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

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    FIRST DIVISION

    [G.R. Nos. 116596-98. March 13, 1997.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. LORENZO TOPAGUEN alias "APIAT," Accused-Appellant.

    The Solicitor General for Plaintiff-Appellee.

    Bengzon Narciso Cudala Pecson Bengson & Jimenez for Accused-Appellant.


    SYLLABUS


    1. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; CREDIBILITY; FINDINGS OF FACTS OF THE TRIAL COURT IN RAPE CASES, GENERALLY UPHELD ON APPEAL. — It is elementary that conclusions as to the credibility of witnesses in rape cases lie heavily on the sound judgment of the trial court which is generally accorded great weight and respect, if not conclusive effect. Accordingly, in the appreciation of the evidence the appellate court accords due deference to the trial court’s views on who should be given credence, since the latter is in a better position to assess the credibility of witnesses considering its opportunity to observe their demeanor as well as their deportment and manner of testifying during the trial. Its findings on the credibility of witnesses will be sustained by the appellate court unless the trial court overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied the facts or circumstances of weight and substance which will alter the assailed decision or affect the result of the case. In this instance, none of the excepting circumstances is availing.

    2. ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT ADVERSELY AFFECTED BY MINOR INCONSISTENCIES IN RAPE VICTIM’S TESTIMONY. — April was only nine (9) years old when she went through her traumatic experience. As such, error-free testimonies could not be expected especially when she was recounting details of a terrifying ordeal. Minor 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 weight and credit.

    3. ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT ADVERSELY AFFECTED WHERE EXAMINING PHYSICIAN LACKS EXPERIENCE IN PHYSICAL EXAMINATION OF RAPE VICTIMS BUT WAS PRESENTED AND QUALIFIED AS A MEDICAL EXPERT. — Accused-appellant also avers that it was error for the court a quo to have relied on the testimony and findings of Dr. Elaine Fagsao as the latter had no experience yet in the physical examination of rape victims. We do not agree. Generally, any person who by study or experience has acquired particular knowledge or expertise may be allowed to give in evidence his opinion upon matters of technical knowledge relating to such business or employment. While it may be that the cases of April, Maura and Fraulein were the initial cases on rape handled by Dr. Elaine Fagsao, such fact is not a bar to her testimony being given credence since the prosecution was able at the first instance to qualify her as a medical expert.

    4. ID.; ID.; MEDICAL EXAMINATION, NOT INDISPENSABLE IN THE PROSECUTION OF RAPE. — Moreover, it cannot be said that the prosecution relied solely on the hymenal lacerations of the victims as evidence of rape but on the testimonies of complainants themselves which, standing alone and even without medical examination, were sufficient to convict. A medical examination is not indispensable in a prosecution for rape otherwise grave and irreparable injustice would be inflicted upon hapless victims if the crime be committed in remote areas where there may be no doctors to conduct a medical examination on the rape victim. So, too, if the victim would not submit to physical examination since what immediately preoccupies her mind after her ordeal is not necessarily the filing of a complaint but the fear of what the perpetrator will further inflict upon her should she reveal his criminal act, or the embarrassment and humiliation accompanying a public disclosure of the ignominy and dishonor she suffered in the hands of her tormentor.

    5. ID.; ID.; A PARTY MUST PROVE HIS OWN AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES. — Accused-appellant further claims that there was no credible or competent evidence to show that April, Maura and Fraulein’s vaginas had been penetrated by a male organ as their hymenal lacerations could have been caused by several factors other than sexual intercourse. Ironically, while the accused questions the qualifications of Dr. Fagsao as medical expert, he nonetheless relies on her findings as to the cause of the injuries. In a case, this Court held — Appellant loses sight of the fact that while the prosecution had proved that the laceration was caused by sexual intercourse, contrarily, he had failed to establish that the laceration was caused by other factors. It is elementary in our rules on evidence that a party must prove his own affirmative allegations.

