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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
March-1997 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 51765 March 3, 1997 - REPUBLIC PLANTERS BANK v. ENRIQUE A. AGANA, SR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 93397 March 3, 1997 - TRADERS ROYAL BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99425 March 3, 1997 - ANTONIO RAMOS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 100487 & 100607 March 3, 1997 - ARTURO JULIANO v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106581 March 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENATO FLORES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110419 March 3, 1997 - UERM-MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114383 March 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOEL COREA

  • G.R. No. 116437 March 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PABLITO ANDAN

  • G.R. No. 117161 March 3, 1997 - RAMON INGLES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120704 March 3, 1997 - BARTOLOME C. CARALE, ET AL. v. PAMPIO A. ABARINTOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123321 March 3, 1997 - ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123361 March 3, 1997 - TEOFILO CACHO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125198 March 3, 1997 - MSCI-NACUSIP v. NWPC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 84449 March 4, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENEDICTO JAVIER, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 102876 March 4, 1997 - BATAAN SHIPYARD AND ENG’G CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118607 March 4, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JULITO FRANCO

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1335 March 5, 1997 - INOCENCIO BASCO v. LEO H. RAPATALO

  • G.R. No. 126576 March 5, 1997 - RICARDO M. ANGOBUNG v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 83598 March 7, 1997 - LEONCIA BALOGBOG, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 94994-95 March 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LILIBETH CACO

  • G.R. No. 106212 March 7, 1997 - PROGRESS HOMES, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108395 March 7, 1997 - HEIRS OF TEODORO GUARING, JR. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 108604-10 March 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FEDERICO A. BURCE

  • G.R. No. 113420 March 7, 1997 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113905 March 7, 1997 - LEOPOLDO ALICBUSAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116211 March 7, 1997 - MEYNARDO POLICARPIO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116512 March 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILLIAM O. CASIDO, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1353 March 11, 1997 - DANILO B. PARADA v. LORENZO B. VENERACION

  • G.R. No. 127066 March 11, 1997 - REYNALDO O. MALONZO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117169 March 12, 1997 - PHILTREAD WORKERS UNION, ET AL. v. NIEVES R. CONFESOR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121917 March 12, 1997 - ROBIN CARIÑO PADILLA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 99301 & 99343 March 13, 1997 - VICTOR KIERULF, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 100333 March 13, 1997 - HILARIO MAGCALAS, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 103611 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CESAR HERBIETO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107131 March 13, 1997 - NFD INT’L. MANNING AGENTS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108454 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TEDDY QUINAO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109779 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NESTOR MAÑOZCA

  • G.R. No. 110067 March 13, 1997 - LINDA T. ALMENDRAS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111478 March 13, 1997 - GEORGE F. SALONGA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111567 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TEODORICO AVILLANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116123 March 13, 1997 - SERGIO NAGUIAT, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116228 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EPIFANIO GAYON, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116352 March 13, 1997 - J. & D.O. AGUILAR CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 116596-98 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LORENZO TOPAGUEN

  • G.R. No. 117266 March 13, 1997 - CONTEMPT PROCEEDINGS AGAINST VENTURA O. DUCAT, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 117955-58 March 13, 1997 - HERMINIGILDO TOMARONG, ET AL. v. ANTONIO C. LUBGUBAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119058 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ERLINDA VILLARAN

  • G.R. No. 120853 March 13, 1997 - RUDY ALMEDA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122427 March 13, 1997 - BENJAMIN LAZA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123881 March 13, 1997 - VIVA PRODUCTIONS, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 91694 March 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SABAS CALVO, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 97626 March 14, 1997 - PHIL. BANK OF COMMERCE, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114387 March 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALEJANDRO DEVILLERES

  • G.R. No. 120592 March 14, 1997 - TRADERS ROYAL BANK EMPLOYEES UNION v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121765 March 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RANDOLF B. MONTEALTO

  • G.R. No. 122646 March 14, 1997 - ADELIA C. MENDOZA v. ANGELITO C. TEH, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112229 March 18, 1997 - RAYMOND PE LIM v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 114924-27 March 18, 1997 - DANTE NACURAY, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119321 March 18, 1997 - CATALINO F. BAÑEZ, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Bar Matter No. 712 March 19, 1997 - PETITION OF AL ARGOSINO TO TAKE THE LAWYER’S OATH

  • G.R. Nos. 100382-100385 March 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO TABACO

  • G.R. No. 111157 March 19, 1997 - ITOGON-SUYOC MINES, INC. v. OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117029 March 19, 1997 - PELTAN DEVELOPMENT, INC., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121112 March 19, 1997 - FELICIDAD MIRANO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127325 March 19, 1997 - MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-95-1159 March 20, 1997 - COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. WILLIAM C. SEVILLO

