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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
 

   
June-2001 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.M. No. P-00-1446 June 6, 2001 - PATERNO R. PLANTILLA v. RODRIGO G. BALIWAG

  • A.M. No. P-91-642 June 6, 2001 - SOLEDAD LAURO v. EFREN LAURO

  • G.R. No. 92328 June 6, 2001 - DAP MINING ASSO. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 100579 June 6, 2001 - LEANDRO P. GARCIA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113918 June 6, 2001 - MARCELINA G. TRINIDAD, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121272 June 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. REYDERICK LAGO

  • G.R. No. 122353 June 6, 2001 - EVANGELINE DANAO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129534 & 141169 June 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NESTOR MACANDOG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138949 June 6, 2001 - UNION BANK OF THE PHIL. v. SEC

  • G.R. No. 138971 June 6, 2001 - PEZA v. RUMOLDO R FERNANDEZ

  • G.R. No. 139034 June 6, 2001 - DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139323 June 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CARLO ELLASOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140128 June 6, 2001 - ARNOLD P. MOLLANEDA v. LEONIDA C. UMACOB

  • G.R. No. 140277 June 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. GUILLERMO BALDAGO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141529 June 6, 2001 - FRANCISCO YAP, JR. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142888 June 6, 2001 - EVELIO P. BARATA v. BENJAMIN ABALOS JR.

  • G.R. No. 143561 June 6, 2001 - JONATHAN D. CARIAGA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110335 June 18, 2001 - IGNACIO GONZALES, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1615 June 19, 2001 - WINNIE BAJET v. PEDRO M. AREOLA

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1633 June 19, 2001 - ANTONIO and ELSA FORTUNA v. MA. NIMFA PENACO-SITACA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99433 June 19, 2001 - PROJECT BUILDERS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114944 June 19, 2001 - MANUEL C. ROXAS, ET AL. v. CONRADO M. VASQUEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120701 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JONATHAN CRISANTO

  • G.R. No. 123916 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LYNTON ASUNCION

  • G.R. No. 130605 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIX UGANAP, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132160 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO DE LEON, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132223 June 19, 2001 - BONIFACIA P. VANCIL v. HELEN G. BELMES

  • G.R. No. 134895 June 19, 2001 - STA. LUCIA REALTY and DEV’T., ET AL. v. LETICIA CABRIGAS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137164 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALBERT NUBLA

  • G.R. No. 137752 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERT AYUNGON

  • G.R. Nos. 138298 & 138982 June 19, 2001 - RAOUL B. DEL MAR v. PAGCOR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139313 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORANTE LEAL

  • G.R. No. 140690 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NAZAR U. CHAVEZ

  • G.R. No. 141441 June 19, 2001 - JOSE SUAN v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. 00-10-230-MTCC June 20, 2001 - RE: JULIAN C. OCAMPO III AND RENATO C. SAN JUAN

  • A.M. No. 00-11-521-RTC June 20, 2001 - RE: AWOL OF MS. LILIAN B. BANTOG

  • A.M. No. P-99-1346 June 20, 2001 - RESTITUTO L. CASTRO v. CARLOS BAGUE

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1606 June 20, 2001 - PATRIA MAQUIRAN v. LILIA G. LOPEZ

  • G.R. No. 84831 June 20, 2001 - PACENCIO ABEJARON v. FELIX NABASA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109666 June 20, 2001 - ROGERIO R. OLAGUER, ET AL. v. EUFEMIO DOMINGO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113564 June 20, 2001 - INOCENCIA YU DINO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115851 June 20, 2001 - LA JOLLA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127129 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLANDO CABAYA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128617 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CESAR BACUS

  • G.R. Nos. 129292-93 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARLENGEN DEGALA

  • G.R. No. 130524 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUDY MADIA

  • G.R. No. 131036 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DONATO DEL ROSARIO

  • G.R. Nos. 135976-80 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CLAUDIO GALENO

  • G.R. No. 138629 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAMON CAMACHO

  • G.R. No. 139430 June 20, 2001 - EDI STAFF BUILDERS INTERNATIONAL v. FERMINA D. MAGSINO

  • G.R. Nos. 139445-46 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODRIGO GONZALES

  • G.R. No. 142304 June 20, 2001 - CITY OF MANILA v. OSCAR SERRANO, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1342 June 21, 2001 - BISHOP CRISOSTOMO A. YALUNG, ET AL. v. ENRIQUE M. PASCUA