    6. ID.; ID.; ADVANCED AGE OF APPELLANT DOES NOT FORECLOSE COMMISSION OF RAPE. — The defense posits that it was incredulous for accused-appellant to have committed the rapes considering his rather advanced age and that he supposedly raped all three (3) girls on just one occasion. We disagree. He was only fifty-six (56) years old at the time he sexually assaulted his victims. But even if he was older his age would not mean that sexual intercourse was no longer possible as age is not a criterion, taken alone, in determining the sexual interest and capability of middle-aged and older people.

    7. CIVIL LAW; DAMAGES; INDEMNITY TO RAPE VICTIMS RAISED TO P50,000.00. — The indemnity of P40,000.00 for each rape victim is increased to P50,000.00 conformably with existing jurisprudence.


    D E C I S I O N


    BELLOSILLO, J.:


    LORENZO TOPAGUEN alias Apiat was charged with three (3) counts of rape in separate Informations filed with the Regional Trial Court of Bontoc, Mountain Province. After trial he was found guilty as charged and sentenced to reclusion perpetua in each case and to indemnify each victim P40,000.00 for moral damages. 1 The accused now comes to us on appeal.chanrobles law library : red

    The facts: At twelve o’clock noon of 15 December 1990, April Maglanga, 9, and Maura Galasa, 9-, were sitting on the stairs of the house of a certain Mendoza at White Village, Campo Santo, Caluttit, Bontoc, Mountain Province, when Lorenzo Topaguen approached them. He showed them some money and asked them to follow him.

    Fraulein Grail Sawad, intimately called Doris, 9, was on her way home from the Bontoc General Hospital where she fetched water. Her attention was attracted by the presence of April and Maura sitting on the stairs of Mendoza. Doris saw Apiat in the act of removing the pants of April and Maura and saying, "I just want to see if you have panties." Doris then hurried home to bring the water she was carrying and went back to where she saw April and Maura earlier. However they were no longer there. Doris proceeded to the house of Apiat which was just nearby. As she was about to peep through the window the accused suddenly grabbed her and dragged her inside his house. There she saw April and Maura seated on the bed of accused Apiat. Apiat ordered the three (3) girls to lie down and threatened to kill them should they talk or disobey him. He was armed with a knife. Then he took off his pants, undressed his victims and had carnal knowledge of them one after another — first with April, then with Doris, and finally with Maura who resisted at first. However, Apiat whipped Maura until she submitted to his lustful advances. He inserted his penis into her vagina. She felt pain so she begged the accused to stop but the latter continued until his lust was satisfied.

    After his encounter with the three (3) victims, the accused gave Maura P16.50. But before sending them away he told the girls that he enjoyed his sexual intercourse with them.

    The following day Maura confided their grisly experience to her mother Cristina Galasa. Cristina immediately brought April and Maura to the Bontoc General Hospital where they were physically examined by Dr. Elaine Fagsao. The medical findings showed that April’s vulva was erythematous and her hymen fully lacerated. 2 As regards Maura, the medical report likewise revealed that her vulva was erythematous, her hymen ruptured, and her skin on the left elbow and right knee was superficially scraped off. 3

    On 17 December 1990 Cristina also brought Doris to Dr. Fagsao who found that her patient’s vulva was also erythematous with rupture and lacerations of the hymen, and her right chest, back, as well as left flank swollen. She was in pain. 4

    The physical examination conducted by Dr. Elaine Fagsao confirmed that there was penetration of the vaginas of April, Maura and Fraulein by a male sexual organ.

    The accused had a different story to tell. He insisted that he never raped anyone in his life. He alleged that in the afternoon of 15 December 1990 he was asleep in his house as he was on a drinking spree that morning. He claimed that he already started to drink gin and beer earlier that day so that at eleven o’clock he had to be brought home by an acquaintance on a tricycle and went straight to bed and sleep. He was only awakened when he heard voices of children in gay abandon. They were April, Maura and Fraulein. According to him, he heard Maura say, "Ka at nan kinaot mo iska borsana?" 5 At that time he did not understand what the question meant as he was still groggy so he just went back to sleep.