  • G.R. No. 88684 March 20, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CESAR LACBANES

  • G.R. No. 95551 March 20, 1997 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. CONCEPCION S. ALARCON VERGARA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107019 March 20, 1997 - FRANKLIN M. DRILON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116404 March 20, 1997 - FRANCISCO LUNA, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117218 March 20, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GERRY NALANGAN

  • G.R. No. 119599 March 20, 1997 - MALAYAN INSURANCE CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127456 March 20, 1997 - JESUS A. JARIOL, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-96-1091 March 21, 1997 - WILFREDO NAVARRO v. DEOGRACIAS K. DEL ROSARIO

  • G.R. No. 107699 March 21, 1997 - ALEX JACOBO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116692 March 21, 1997 - SAMAR II ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117097 March 21, 1997 - SAMAHAN NG OPTOMETRISTS SA PILIPINAS, ET AL. v. ACEBEDO INTL. CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118436 March 21, 1997 - HEIRS OF MANUEL A. ROXAS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118836 March 21, 1997 - FEDERICO DORDAS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122728 March 21, 1997 - CASIANO A. ANGCHANGCO, JR. v. OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123037 March 21, 1997 - TEODORO Q. PEÑA v. HRET, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1184 March 24, 1997 - NBI, ET AL. v. RODOLFO TULIAO

  • G.R. No. 106588 March 24, 1997 - RAUL H. SESBREÑO v. CENTRAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-89-318 March 25, 1997 - LUCIANA Vda. DE ARAGO v. PATERNO T. ALVAREZ

  • G.R. No. 96229 March 25, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GLORIOSA S. NAVARRO

  • G.R. No. 124137 March 25, 1997 - ROY M. LOYOLA v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126298 March 25, 1997 - PATRIA C. GUTIERREZ v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99032 March 26, 1997 - RICARDO A. LLAMADO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 101817 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE IMMACULATA

  • G.R. No. 107801 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROSARIA V. IGNACIO

  • G.R. No. 110613 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGAR VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 113470 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO CORBES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115951 March 26, 1997 - ZEBRA SECURITY AGENCY, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117378 March 26, 1997 - GIL CAPILI, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117408 March 26, 1997 - NATIONAL INVESTMENT AND DEV. CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117604 March 26, 1997 - CHINA BANKING CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118332 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. IRENEO PEREZ

  • G.R. No. 119528 March 26, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121031 March 26, 1997 - ROSAURO I. TORRES v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122013 March 26, 1997 - JOSE C. RAMIREZ v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124333 March 26, 1997 - NATIVIDAD P. ARAGON v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119877 March 31, 1997 - BIENVENIDO ONGKINGCO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  •  




     
     

    G.R. No. 114383   March 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOEL COREA

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    THIRD DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 114383. March 3, 1997.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JOEL COREA alias "Digoy," Accused-Appellant.

    The Solicitor General for Plaintiff-Appellee.

    Tabaquero Dela Torre Simando & Associates for Accused-Appellant.


    SYLLABUS


    1. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; CREDIBILITY; FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS OF THE TRIAL COURT, GENERALLY DESERVE GREAT WEIGHT AND RESPECT. — The basic rule is that findings and conclusions of a trial court, upon whom the responsibility of assessing the credibility of witnesses primarily rests, deserve great weight and respect. Conclusions as to the credibility of witnesses in rape cases lie heavily on the sound judgment of the trial court. When the question arises as to which version is to be believed, the judgment of the trial court is accorded the highest respect in view of the opportunity it had to observe the witnesses’ demeanor and deportment on the witness stand. Concededly, it is in a better position than an appellate court to discern whether a witness is telling the truth or fabricating a lie. Barring arbitrariness and oversight of facts which might affect the result of the case, such assessment must bind even this Court.

    2. ID.; ID.; GUIDING PRINCIPLES IN REVIEWING RAPE CASES. — In comparing the testimonies to that of complainant and in reviewing cases of this nature, this Court is guided by three settled principles, viz.:" (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 it; (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 be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense.

    3. ID.; ID.; ID.; VICTIM’S TESTIMONY MUST MEET THE TEST OF CREDIBILITY. — Conviction or acquittal of an accused depends on the credibility of complainant’s testimony because of the fact that, usually, the only witnesses to the incident are the participants themselves. Thus, the victim’s testimony, standing alone, can be made the basis of accused’s prosecution and conviction, if such testimony meets the test of credibility.

    4. ID.; ID.; CREDIBILITY; TESTIMONY OF RAPE VICTIM, USUALLY GIVEN CREDENCE. — Courts usually give credence to the testimony of a woman who is a victim of sexual assault, like complainant in this case, because normally no woman would be willing to undergo the humiliation of a public trial and testify on the details of her ordeal if it be not to condemn an injustice.

