October 15, 2003]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. SERGIO ABON y ESTEBAN, appellant. Certainly, a rape victims testimony is entitled to great weight especially when she accuses a close relative of having ravished her. 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. However, appellant insists that he could not have committed the crime considering that Charito admitted during the cross-examination that she stayed with her aunt Remedios Novido in Manila from December, 1994 up to March, 1995, in effect negating the trial courts finding that she was sexually abused by appellant at Binalonan, Pangasinan sometime in January, 1995. The exact time or date of the commission of rape is not an element of the crime. What is decisive is that the commission of rape by the accused has been sufficiently proved. Inconsistencies and discrepancies as to minor matters irrelevant to the elements of the crime cannot be considered grounds for acquittal. In this case, the alleged inconsistency in Charitos testimony regarding the exact date and place of the commission of rape does not impair her credibility. And so, complainants delay in divulging what she knows, such as the identity of the offender, is not by itself a setback to the probative value of her testimony. To reiterate, what is important is that there is nothing to indicate that Charito had any improper motive to implicate appellant. Here, a young girls revelation that she had been raped, coupled by her voluntary submission to medical examination and willingness to undergo public trial where she gave out the details of the assault on her dignity, cannot be easily dismissed as mere concoction. [G.R. No. 145726. March 26, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. FERDINAND ANTONIO, appellant. Consequently, the issue in a rape case boils down to the credibility of the victim. In scrutinizing such credibility, jurisprudence has established the following doctrinal guidelines: (1) the appellate tribunal will not disturb the findings of the lower court unless there is a showing that it had overlooked, misunderstood, or misapplied some fact or circumstance of weight and substance that would have affected the result of the case; (2) the findings of the trial court pertaining to the credibility of witnesses are entitled to great respect and even finality since it had the opportunity to examine their demeanor as they testified on the witness stand; and (3) a witness who testified in a categorical, straightforward, spontaneous and frank manner and remained consistent on cross-examination is a credible witness. In the case at bar, complainant recounted her harrowing experience in the hands of appellant. The above testimony is manifestly credible. It is marked by spontaneity, honesty and sincerity. Settled is the rule that when a victims testimony is straightforward, candid and unflawed by inconsistencies or contradictions in its material points, as in this case, the same must be given full faith and credit. When an alleged victim of rape says she was violated, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape had been inflicted on her, and so long as her testimony meets the test of credibility, the accused may be convicted on the basis thereof. To be sure, a young girls revelation that she has been raped, coupled with her voluntary submission to medical examination and her willingness to undergo public trial where she could be compelled to give out the details of an assault on her dignity, cannot be so easily dismissed as mere concoction. It is highly inconceivable for a daughter to publicly accuse her father of rape if it were not true. Indeed, it is against human nature for a girl to fabricate a story that would expose herself as well as her family to a lifetime of dishonor, especially when her charge could mean the death of her own father. Thus, we give credence to complainants testimony that appellant succeeded in forcibly having carnal knowledge of her on that particular night of January 1998. In stark contrast to complainants convincing recital of facts is appellants unsupported defense of

denial. An intrinsically weak defense, denial must be buttressed by strong evidence of non-culpability in order to merit credibility. It is a negative self-serving assertion that deserves no weight in law if unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence. It cannot stand against the positive identification by the complainant that appellant defiled her womanhood. Indeed, appellants denial, not being sustained by sufficient evidence, does not in any way diminish the credibility of complainant or the weight of her testimony. [G.R. No. 138364. October 15, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. ROGELIO VILLANUEVA, appellant. Appellants suggestion that Reseilleta concocted the rape charge against him upon the instigation of her mother Estelita deserves scant consideration. No mother would instigate her daughter to file a complaint for rape out of sheer malice knowing that