    At five o’clock that afternoon he woke up to defecate and look for a cigarette. He went to Mendoza’s store but when he was about to pay for the cigarettes he discovered that his money was gone. He then realized that he must have been robbed by the children.

    Apiat described his room as being separated by a single wall of 3/8-inch plyboard and any noise originating therefrom could be easily heard by his neighbors. But he claimed that when he went out that afternoon neither the children playing in the yard nor the women playing cards accused him of molesting the three (3) girls. He surmised however that the motive behind the filing of the rape case against him was because the children disliked him as he was a drunkard and that a niece of his wanted him behind bars so she could take possession of his house.

    Alfonso Mendoza, a neighbor of the accused as well as of complainants, attempted to corroborate the version of the defense. According to Mendoza, between eleven in the morning and twelve o’clock noon of 15 December 1990, while he was sitting on the stairs of his house, Apiat passed by. They teased one another. He called Apiat "Commander Pusa." Mendoza claimed that there were many children playing at that time and women playing cards in the backyard of the accused. He also said that he did not know of any complaint for rape against Apiat until 15 December 1990.

    But the trial court was not persuaded. It found the accused guilty as charged. It observed that —

    . . . the clear and positive assertions of the complainants-witnesses to the effect that the accused had sexual intercourse with them in his quarters at noon or thereabouts on December 15, 1990 are on the whole plausible. The individual testimonies of April, Fraulein, and Maura on how the accused inserted his penis into each of the girls’ vaginas, one after the other, jibes substantially on material points. Albeit the descriptions of the alleged victims of the incidents are not very much detailed, such narrations having been made by innocent children is sufficient, taken in its entirety to establish the truth of the matter (PP v. Natan, GR No. 6649, January 25, 1991). The minor inconsistencies or conflicts in the gamut of the complainants’ statements do not detract from the veracity of the principal points. The discrepancies may even be considered as ear-marks of honesty. Given the tender ages of the children, they are expected to contradict themselves under extended, repetitious, and gruelling interrogations (PP v. Decena, G.R. No. 3713, February 9, 1952). 6

    In this appeal, Accused-appellant assails his conviction. He contends that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses should not have been given credence. First, he questions the credibility of April Maglanga because her testimony conflicts with a previously executed sworn statement. Secondly, he challenges the findings in the medical certificate issued by Dr. Elaine Fagsao as being unreliable because of her inexperience. He also claims that the trial court erred in giving weight to the bare and self-serving allegations of private complainants whose testimonies were not corroborated by other credible and competent evidence. Finally, he maintains that it was inherently impossible for him to commit the crime of rape considering his advanced age, more so that he allegedly raped all three (3) victims on a single occasion.

    We cannot sustain the defense. It is elementary that conclusions as to the credibility of witnesses in rape cases lie heavily on the sound judgment of the trial court which is generally accorded great weight and respect, if not conclusive effect. Accordingly, in the appreciation of the evidence the appellate court accords due deference to the trial court’s views on who should be given credence, since the latter is in a better position to assess the credibility of witnesses considering its opportunity to observe their demeanor as well as their deportment and manner of testifying during the trial. Its findings on the credibility of witnesses will be sustained by the appellate court unless the trial court overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied the facts or circumstances of weight and substance which will alter the assailed decision or affect the result of the case. 7 In this instance, none of the excepting circumstances is availing.

    The contention of accused-appellant that there are inconsistencies between the testimony of April Maglanga and her sworn statement with respect to the presence of Fraulein as rape victim is bereft of merit. On direct examination, April testified —

    COURT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q: The answer of the witness is Apiat made sexual intercourse with us, now what do you mean when you said that, with whom among you did Apiat make sexual intercourse?