    5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. — Complainant was only sixteen years old then and a sophomore high school student from the province. She was not shown to have the shrewdness and callousness of a woman who would concoct such a story and endure physical examination and public trial if her story were untrue. In People v. Vitor, the Court held 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 show that rape was committed. The credibility of her story is further bolstered by the actuations of complainant subsequent to the commission of the crime. Complainant testified that, after being raped, her mind went blank and she thought she was being possessed by demons; thus after the incident, she went along with appellant and his mother to their house in Sinolon and refused to go with her brother-in law when he came to fetch her at appellant’s house because she saw him as a demon. Her refusal to go with her brother-in law does not detract from her claim that she has been raped by appellant, based on psychological findings that different people react differently to similar situations. Thus, while most women will immediately flee from their aggressors, others become virtually catatonic because of the mental shock they experience. Dr. Pantua-Albaño, while conducting physical examination on complainant, observed that she was conscious but uncommunicative. These facts suggest that complainant suffered psychological trauma from her defloration.

    6. CRIMINAL LAW; RAPE; FORCE; NEED NOT BE OVERPOWERING OR IRRESISTIBLE BUT MUST ONLY BE SUFFICIENT TO CONSUMMATE OFFENSE. — The force required in rape cases need not be overpowering or irresistible when applied. The force or violence required is relative. Failure to shout or offer tenacious resistance did not make voluntary complainant’s submission to the criminal acts of the accused. What is necessary is that the force employed in accomplishing it is sufficient to consummate the purpose which the accused has in mind.

    7. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. — The defense that complainant merely made "token resistance" is unavailing. The resistance she had put up against appellant need not have reached the point of her sustaining death or physical injuries at his hands; all that was necessary was that the force or intimidation applied against her enabled the assailant to effect sexual penetration.

    8. ID.; ID.; NOT PRECLUDED WHERE APPELLANT AND VICTIMS WERE SWEETHEARTS. — The trial court refused to believe that appellant and complainant were sweethearts because appellant failed to rebut complainant’s denial of such relationship. More importantly, it properly concluded that being sweethearts did not prove consent by complainant to the sexual act. The lower court appropriately applied People v. Cabilao which held that: ". . . Moreover, even if such averment is true, it does not necessarily follow that no rape can be committed against one’s sweetheart. Such a relationship provides no license to explore and invade that which every virtuous woman holds so dearly and trample upon her honor and dignity. That relationship is held sacred by many . . .. A sweetheart cannot be forced to engage in sexual intercourse against her will. As a matter of fact, proof even of a prior history of a common-law marital relationship will not prevail over clear and positive evidence of copulation by the use of force or intimidation."cralaw virtua1aw library

    9. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; CORROBORATIVE EVIDENCE NEED NOT BE PRESENTED AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE SUPPRESSION OF EVIDENCE IF NOT PRESENTED. — Non-presentation of other witnesses is not crucial to the sufficiency of the evidence for the prosecution where the testimony would have focused only on circumstances subsequent to the rape. Thus, the non-presentation of the investigating police officer and parents, sister or brother-in-law of the complainant does not give rise to any suspicion of suppression of contrary evidence. The Court fails to see how the testimony of said persons which, as contended by appellant, centers on the state of mind of complainant after the incident, can prove consent to the sexual act, or prove that they had forced complainant to concoct her allegations of rape against Appellant.

    10. CIVIL LAW; DAMAGES; P50,000.00 INDEMNITY FOR RAPE VICTIM. — However, in line with current jurisprudence, the complainant is entitled to P50,000.00 indemnity. The award of moral and exemplary damages is deleted due to the lack of basis therefor and the absence of any attendant aggravating circumstance, respectively.


    D E C I S I O N


    PANGANIBAN, J.:


    In seeking acquittal, appellant insists that complainant was his sweetheart who willingly consented to the sexual congress. However, the "sweethearts theory," even granting it is true, does not necessarily rule out force and intimidation. In the end, the conviction or acquittal of appellant rests upon the credibility of complainant and her testimony in regard to the use of force upon her person.

    These matters are threshed out by the Court in resolving this appeal from the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Suralla, South Cotabato, Branch 26, 1 dated July 9, 1993, in Criminal Case No. 1196-Tb, finding appellant guilty of the crime of rape.

    The Facts


    On January 7, 1992, Rodelyn Barilla filed a criminal complaint 2 against Appellant Joel Corea. After preliminary investigation, appellant was charged with rape in an Information, dated April 23, 1992, which reads: 3

    "That on or about the 4th day of January, 1992 at around 1:30 o’clock in the afternoon in Sitio Lamlaban, Barangay Sinilon,(sic) Municipality of T’boli, Province of South Cotabato, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, by means of force, threat, violence and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously lie with and succeeded in having carnal knowledge of RODELYN BARILLA, a fifteen (15) years (sic) old girl who is not his wife, against the will and without the consent of said Rodelyn Barilla.