it would expose her own daughter to shame, humiliation and stigma concomitant to a rape, and could send the father of her children to the gallows. As we view it, Estelita was simply motivated by a desire to have the person responsible for the defloration of her daughter apprehended and punished. In the face of the positive testimony of Reseilleta who had no improper motive to testify falsely against him, appellants alibi crumbles like a fortress of sand. For the defense of alibi to prosper, the accused must not only show that he was not present at the locus criminis at the time of the commission of the crime, but also that it was physically impossible for him to have been present at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission. Appellant testified that on 12 December 1996 he was working in a farm from six oclock in the morning until sunset. However, he miserably failed to prove that the nature of his work at the farm, and the distance between the farm and his house, effectively prevented him from going home at lunch time to feast on his daughters purity and innocence. Appellant posits that in the event he is found guilty he should be convicted only of simple rape, and not qualified rape. He argues that the Information against him failed to allege the qualifying circumstance of relationship between him and Reseilleta. Finally, were we to persist in the mistaken belief on the necessity of stating the qualifying circumstances strictly and exclusively in the accusatory paragraph of an Information, we would be placing premium on a highly technical and artificial rule of form, and completely sacrificing the substance, purpose and reason for the indictment. We believe that this requirement is without any corresponding benefit to the interest of justice. On the contrary, it is only bound to unduly burden our prosecutorial agencies and, worse, provide criminals with a convenient avenue to elude the punishment they truly deserve. [G.R. No. 139906. March 5, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ANTHONY MANGUERA y ALINGASTRE, accused-appellant. The ante mortem statement of Lorna Reanzares, testified to by her brother Romeo Reanzares, is not only admissible in evidence as being an exception to the hearsay rule but also a weighty and telling piece of evidence. A dying declaration is admissible when (a) it concerns the cause and the surrounding circumstances of the declarants death; (b) it is made when death appears to be imminent, and the declarant is under a consciousness of impending death; (c) the declarant would have been competent to testify had he or she survived; and (d) the dying declaration is offered in a case in which the subject of inquiry involves the declarants death. Statements uttered by a victim on the verge of death identifying the assailant, given under the conditions heretofore mentioned, are entitled to the highest degree of credence and respect. A person aware of an impending death has been known to be genuinely truthful in his words and extremely scrupulous in his accusations. Thus, pronouncements of guilt, not infrequently, have been allowed to rest solely on such dying declarations of deceased victims.

[G.R. No. 131516. March 5, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. RONNIE RULLEPA y GUINTO, accusedappellant. Accused-appellant goes on to contend that Cyra May was coached, citing the following portion of her testimony: q- Yong sinabi mong sinira nya ang buhay mo, where did you get that phrase? aIt was the word of my Mama, sir.

On the contrary, the foregoing testimony indicates that Cyra May was really narrating the truth, that of hearing her mother utter sinira niya ang buhay mo. Accused-appellants suggestion that Cyra May merely imagined the things of which he is accused, perhaps getting the idea from television programs, is preposterous. It is true that the ordinary child is a great weaver of romances, and her imagination may induce (her) to relate something she has heard or read in a story as personal experience. But Cyra Mays account is hardly the stuff of romance or fairy tales. Neither is it normal TV fare, if at all. This Court cannot believe that a victim of Cyra Mays age could concoct a tale of defloration, allow the examination of her private parts, and undergo the expense, trouble, inconvenience, not to mention the trauma of public trial. Besides, her testimony is corroborated by the findings of Dr. Preyra that there were abrasions in her labia minora, which she opined, could have been caused by friction with an erect penis. This is because in the era of modernism and rapid growth, the victims mere physical appearance is not enough to gauge her exact age. For the extreme penalty of death to be upheld, nothing but proof beyond reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to constitute the crime must be substantiated. Verily, the minority of the victim should be not only alleged but likewise proved with equal certainty and clearness as the crime itself. Be it remembered that the