    A: Me and Maura.

    PROSECUTOR PATNA-AN:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q: You know the family name of Maura?

    A: Yes sir.

    Q: Miss Witness, you said that the accused had sexual intercourse with you, where did this happen, what particular place?

    A: At his house.

    Q At the house of Apiat?

    A: Yes sir.

    Q: When you said Apiat are you referring to the accused in this case?

    A: Yes sir.

    x       x       x


    COURT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q: What is the full name?

    A: Lorenzo Topaguen.

    x       x       x


    PROSECUTOR PATNA-AN:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q: Miss Witness, when he told you that you will (sic) go to the bed, did you like to go to the bed, Miss Witness?

    A: No sir.

    Q: And what did you do when you did not like to go to the bed?

    A: He threatened us.

    Q: What did he say when he threatened you?

    A: He said that if we do (sic) not like he will (sic) kill us.

    Q: Do you know Fraulein Grail Sawad?

    A: Yes.

    Q: Was she there in the house that time?

    A: Yes.

    Q: . . . So how many of you were there in the house with whom Apiat had intercourse?

    ATTY. PADONG:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    We object to the question being suggestive, your honor. Witness never told of any intercourse when it comes to Fraulein Grail Sawad, your honor. I believe, your honor, that the prosecution has been training this witness in such a way that he could suggest . . . vital facts . . . on the witness on suggesting certain facts she never testified to, I object to the manner (by) which the prosecution is trying to obtain and elicit information from the witness, if he continues, your honor, to ask questions which are suggestive to witness.

    PROSECUTOR PATNA-AN:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    We are just trying to get the testimony of the witness to find out if (in) her sworn statement she is telling the truth in this case. She already submitted her sworn statement and we are just trying to follow to bring out the details for the consideration of the court.

    COURT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q: Let us get this clear . . . when you went to the house of Apiat as you have stated, how many of you went?

    A: We first, the two of us.

    Q: And then when you were at the house of Apiat what happened there?

    A: He took our clothes off and had intercourse.

    Q: Who among you did Apiat first strip?

    A: Me.

    Q: And then when Apiat took off your clothes as you have stated what happened next?

    A: He had intercourse with us.

    Q: You mean you, after he stripped you as you stated he had sexual intercourse with you?

    A: Yes.

    Q: What do you mean, inyot, what do you understand by iyot?

    A: He placed his penis inside our vaginas.

    Q: After that did you feel it when he placed his penis inside your vagina?

    A: Yes.

    Q: How did it feel?

    A: Painful.

    Q: After that what happened next?

    A: And then he did it also to Maura.

    Q: Maura?

    A: Galaza.

    Q: Will you describe what Apiat did to Maura as you have seen?

    A: He stripped her and let her lie in bed and had sexual intercourse with her.

    Q: What do you mean, will you describe when he allegedly made sexual intercourse?

    A: He placed it.

    Q: What did he put?

    A: His penis.

    Q: Whose penis?

    A: Apiat

    Q: He placed it where?

    A: To the vagina of Maura.

    Q: After that, what happened?

    A: He gave us P16.50.

    Q: Whom did he give that P16.50, meaning Apiat?

    A: Both of us.

    Q: Whom did he hand the money?

    A: Maura, sir.

    Q: After that, what happened?

    A: He let us out sir.

    Q: So there were only two of you who went to the house of Apiat?

    A: Fraulein was peeping at the window and Apiat went to call for her.

    COURT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Fiscal, proceed.

    PROSECUTOR PATNA-AN:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q: Miss Witness, you said that Apiat went to pull Fraulein when she was peeping through the window.

    ATTY. PADONG:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    We object to that line of questioning your honor, since there was never any mention of peeping at the window.