    CONTRARY TO LAW."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Upon arraignment, appellant, assisted by counsel, pleaded not guilty to the crime charged. 4 After trial, the trial court convicted appellant of rape in the assailed Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads: 5

    "WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of rape. He is hereby sentenced to the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to indemnify the victim Rodelyn Barilla the sum of P40,000.00 as moral and exemplary damages.

    SO ORDERED."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Hence, this appeal.

    Version of the Prosecution

    Complainant was sixteen years old when she testified, in-between sobs, on how she was raped by appellant. On January 4, 1992, at 1:30 p.m., after attending a wedding reception in Sinolon, Municipality of T’boli, South Cotabato, where she and appellant were the veil sponsors, she went with appellant and his cousin Benjie Corea to the former’s house in nearby Lamlaban to pick coconuts. She did not sense any danger because she was acquainted with appellant; and he had assured her that a lady companion would be there. 6

    However, nobody was at appellant’s house when they arrived. Appellant and his cousin went inside to speak with each other while the complainant was left outside. 7 When appellant returned, he pulled her right hand and took her to a nearby house about ten meters away, leaving Benjie behind. There, appellant brought her upstairs, held her hands and placed them at the back of her neck. He dragged her inside one of the rooms, saying that he would not mind if her parents and brothers would kill him as long as he had carnal knowledge of her.

    Forcing her down on the floor, he professed that he loved her and would take her from her parents because he pitied her. She fought back, kicking and slapping him, telling him that she did not want to have sex with him. She also shouted, "Tabang!" (Help!) and slapped him, hitting his mouth. However, he succeeded in getting on top of her. To stifle her resistance, he held her arms, then he raised her shirt and bra to her neck. She resisted him until she lost consciousness due to exhaustion.

    When she regained consciousness, her whole body, specially her genitals, was very painful. She saw appellant standing at her feet. He returned her skirt and underwear, which had been removed, and told her to get up and dress. Then he led her down the house. By that time, her mind was blank; thus she could not remember where he had brought her.(As will be shown later, she had been brought by appellant to his house.)

    At about 5:00 p.m., her brother-in-law Jimmy Agustin fetched her from appellant’s house in Sinolon. She did not want to go home because her sister was always scolding her and, when her brother-in-law fetched her, she saw all the people around her as demons. 8 Anyway, Jimmy brought her to his house at Crossings Valencia, Edwards, T’boli. There, she refused to tell her sister what had happened to her. Suspecting that complainant was ill, her sister brought her to the provincial hospital at Koronadal, South Cotabato, where she was confined for two days.

    On rebuttal, she insisted that she and appellant were not sweethearts. She denied that she had given him any token of love, such as a Christmas card or a ring. She said she had given the picture, presented by appellant in court, to appellant’s first cousin Menchie Corea, her schoolmate and friend. She could not remember meeting appellant’s mother on that day.chanrobles.com : virtual lawlibrary

    Dr. Digna Josefina Pinky Pantua-Albaño testified that, on January 4, 1992, at 8:15 p.m., she conducted a medical examination on the complainant. She noted that, upon admission, complainant was conscious but uncommunicative. The medical certificate she prepared reported the following findings: 9

    "NOI = Alleged Rape

    POI = Sinolon, T’boli, South Cotabato

    TOI = 2:30 PM

    DOI = Jan. 4, 1992

    PE: Conscious but uncommunicative; keeps eyes close

    most of the time; responds to sternal (sic) pressure.

    Ecchymoses, multiple: (L) forearm mid. 1/3 palmar surface.

    (L) anterior cervical triangle area.

    (L) breast, inner upper outer quadrant.

    Soft abdomen, (-) tenderness (+) bowel sounds.

    Pelvic External :Minimal whitish discharge per vagina;

    & Internal :erythema about 5-6 o’clock position,

    (L) hymen with minimal bleeding.

    :(-) other fresh lacerations; hymenal ring not

    distorted.

    :Admits one forefinger up to a depth of

    about 3 cms then with resistance."cralaw virtua1aw library

    :Linear abrasions at 2 points on both (L) &

    (R) inner thighs.

    :Vaginal Smear done for sperm analysis,

    revealed absence of spermatozoa."cralaw virtua1aw library

    The doctor explained that she observed bleeding underneath the skin at the area of the cervix and the left breast. There was no fresh laceration, only inflammation with minimal bleeding, which could have been caused by sexual contact. The hymenal ring was not distorted. There were linear abrasions on her left and right inner thighs, but vaginal smear revealed the absence of spermatozoa. In spite of this, the doctor testified that "penetration is possible."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Version of the Defense

    Appellant denied that he had employed force on complainant. He testified that he had courted complainant for two months and that they became sweethearts on October 27, 1991. 10 After the wedding in Sinolon at about 1:30 p.m., they walked to appellant’s farmland at Lamlaban, Edwards, about two kilometers away. At 2:00 p.m. they reached his house where they caressed each other.