proof of the victims age in the present case spells the difference between life and death. In the present case, the prosecution did not offer the victims certificate of live birth or similar authentic documents in evidence. The victim and her mother, however, testified that she was only three years old at the time of the rape. Because of the vast disparity between the alleged age (three years old) and the age sought to be proved (below twelve years), the trial court would have had no difficulty ascertaining the victims age from her appearance. No reasonable doubt, therefore, exists that the second element of statutory rape, i.e., that the victim was below twelve years of age at the time of the commission of the offense, is present. Whether the victim was below seven years old, however, is another matter. Here, reasonable doubt exists. A mature three and a half-year old can easily be mistaken for an underdeveloped seven-year old. The appearance of the victim, as object evidence, cannot be accorded much weight and, following Pruna, the testimony of the mother is, by itself, insufficient. [G. R. Nos. 146097-98. August 26, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. JUAN CARIAGA, appellant. Appellants desperation to save himself is highlighted by his explanation as to why his wife caused the rape charges to be filed against him. Appellant alleged that his wife was having an extramarital affair. Even if it was not necessary, Vetelina chose to present witnesses to proved that appellants allegations were untrue. Not a few persons convicted of rape have attributed the charges against them to family

feuds, resentment, or revenge. However, such alleged motives have never swayed us from lending full credence to the testimony of a complainant who remained steadfast throughout her direct and crossexamination. It is unnatural for a parent to use her offspring as an instrument of malice, especially if it will subject them to embarrassment and even stigma. No mother in her right mind would expose her daughter to the disgrace and trauma resulting from a prosecution for rape if she was not genuinely motivated by a desire to incarcerate the person responsible for her daughters defilement. Carnal knowledge is consummated by the mere touching of the womans labia of the pudendum by the male sex organ. It is proven by two details: pain in the victims genitalia and the findings of the medico-legal officer. The pain in the victims private part could only be caused by the penetration, albeit slight, of the male organ into its opening. In this case, Venildas testimony of her sexual violation was corroborated by the physicians findings of penetration. Thus, there is sufficient basis to conclude the existence of the essential requisite of carnal knowledge. In the present case, the testimony of Venilda shows that appellant employed force and intimidation on her. Indeed, in the first incident of rape, there was a physical struggle as Venilda was pushing appellant away as appellant was trying to insert his penis into her vagina. Appellant even warned Venilda not to tell her mother, or else he would kill them all. In the second incident of rape, Venilda tried to escape from her fathers clutches by putting up the excuse that she had to move her bowels, but to no avail. Venildas correct age has been overlooked in the preparation of the Information. Both Informations stated that Venilda was 12 years old at the time of the two rape incidents. However, the prosecution and the defense agreed during the pre-trial, and it was later proven during the trial, that Venildas date of birth is 23 November 1987. The obvious conclusion is that Venilda was only 11 years old when she was rape on 23 November 1998 and 15 December 1998. Nevertheless, the prosecution proved that Venilda was under 18 years of age at the time of the rape and that the offender is her legitimate father. [G.R. Nos. 146862-64. April 30, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. GAUDENCIO UMBAA y DURAN, accused-appellant. Even the testimony adduced by the defense portraying Cheril as a disrespectful and wayward child does not detract from her credibility as a witness narrating her ordeal in the hands of her father. Moral character is immaterial in the prosecution and conviction of persons accused of rape, as even prostitutes can be the victims of rape. Moreover, we recognize that a rape victims testimony against her father is entitled to great weight, since reverence and respect for elders is deeply ingrained in Filipino children and is recognized by law. Under the threat of the knife and the shock of being violated by her own father, even a grown-up like Cheril cannot be expected to put up a fight. Physical resistance need not be established in rape when intimidation is exercised upon the victim and she submits herself against her will to the rapists lust because of fear for life and personal safety. With regard to the alleged motive of the complainant in pinning her father down for grievances in the past, we