    PROSECUTOR PATNA-AN:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    The question is, counsel should listen carefully to the answer of the witness so that we will not be delayed in the presentation of our evidence. Witness said that Fraulein was peeping and we are now asking what time did that happen.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

    COURT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q: When all these things that you had testified to transpired, what else happened there in the house of Apiat, if any?

    A: No more.

    Q: So meaning to say that when . . . Apiat allegedly had sexual intercourse with you and Maura there was nobody else there and nothing happened after that?

    A: None sir.

    Q: So meaning they were the only ones . . . Now, where were you when Apiat went to pull Fraulein?

    ATTY. PADONG:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    No basis, we object to the questioning as having no basis.

    COURT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    The objection is well taken because there was no mention of any Fraulein

    PROSECUTOR PATNA-AN:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    There was.

    COURT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Probably the other witnesses can testify to that matter. The understanding of the court is that she was only with Maura.

    PROSECUTOR PATNA-AN:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    In the statement they were three and she mentioned that at first there were two of them and then later came Fraulein peeping through the window and this Apiat went to pull her inside. That is what the witness mentioned at first which was not accurately translated.

    ATTY. PADONG:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    The witness was relating having been molested having had sexual intercourse with Maura and the accused and after that the accused gave them P16.50 and they went out and after that nobody else was there so nothing happened and they went to the stairs where they were sitting and then they went home in the afternoon that was the only narration of the witness so far as counsel has noted, your honor.

    PROSECUTOR PATNA-AN:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    That is why we are saying your honor that the witness has also mentioned a certain Fraulein Sawad who was pulled inside, that is why we are trying to clarify the participation of this Sawad if she was there during the incident.

    COURT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q: You were in the house of the accused Lorenzo Topaguen, with you was Maura Galasa is that correct?

    A: Yes.

    Q: Did you see anybody else also around the house when you were there?

    A: None sir. 8

    It is clear from the foregoing testimony that April confirmed the presence of Fraulein at the scene of the crime although she did not categorically state that Fraulein was also raped. But the alleged contradiction between April’s testimony and her sworn statement may be explained by the fact that during her direct examination April was under unfamiliar surroundings and strange atmosphere and she simply wanted to end her testimony. The unrelenting objections posed by defense counsel, followed by the barrage of questions from the court, caused her to wish her testimony had ended soonest, thus resulting in the anticlimactic termination of her testimony which left out Fraulein as another rape victim.

    April was only nine (9) years old when she went through her traumatic experience. As such, error-free testimonies could not be expected especially when she was recounting details of a terrifying ordeal. 9 Minor lapses should be expected when a person is made to recall minor details of an experience so humiliating and so painful as rape. 10 After all, the credibility of a rape victim is not destroyed by some inconsistencies in her testimony. 11 Moreover, testimonies of child victims are given full weight and credit. 12chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary:red

    Even assuming that on direct examination April failed to testify regarding the presence of Fraulein during the rape such omission is not fatal to the cause of the prosecution. Maura, one of the rape victims, testified thus —

    PROSECUTOR PATNA-AN:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q: We will rephrase. When Fraulein was peeping according to you at the window what did Apiat do, if any?

    A: Then he went out and pulled Fraulein inside and placed her on his bed so we were all three whom he undressed.

    Q: You mentioned Fraulein, what is the complete name of Fraulein?

    A: Doris.

    Q: The other name?

    A: Yes sir.

    Q: What is her family name?

    A: Sawad.

    x       x       x


    PROSECUTOR PATNA-AN:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q: When he had sexual intercourse with April Maglanga whom did he have sexual intercourse next?

    A: Fraulein Sawad and after that I was next. 13

    Accused-appellant also avers that it was error for the court a quo to have relied on the testimony and findings of Dr. Elaine Fagsao as the latter had no experience yet in the physical examination of rape victims. We do not agree. Generally, any person who by study or study or experience has acquired particular knowledge or expertise may be allowed to give in evidence his opinion upon matters of technical knowledge relating to such business or employment. 14 While it may be that the cases of April, Maura and Fraulein were the initial cases on rape handled by Dr. Elaine Fagsao, such fact is not a bar to her testimony being given credence since the prosecution was able at the first instance to qualify her as a medical expert.