    Then they went to his grandmother’s house which had been abandoned. He denied pulling complainant by her hand to be able to take her upstairs. According to appellant, complainant voluntarily went inside a room and he only followed her. He asked her to lie on the floor, but she initially refused, telling him she was still studying. 11

    Later, she allowed him to remove her skirt, blouse 12 and underwear, as he stood up to remove his briefs. With him on top of her, they had sexual intercourse for about two hours. Afterwards they put on their clothes and went downstairs.

    Subsequently, his mother arrived and found them at the grandmother’s house at 2:30 p.m. 13 Later, all three of them proceeded to his house in Sinolon, arriving there at about 4:00 p.m. 14 When her brother-in-law came to fetch her, she refused to go with him thus; she had to be forced to board her brother-in-law’s tractor. 15

    In the evening of the same day, appellant was arrested by the barangay captain and brought to the municipal hall of T’boli. The following day, complainant’s brother-in-law accused appellant of raping complainant.

    Appellant insisted that complainant was his girl friend. To prove this, he alleged that complainant herself had visited him in jail where they allegedly kissed and embraced each other. 16 He also presented a Christmas card given to him by complainant. Its envelope bore the name "Boy Insik," which he claimed was his code name, to prevent discovery of their relationship by complainants’ parents. He identified the writing on the card and envelope to be that of complainant, since he was familiar with her handwriting. The card was accompanied by a picture of complainant with a dedication written at the back. He also presented a ring given to him by complainant on October 27, 1991. 17

    On cross-examination, he also claimed that they had sex even before January 4, 1992. He said that their first time to have sex was on "October 27, 1992." Upon being reminded that he was already in jail by said date, he changed the year to 1991. 18

    Elizabeth Apac, the mother of the bride at whose wedding complainant and appellant had been veil sponsors, testified that she knew appellant and complainant to be sweethearts. 19 They had been at her house for the wedding since eight in the morning. At 1:00 p.m., appellant asked her permission to leave with complainant. Although she did not know if they did go to their respective homes, she said that at 5:00 p.m., complainant went to her house and embraced her, saying that she would not go home anymore because she was often scolded by her sister. 20 She sent for the elder sister of complainant. Complainant’s sister and brother-in-law came to take her home, but the complainant refused to go with them; thus, she had to be forcibly taken to their house.

    Felicidad Corea, appellant’s mother, testified that at 4:30 p.m., she went to their house at Lamlaban to feed their pigs. There she found appellant and complainant conversing. When she asked why they were there, complainant said that she would no longer go home because she was always scolded. As she cried, Felicidad embraced her, prevailed upon her, and even accompanied her home. 21

    Ruling of the Trial Court

    As appellant admitted having sexual intercourse with complainant, the only issue was whether it "was done (with) the use of force or intimidation." The trial court ruled that it was "improbable for a young second year student of a barangay high school in a remote town to concoct matters . . . if the said story was not true (People v. Nunag, 173 SCRA 274)." 22 It also rejected appellant’s "tokens" as fabricated because he had not rebutted complainant’s denial that she ever gave them to him.

    It also noted that even if appellant’s "sweethearts theory" was true, rape could still be committed following the ruling in People v. Cabilao (210 SCRA 326).

    Issues


    Appellant alleges that the trial court erred: 23

    I


    ". . . in convicting the accused even when the prosecution’s evidence failed to meet the parameters of proof beyond reasonable doubt and/or moral certainty because —

    (a) The presence of the essential elements to constitute rape was not proved.

    (b) The testimony of the complainant, standing alone, was not sufficient and substantial to completely negate the fact that she consented freely and voluntarily to the act of sexual liaison.

    (c) The prosecution prevaricated in failing to call to testify complainant’s brother-in-law, or sister, or parents or even the police officer who conducted the investigation, and this only means that complainant was physically, morally and emotionally (’)persuaded(’) to testify falsely against her lover, the accused.

    II


    . . . in finding the accused guilty when it failed —

    (a) To give due weight and credit to the accused’s evidence of consent and free will by the complainant to the sexual liaison, thereby negating the force allegedly committed against the person of the complainant.

    (b) To give the proper consideration to the testimonies of accused’s witnesses that there was in fact consent, and that complainant was only seriously (’)influenced(’) and pressured by family relationship and ascendancy in testifying falsely against the accused.

    (c) To render a judgment of acquittal on the basis of the totality of the evidence proffered by both parties where the hypothesis of innocence appeared to be more consistent and substantially proved by the facts and the evidence"

    In the main, appellant alleges that the evidence of the prosecution did not sufficiently establish the element of force or intimidation.