find that the same has been sufficiently debunked by Cheril in her testimony. Cheril understood the severity of her charges and that its consequences could be irreversible. Notwithstanding the possibility that her imputations could lead to her fathers death, Cheril did not waver in her desire to have the transgressions against her vindicated. It would be the height of depravity for a young woman to concoct a story that would put her own father for most of his remaining life in jail, if not to death, and drag herself and her family to a lifetime of shame. On the contention that Cheril filed the rape charges upon the prompting of her mother, we believe that a mother would not expose her own daughter to the ignominy of a rape trial merely to retaliate against her husband for his transgressions as a family man. It is inconceivable that a mother would stoop that

low just to assuage her own hurt feelings. As shown earlier, Cheril is a grown woman who fully understood the consequences of her imputations. She knew the gravity of the penalty of death faced by her father should he be found guilty. Furthermore, in People v. Cepeda, we took cognizance of the fact that in our rural areas, women by custom and tradition act with circumspection and prudence, and great caution is observed so that their reputation remains untainted. [G.R. No.138725. September 23, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. ALBERTO OLIVAR y JAVIER, appellant. The records show that the appellant did not expressly and clearly admit Almeras testimony that she was 13 years of age when she was raped in 1997. When asked how old the victim was in 1996, the appellant replied that she was 10 years old, thereby implying that she was 11 years old, and not 13 years old, in 1997. His testimony, therefore, did not confirm the victims age as stated in the information and the victims declaration. Likewise, his testimony to the effect that (t)he last time she (Almera) lived with him, she was still (of) tender age, cannot be construed as a clear and categorical admission of his victims age. The phrase tender age did not refer specifically to the exact age of 13 and could have possibly meant an age other than that. Clearly, the exacting standard that the admission by the appellant concerning the victims age must be clear and categorical, was not met. Moreover, Pruna required that (t)he trial court should always make a categorical finding as to the age of the victim. No such finding was made by the trial court. [G.R. No. 145305. June 26, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. REDANTE SANTOS y CRUZ, appellant. Danly was five years old when appellant started living with her mother. Appellant and her mother have been living as husband and wife for seven years. Since appellant was Danlys father figure when she was growing up, appellants moral ascendancy and influence over Danly can even take the place of threat or intimidation. The relationship between a stepfather and a stepdaughter assumes the existence of a legitimate relationship, that is, the stepfather should be legally married to the stepdaughters mother. In contrast, a common-law husband is not legally married to his common-law wife. If such common-law wife has a daughter by another man, the daughter is not a stepdaughter of the common-law husband. A commonlaw husband is subject to punishment by death if he commits rape against his common-law wifes daughter by another man. However, the death penalty cannot be imposed on the common-law husband if the relationship alleged in the information is that of a stepfather and stepdaughter, and what is proven is the relationship between a common-law husband and the daughter of his common-law wife by another man. The prosecution failed to establish the relationship of Danly as the stepdaughter of appellant since the prosecution did not offer in evidence the marriage certificate between appellant and Danlys mother. If appellant and Danlys mother were not legally married, a common-law relationship between appellant and Danlys mother would obviously exist. However, the Information did not allege a common-law relationship between appellant and Danlys mother but rather a legitimate relationship since the Information described Danly as appellants stepdaughter. The prosecution even tampered with the original copy of Danlys birth certificate to make it appear that appellant and Danlys mother, Dolores Santos, are married to each other. This would have justified that Dante Santos, instead of Danilo Esmouth, is the registered father of Danly. The prosecution, however, failed to present the marriage contract between appellant and Dolores Santos. References by Dolores Santos and Danly to appellant as the stepfather of Danly, and references by appellant to Dolores as his wife, cannot be considered as evidence of the legality of the union between appellant and Dolores. Neither can such references be considered as evidence of the legality of the stepfatherstepdaughter relationship between appellant and Danly.

