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Weight and Sufficiency of Evidence: Proof Beyond Reasonable Doubt

People v. Patentes
GR No. 190178
Feb 12, 2014

PEREZ, J.:

FACTS:
This case is about the alleged forcible abduction with rape, and 7 counts of rape of AAA by
Felimon Patentes (Patentes), as filed before the RTC of Davao.

The facts are follows: AAA boarded a bus for Bansalan, Davao City, to bring medicine to her
grandmother. While in the bus, Patentes sat beside AAA and had a brief conversation with her. Patentes
then showed AAA his bolo while he held a red steel pipe with Arabic markings, which he used to threaten
AAA should he not follow her.

Patentes accompanied AAA to her grandmother’s house. After which they returned to Davao,
then rode a jeepney to Sasa. They alighted before a convenience store where a man gave something to
Patentes, to which he immediately put in his pocket. They then proceeded to Patente’s house in Hacienda
Heights where his parents, sister, brother-in-law, nephews and nieces live.

For 8 days AAA was raped by Pententes through the use of an unknown substance which made
her weak and dizzy. And on one instance where she attempted to flee, she immediately got caught by
Petentes, who then boxed her and raped her.

To free herself from her predicament, AAA convinced Petentes that she would marry him.
Petente’s mother brought AAA to her mother to talk about marital plans. AAA’s mother was surprised and
inquired in private as to what happened. AAA confessed that she was raped multiple times from Dec 5,
for more than a week. AAA’s mother reported the incident to the police and brought AAA to the doctor.

Dr. Samuel Cruz (Dr. Cruz), the City Health Officer of Davao City, testified in his examination that
- There was a kiss mark on her breast
- Her hymen was intact and can readily admit a normal sized erect male penis without sustaining
any injury
- Vaginal canal was negative for spermatozoa
Dr. Cruz also testified that not sure where it was AAA’s 1st sexual intercourse as the vagina was not injured
but hat healed lacerations.

Petente’s Defense
He alleged that he accompanied AAA to her grandmother. After which Petentes offered to bring
home AAA but she refused and wanted to live with him as she was fed up with her mother always calling
her “Buntog or prostitute”.

He stated that the sexual intercourse was consensual and that they had slept together in the same
room during the alleged incident. AAA was free to roam the house, and AAA even helped with the
household chores. AAA’s grandfather even went to the house, and as a result they agreed to get married
and even set a wedding date. However, AAA’s mother rejected the proposal because of Petente’s social
standing.
To corroborate his story, Petentes presented the following:
- Leonora Gerondio (Gerondio) – saw AAA went to Petente’s house and did chores and AAA even
visited her to talk about her marital plans.
- Wilma Enriquez (Enriquez) – she went twice to Petente’s due to AAA’s invitation to talk about the
couple’s marital plans.

The RTC convicted Petentes of forcible abduction with rape and 7 counts of rape
The CA affirmed the decision but modified the damages awarded by increasing it

ISSUE:
Whether Petentes was guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime alleged, despite the lone
testimony of AAA and inconsistencies in her testimonies.

HELD:
No, due to the multiple inconsistencies of AAA’s testimony and the evidence provided, Petente’s
was not proven to be guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the alleged crimes.

Behavioral psychology teaches us that people react to similar situations dissimilarly. There is no
standard form of behavior when one is confronted by a shocking incident as the workings of the human
mind when placed under emotional stress are unpredictable.11 Nevertheless, the Court must be guided
by established principles. In reviewing rape cases, the Court

In reviewing rape cases, the Court is guided by the following principles:


(1) to accuse a man of rape is easy, but to disprove the accusation is difficult, though the accused
may be innocent;
(2) inasmuch as 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 merit and should not be allowed
to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense.12

So long as the private complainant’s testimony meets the test of credibility, the accused may be
convicted on the basis thereof.13

Following these legal precepts, AAA’s testimony, placed side by side with the prosecution’s
evidence, must stand the test of credibility.

1. Absence of external signs or physical injuries does not negate the commission of rape since
proof of injuries is not an essential element of the crime.14 And, it is also a precept that
physical evidence is of the highest order and speaks more eloquently than all witnesses put
together.15 In the case at bar, the prosecution failed to present any scintilla of proof to support
its claim. In fact, contrary to the prosecution’s claim that AAA was dragged, tied, mauled,
slapped and boxed, the medical certificate revealed no telltale sign of the prosecution’s
allegations. It has to be noted that the medical examination was conducted the day after
AAA’s supposed escape from appellant. As shown by the medical certificate, AAA had no
external signs of physical injuries, save for a kiss mark.

2. The time–honored test in determining the value of the testimony of a witness is its
compatibility with human knowledge, observation and common experience of man. Thus,
whatever is repugnant to the standards of human knowledge, observation and experience
becomes incredible and must lie outside judicial cognizance.
 It is incompatible with human experience to keep a sex slave for 8 days in a house
where the abuser’s entire family, including the abuser’s minor nephew and nieces
live.
 When Petentes and AAA arrived in Petentes’ house, they were greated by his
father.
 His father should have talked about the abduction/rape not merely ignore it.
 His mother would not have talked to AAA’s mother to propose a marriage
considering she was allegedly abducted and raped.
 Why AAA’s family not be worried when AAA was missing for several days
 Why would AAA’s father talk about marital plans instead of reporting the
same to the police

3. The conduct of the victim immediately following the alleged sexual assault is of utmost
importance in establishing the truth or falsity of the charge of rape. In the case at bar, the
actuations of AAA after the alleged rape is totally uncharacteristic of one who has been raped.
It is contrary to normal human behavior for AAA to willingly go with her abuser’s mother, and
worse, to live with her abuser’s entire family in one roof for eight (8) days sans any attempt
to escape.

A conviction in a criminal case must be supported by proof beyond reasonable doubt, which means a
moral certainty that the accused is guilty; the burden of proof rests upon the prosecution. 33 In the case
at bar, the prosecution has failed to discharge its burden of establishing with moral certainty the
truthfulness of the charge that appellant had carnal knowledge of AAA against her will using threats,
force or intimidation.