    The Court’s Ruling


    Credibility of Witness

    The prosecution’s theory of rape through force rested essentially on the credibility of complainant, and the trial court chose to place full faith and credence upon her testimony.

    The basic rule is that findings and conclusions of a trial court, upon whom the responsibility of assessing the credibility of witnesses primarily rests, deserve great weight and respect. 24 Conclusions as to the credibility of witnesses in rape cases lie heavily on the sound judgment of the trial court. 25 When the question arises as to which version is to be believed, the judgment of the trial court is accorded the highest respect in view of the opportunity it had to observe the witnesses’ demeanor and deportment on the witness stand. Concededly, it is in a better position than an appellate court to discern whether a witness is telling the truth or fabricating a lie. Barring arbitrariness and oversight of facts which might affect the result of the case, such assessment must bind even this Court.

    The testimonies of Felicidad Corea and Elizabeth Apac tended to show that appellant and complainant were sweethearts. However, these testimonies, in the final analysis, do not bar the possibility of rape or conclusively prove consent. Further, the credibility of the testimonies of Felicidad and Elizabeth is not as faultless as the defense claims them to be. Felicidad testified that she herself accompanied private complainant to the latter’s house, 26 contradicting Elizabeth’s testimony that she sent her own daughter to fetch complainant’s sister. 27 Appellant testified that only the complainant’s brother-in-law came to fetch the complainant from appellant’s house in Sinolon, but Elizabeth said that complainant’s sister and her brother-in-law came to fetch the complainant at her house instead. Earlier, a time discrepancy was noted in appellant’s testimony. 27-A The testimonies of the defense witnesses, together, do not present a coherent story which can overthrow the prosecution’s case. Therefore, appellant has failed to present a justification for asserting a finding contrary to that of the trial court.

    In comparing said testimonies to that of complainant and in reviewing cases of this nature, this Court is guided by three settled principles, viz.:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "(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 it; (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 be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense." 28

    Conviction or acquittal of an accused depends on the credibility of complainant’s testimony because of the fact that, usually, the only witnesses to the incident are the participants themselves. 29 Thus, the victim’s testimony, standing alone, can be made the basis of accused’s prosecution and conviction, if such testimony meets the test of credibility. 30

    Courts usually give credence to the testimony of a woman who is a victim of sexual assault, like complainant in this case, because normally no woman would be willing to undergo the humiliation of a public trial and testify on the details of her ordeal if it be not to condemn an injustice. 31

    Complainant was only sixteen years old then and a sophomore high school student from the province. She was not shown to have the shrewdness and callousness of a woman who would concoct such a story and endure physical examination and public trial if her story were untrue. In People v. Vitor, 32 the Court held 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 show that rape was committed.

    The credibility of her story is further bolstered by the actuations of complainant subsequent to the commission of the crime. 33 Complainant testified that, after being raped, her mind went blank 34 and she thought she was being possessed by demons; 35 thus after the incident, she went along with appellant and his mother to their house in Sinolon and refused to go with her brother-in-law when he came to fetch her at appellant’s house because she saw him as a demon. Her refusal to go with her brother-in-law does not detract from her claim that she has been raped by appellant, based on psychological findings that different people react differently to similar situations. Thus, while most women will immediately flee from their aggressors, others become virtually catatonic because of the mental shock they experience. 36 Dr. Pantua-Albaño, while conducting physical examination on complainant, observed that she was conscious but uncommunicative. 37 These facts suggest that complainant suffered psychological trauma from her defloration.

    Resistance Indicates Use of Force

    Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman with the use of force or intimidation. 38 Since appellant himself admitted that he had sexual intercourse with complainant on said occasion, 39 the only element to establish is the use of force. 40 Appellant adopted the theory that the complainant consented to his sexual advances, but this is contradicted by evidence that complainant sustained physical injuries consistent with her claim that she was sexually abused without her consent. 41 In her testimony, complainant recounted how she resisted appellant’s advances: 42

    "FISCAL LEDDA:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q What part of the body was held by Joel when he pulled you?

    A My right hand (witness holding her right wrist).

    Q Where did he bring you by Joel, when he pulled you?

    A At the house of his grandmother.

    x       x       x


    Q When you reached the house of the grandmother of Joel Corea, what did he do next, if any, Madam Witness?

    A He dragged me upstairs.

    x       x       x


    Q When you reached upstairs, what did he do next, if any?

    A He held my both hands and placed here at the back of my neck.

    x       x       x


    Q After that what did Joel Corea do, if any?

    A Then he removed again my hands dragged me towards one of the rooms.

    x       x       x


    Q When you reached the said room, what did he do next, if any?