Because of the disparity between the facts alleged in the Information and the facts proven in court on the real relationship between appellant and Danly, we cannot hold appellant liable for qualified rape but only for simple rape. Hence, reclusion perpetua, and not death, is the correct penalty. [G.R. No. 149370. September 23, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. MARTIN ALEJO, appellant. Retractions are generally unreliable and are looked upon with considerable disfavor by the courts. Like any other testimony, they are subject to the test of credibility based on the relevant circumstances and, especially, on the demeanor of the witness on the stand. In Alonte v. Savellano, Mr. Justice Reynato S. Puno explains the rationale for rejecting recantations in his Separate Opinion: Mere retraction by a witness or by complainant of his or her testimony does not necessarily vitiate the original testimony or statement, if credible. The general rule is that courts look with disfavor upon retractions of testimonies previously given in court. x x x. The reason is because affidavits of retraction can easily be secured from poor and ignorant witnesses, usually through intimidation or for monetary consideration. Moreover, there is always the probability that they will later be repudiated and there would never be an end to criminal litigation. It would also be a dangerous rule for courts to reject testimonies solemnly taken before courts of justice simply because the witnesses who had given them later on changed their minds for one reason or another. This would make solemn trials a mockery and place the investigation of the truth at the mercy of unscrupulous witnesses. Courts, therefore, should devise all the necessary means to ascertain which of the contradictory testimonies represents the truth. This includes not only noting the demeanor of the witness on the stand but also the demeanors of those persons present in court. In the case at bar, the trial court noted the demeanors of the accused before the victim testified and of the mother while her daughter was testifying on the stand. Neither can we give credence to appellants self-serving assertion that the victims grandmother concocted the rape charge because she did not approve of his marriage to her daughter and that the financial assistance from Lutgardas former common-law husband was cut off by reason of such marriage. It is too trite, and unworthy of belief. Motives such as family feuds, resentment or revenge have never swayed us from giving full credence to the testimony of a minor complainant. More importantly, we cannot believe that the grandparents would expose their granddaughter, a young and innocent girl, to the humiliation and stigma of a rape trial just to stop the relationship between the father and the mother of the victim. No grandparent would expose his or her own granddaughter to the shame and scandal of having undergone such a debasing defilement of her chastity if the charge filed were not true. [G.R. No. 145349. July 29, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. JENIS PATEO, appellant. The nest point is that, as adverted to by the Solicitor General, the information filed against appellant in the case at bar failed to specify the minority of complainant. The record shows, however, that the sworn complaint of Elizabeth Pateo, complainants mother, filed against appellant, specifically stated the minority as well as the relationship of complainant to appellant. The rape herein took place in 1996, prior to the effectivity on October 22, 1997 of Republic Act No. 8353, entitled: An Act Expanding the Definition of the Crime of Rape, Reclassifying the same as a Crime Against Persons, Amending for the Purpose Act No. 3815. as amended, otherwise known as the Revised Penal Code, and for Other Purposes. Whether or not said law should be given retroactive effect so that the allegations in the complaint should no longer be considered, need not be resolved in this case.

For, in this case, although the complaint stated the age of the complainant to be twelve years old at the time of the rape, the age of the complainant was not sufficiently established during the trial. The prosecution failed to adduce in evidence complainants birth certificate or other similar authentic documents such as her baptismal certificate and school records. The prosecution also failed to adduce independent proof to establish complainants relationship with appellant. Complainants testimony that she was born on September 25, 1983 and that appellant is her father, even if not refuted by appellant, will not suffice. Proof thereof is critical considering the penalty of death imposed for qualified rape. We also cannot consider complainants allegation that her mother was able to witness the rape incident because this circumstance is not alleged in the complaint nor in the information. Furthermore, this was not sufficiently proven during trial. Complainants mother did not bother to testify in court. Finally, even if complainants allegation were sufficiently alleged and proven, it still may not be considered against appellant, considering that complainants mother only allegedly happened to witness the rape incident by chance. Section 11 of R.A. No. 7659 provides for the imposition of death penalty when rape is committed in full view of the husband, parent, any of the children or other relatives within the third degree of consanguinity. [G.R. No. 142556. February 5, 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JESUS PEREZ y SEBUNGA, accusedappellant. Appellants claim that the police improperly suggested to Mayia to identify appellant is without basis. True, Mayia did not identify appellant in a police line-up when Mayia identified appellant in his cell. However, appellant, in his testimony admitted that he had two other companions in his cell. Moreover, the Court has held that there is no law requiring a police line-up as essential to a proper identification. Even without a police line-up, there could still be a proper identification as long as the police did not suggest such identification to the witnesses. The records are bereft of any indication that the police suggested to Mayia to identify appellant as the rapist. Mayias identification in open court of appellant as her rapist dispels any doubt as to the proper identification of appellant. Mayia positively identified and pointed to appellant as her rapist. We are satisfied that her testimony, by itself, is sufficient identification of her rapist. As held in People v. Marquez: xxx. 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. STACY PINO and Connie Agbayani Create a free website with Weebly Philippine Jurisprudence Case Digest, Law Subject Notes, Commentaries. civil law, political law, criminal law, taxation, administrative law, election law, remedial law, Philippine constitution, case digest, law notes

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