    Moreover, it cannot be said that the prosecution relied solely on the hymenal lacerations of the victims as evidence of rape but on the testimonies of complainants themselves which, standing alone and even without medical examination, were sufficient to convict. 15 A medical examination is not indispensable in a prosecution for rape otherwise grave and irreparable injustice would be inflicted upon hapless victims if the crime be committed in remote areas where there may be no doctors to conduct a medical examination on the rape victim. So, too, if the victim would not submit to physical examination since what immediately preoccupies her mind after her ordeal is not necessarily the filing of a complaint but the fear of what the perpetrator will further inflict upon her should she reveal his criminal act, or the embarrassment and humiliation accompanying a public disclosure of the ignominy and dishonor she suffered in the hands of her tormentor. 16

    Accused-appellant further claims that there was no credible or competent evidence to show that April, Maura and Fraulein’s vaginas had been penetrated by a male organ as their hymenal lacerations could have been caused by several factors other than sexual intercourse. Ironically, while the accused questions the qualifications of Dr. Fagsao as medical expert, he nonetheless relies on her findings as to the cause of the injuries. In a case, 17 this Court held —

    Appellant loses sight of the fact that while the prosecution had proved that the laceration was caused by sexual intercourse, contrarily he had failed to establish that the laceration was caused by other factors. It is elementary in our rules on evidence that a party must prove his own affirmative allegations.

    Lastly, the defense posits that it was incredulous for accused-appellant to have committed the rapes considering his rather advanced age and that he supposedly raped all three (3) girls on just one occasion. We disagree. He was only fifty-six (56) years old at the time he sexually assaulted his victims. But even if he was older his age would not mean that sexual intercourse was no longer possible as age is not a criterion, taken alone, in determining the sexual interest and capability of middle-aged and older people. 18

    WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from finding accused-appellant LORENZO TOPAGUEN alias Apiat guilty of three (3) counts of rape and sentencing him to reclusion perpetua in each case is AFFIRMED, with the modification that the indemnity of P40,000.00 for each rape victim is increased to P50,000.00 conformably with existing jurisprudence. Costs against Accused-Appellant.

    SO ORDERED.

    Padilla, Vitug, Kapunan and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. Decision penned by Judge Artemio B. Marrero, RTC-Br. 35, Bontoc, Mountain Province.

    2. Records, Crim. Case No. 814, p. 7.

    3. Id., Crim. Case No. 816, p. 9.

    4. Id., Crim. Case No. 815, p. 7.

    5. Translated into English, "How much did you get from his pocket?"

    6. Rollo, p. 91.

    7. People v. Cura, G.R. No. 112529,10 January 1995, 240 SCRA 234.

    8. TSN, 27 August 1991, pp. 12-13, 15-22.

    9. See Note 7.

    10. People v. Dado, G.R. No. 87775, 1 June 1995, 244 SCRA 655.

    11. People v. Abapo, G.R. No. 108584, 22 December 1994, 239 SCRA 373.

    12. People v. Digno Jr., G.R. No. 108958, 23 November 1995, 250 SCRA 237.

    13. TSN, 29 August 1991, pp. 174-175, 177.

    14. People v. Rubio, G.R. No. 66875, 19 June 1986, 142 SCRA 329.

    15. People v. Delovino, G.R. Nos. 116132-33, 23 August 1995, 247 SCRA 37.

    16. People v. Saldivia, G.R. No. 55346, 13 November 1991, 203 SCRA 461.

    17. People v. Ching, G.R. No. 103800, 19 January 1995, 240 SCRA 267.

    18. People v. Bahuyan, G.R. No. 105842, 24 November 1994, 238 SCRA 330.

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




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