    A He said, even I have my parents, my brothers will kill him, he won’t (sic) mind it as long as he will take me.

    Q After uttering those words, what did he do next, if any?

    A He let me laid down. I fought back.

    Q Where did you lay?

    A On the floor.

    Q When you were already lying on the floor you said you fought him or resisted him, in what manner did you offer the resistance?

    A I slapped him.

    COURT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q Hit where?

    A On his mouth.

    Q What more?

    A I kicked him.

    x       x       x


    FISCAL LEDDA:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q When you kicked him, what was your position when you kicked him?

    A I was lying on the floor while he was on top of me. I pushed him. (witness making a motion by pushing both his (sic) hands forward) And I kicked him. (witness making a motion by kicking her right leg).

    x       x       x


    Q Did you shout?

    A Yes, I shouted.

    Q You repeat what you shouted?

    A I shouted "tabang" meaning "help" .

    Q How many times did you shout for help?

    A Once.

    Q Then what did Joel Corea do next, if any?

    A He placed himself on top of my body.

    Q While he was on top of you, Madam Witness, what were the position of your hands, if any?

    A The position of my hands were like this (witness extending both her right and left arms).

    COURT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q Joel did not hold your hands?

    A He held my left hand. (Witness touching her left wrist) and my right hand was released, sir.

    FISCAL LEDDA:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q What did you do when he released your right hand and what did he do?

    A When my right hand was released by him I slapped him and resisted him. At this juncture, I held again my right hand. At this moment, both of my hands were held by him."cralaw virtua1aw library

    The testimony of complainant that she was forced by appellant to have sex with him is also corroborated by the medical certificate of Dr. Pantua-Albaño. 43

    The force required in rape cases need not be overpowering or irresistible when applied. 44 The force or violence required is relative. 45 Failure to shout or offer tenacious resistance did not make voluntary complainant’s submission to the criminal acts of the accused. 46 What is necessary is that the force employed in accomplishing it is sufficient to consummate the purpose which the accused has in mind. 47

    The defense that complainant merely made "token resistance" is unavailing. The resistance she had put up against appellant need not have reached the point of her sustaining death or physical injuries at his hands; all that was necessary was that the force or intimidation applied against her enabled the assailant to effect sexual penetration. 48

    Likewise, the absence of confederates and of a weapon in consummating the rape has no persuasive effect given the disparity in physical strength and the physical superiority of a nineteen-year old boy relative to that of a sixteen-year old girl. The sheer force and strength of appellant would have easily overcome any resistance that complainant could have put up.

    Being Sweethearts Does Not Prove Consent

    The trial court refused to believe that appellant and complainant were sweethearts because appellant failed to rebut complainant’s denial of such relationship. More importantly, it properly concluded that being sweethearts did not prove consent by complainant to the sexual act. The lower court appropriately applied People v. Cabilao which held that: 49

    ". . . Moreover, even if such averment is true, it does not necessarily follow that no rape can be committed against one’s sweetheart. Such a relationship provides no license to explore and invade that which every virtuous woman holds so dearly and trample upon her honor and dignity. That relationship is held sacred by many . . . A sweetheart cannot be forced to engage in sexual intercourse against her will. As a matter of fact, proof even of a prior history of a common-law marital relationship will not prevail over clear and positive evidence of copulation by the use of force or intimidation."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Not to be overlooked is the complainant’s willingness to face police investigators and to submit to a physical examination which are eloquent and sufficient affirmations of the truth of her charge. 50

    Testimony on Circumstances

    After Rape Is Unnecessary

    Non-presentation of other witnesses is not crucial to the sufficiency of the evidence for the prosecution where the testimony would have focused only on circumstances subsequent to the rape. 51 Thus, the non-presentation of the investigating police officer and parents, sister or brother-in-law of the complainant does not give rise to any suspicion of suppression of contrary evidence. The Court fails to see how the testimony of said persons which, as contended by appellant, centers on the state of mind of complainant after the incident, can prove consent to the sexual act, or prove that they had forced complainant to concoct her allegations of rape against appellant.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    All told, appellant has failed to show any reversible error, and this Court finds no cogent reason to reverse the decision of the trial court. However, in line with current jurisprudence, the complainant is entitled to P50,000.00 indemnity. 52 The award of moral and exemplary damages is deleted due to the lack of basis therefor and the absence of any attendant aggravating circumstance, 53 respectively.

    WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby DENIED. The assailed Decision is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. The complainant is granted indemnity in the sum of P50,000.00, but the award of moral and exemplary damages is DELETED.

    SO ORDERED.

    Narvasa, C.J., Davide, Jr., Melo and Francisco, JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. Presided by Judge Cristeto D. Dinopol.

    2. Exhibits, p. 1.

    3. Records, p. 1.

    4. Records, p. 35.

    5. Rollo, p. 28.

    6. TSN, October 16, 1992, p. 28.

    7. Ibid., p 8.

    8. Ibid., pp. 36-37.

    9. Exhibits, p. 4.

    10. TSN, February 5, 1993, p 4

    11. Ibid., p; 9.

    12. According to the complainant, she wore a shirt, not a blouse.(TSN, October 16, 1992, p. 14.).

    13. The Court notes a discrepancy in the time as appellant admitted that they arrived at Lamlaban at 2:00 p.m. and had sex with the complainant for about two hours, yet appellant claimed that his mother arrived at said place at 2:30 p.m. See testimony of Felicidad Corea, appellant’s mother, for the more plausible time of her arrival at the house of appellant’s grandmother.

    14. TSN, February 5, 1993, pp. 17-18.

    15. Ibid., p. 20.

    16. Ibid., p. 22.

    17. Ibid., pp. 12-16.

    18. Ibid., p. 24.

    19. TSN, April 29, 1993, p. 11.

    20. Ibid., p. 6.

    21. TSN, May 19, 1993, pp. 5-6.

    22. RTC Decision, Rollo, page 27.

    23. Appellant’s Brief, Rollo, pp. 67-68.

    24. People v. Alimon, G.R. No. 87758, June 28, 1996, p. 12; People v. Magana, G.R. No. 105673, July 26, 1996, p. 16.

    25. People v. Malunes, 247 SCRA 317,324, August 14, 1995.

    26. TSN, May 19, 1993, pp. 6-7.

    27. TSN, April 29, 1993, pp. 6-8.

    27-A. Supra., Footnote 13.

    28. People v. Alimon, supra., pp. 11-12; People v. Gabris, G.R. No. 116221, July 11, 1996, pp. 7-8; People v. Tacipit, 242 SCRA 241, 247, March 8, 1995 and People v. Teves, 246 SCRA 236, 238-239, July 14, 1995.

    29. People v. Rivera, 242 SCRA 26, 35, March 1, 1995.

    30. People v. Vallena, 244 SCRA 685, 691, June 1, 1995; and People v. Dado, 244 SCRA 655, 666, June 1, 1995.

    31. People v. Abendaño, 242 SCRA 531, 538, March 21, 1995.

    32. 245 SCRA 392, 402, June 27, 1995; and People v. Biendo, 216 SCRA 626, 629, December 16, 1992.

    33. People v. Tacipit, supra., p. 249. 34 TSN, October 16, 1993, p. 19.

    34. TSN, October 16, 1993, p. 19.

    35. Ibid., p. 34.

    36. People v. Ibay, 233 SCRA 15, 25, June 8, 1994.

    37. TSN, January 11, 1993, p. 11.

    38. Article 335 (1), Revised Penal Code; People v. Conte, 247 SCRA 583, 592, August 23, 1995; People v. Palicte, 229 SCRA 543, 545, January 27, 1994; and People v. Lucas, 232 SCRA 537, 546, May 25, 1994.

    39. TSN, February 5, 1993, p. 11.

    40. People v. Dulay, 217 SCRA 132, 153, January 18, 1993.

    41. People v. Saluna, 226 SCRA 447, 451, September 15, 1993.

    42. TSN, October 16, 1992, 99. 11-14.

    43. People v. Godoy, 250 SCRA 676, 708, December 6, 1995.

    44. People v. Errojo, 229 SCRA 49, 56, January 4, 1994; and People v. Codilla, 224 SCRA 104, 119, June 30, 1993.

    45. People v. Baculi, 246 SCRA 756, 766, July 26, 1995; and People v. Errojo, supra., p. 56-57.

    46. People v. Dupali, 230 SCRA 62, 69, February 14, 1994; People v. Grefiel, 215 SCRA 596, 607, November 13, 1992; and People v. Dado, supra., p. 667.

    47. People v. Antonio, 233 SCRA 283; 299, June 17, 1994.

    48. People v. Soberano, 244 SCRA 467,477, May 29, 1995; People v. Antonio, ibid.; and People v. Errojo, supra.

    49. 210 SCRA 326,337, June 25, 1992 and People v. Tacipit, supra., p. 249.

    50. People v. Baculi, supra, p. 764.

    51. People v. Saguban, 231 SCRA 744, 757, April 25, 1994; and People v. Gapasan, 243 SCRA 53,61, March 29, 1995.

    52. People v. Ramirez, G.R. No. 97920, January 20, 1997, p. 22; People v. De Guzman, G.R. No. 117217, December 2, 1996, p. 10; and People v. Salazar, G.R. No. 98121-22, July 5, 1996, p. 8; and People v. Abordo, G.R. No. 80437-38, July 11, 1996, 13.

    53. Article 2230, Civil Code.

    G.R. No. 114383   March 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOEL COREA




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