  • G.R. No. 108558 June 21, 2001 - ANDREA TABUSO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109197 June 21, 2001 - JAYME C. UY, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 111580 & 114802 June 21, 2001 - SHANGRI-LA INTERNATIONAL HOTEL MNGT. LTD. ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 116200-02 June 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ELEUTERIO TAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 131131 June 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ABELARDO SALONGA

  • G.R. No. 134138 June 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDMUNDO BRIONES AYTALIN

  • G.R. Nos. 135552-53 June 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ABEL ABACIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139542 June 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. INOCENCIO GONZALEZ

  • G.R. No. 140206 June 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO MATYAONG

  • G.R. No. 142023 June 21, 2001 - SANNY B. GINETE v. SUNRISE MANNING AGENCY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 103068 June 22, 2001 - MEAT PACKING CORP. OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-96-1110 June 25, 2001 - MANUEL N. MAMBA, ET AL. v. DOMINADOR L. GARCIA

  • G.R. No. 116710 June 25, 2001 - DANILO D. MENDOZA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117857 June 25, 2001 - LUIS S. WONG v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128126 June 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAFAEL M. CATAPANG

  • G.R. No. 132051 June 25, 2001 - TALA REALTY SERVICES CORP. v. BANCO FILIPINO SAVINGS AND MORTGAGE BANK

  • G.R. No. 134068 June 25, 2001 - UNION BANK OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136221 June 25, 2001 - EQUATORIAL REALTY DEVELOPMENT v. MAYFAIR THEATER

  • G.R. No. 136382 June 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FIDEL ALBORIDA

  • G.R. Nos. 138439-41 June 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO PANGANIBAN

  • G.R. No. 141141 June 25, 2001 - PAGCOR v. CARLOS P. RILLORAZA

  • G.R. No. 141801 June 25, 2001 - SOLOMON ALVAREZ v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 143428 June 25, 2001 - SANDOVAL SHIPYARDS, ET AL. v. PRISCO PEPITO, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. 99-11-423-RTC June 26, 2001 - RE: Report on the Judicial Audit Conducted in the Regional Trial Court

  • A.M. No. RTJ-99-1461 June 26, 2001 - RICARDO DELA CRUZ v. HERMINIA M. PASCUA

  • A.M. No. RTJ-99-1486 June 26, 2001 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. ISMAEL SANCHEZ

  • G.R. Nos. 110547-50 & 114526-667 June 26, 2001 - JOSE SAYSON v. SANDIGANBAYAN ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120859 June 26, 2001 - METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY v. FRANCISCO Y. WONG

  • G.R. No. 123542 June 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGELIO BULOS

  • G.R. Nos. 132848-49 June 26, 2001 - PHILROCK v. CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY ARBITRATION COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 133990 June 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. HECTOR MARIANO

  • G.R. No. 134764 June 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. BENJAMIN FABIA

  • G.R. Nos. 139626-27 June 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINGO DELA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 143204 June 26, 2001 - HYATT TAXI SERVICES INC. v. RUSTOM M. CATINOY

  • G.R. Nos. 147589 & 147613 June 26, 2001 - ANG BAGONG BAYANI-OFW LABOR PARTY, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130661 June 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO I. TORRES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 135882 June 27, 2001 - LOURDES T. MARQUEZ v. ANIANO A. DESIERTO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140001 June 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDUARDO BUENAFLOR

  • A.C. No. 3910 June 28, 2001 - JOSE S. DUCAT v. ARSENIO C. VILLALON, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 4073 June 28, 2001 - ARACELI SIPIN-NABOR v. BENJAMIN BATERINA

  • A.M. No. P-01-1480 June 28, 2001.

    AMADO S. CAGUIOA v. CRISANTO FLORA

  • A.M. No. P-99-1343 June 28, 2001 - ORLANDO T. MENDOZA v. ROSBERT M. TUQUERO, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1576 June 28, 2001 - SIMPLICIO ALIB v. EMMA C. LABAYEN

  • G.R. No. 105364 June 28, 2001 - PHIL. VETERANS BANK EMPLOYEES UNION-N.U.B.E., ET AL. v. BENJAMIN VEGA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110813 June 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ERNESTO PARDUA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110914 June 28, 2001 - ALFREDO CANUTO; JR., ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112453-56 June 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GERARDO LATUPAN

  • G.R. Nos. 112563 & 110647 June 28, 2001 - HEIRS OF KISHINCHAND HIRANAND DIALDAS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120630 June 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARCELO PALERMO

  • G.R. No. 131954 June 28, 2001 - ASELA B. MONTECILLO, ET AL v. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION

  • G.R. Nos. 132026-27 June 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO ABENDAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132362 June 28, 2001 - PIO BARRETTO REALTY DEV’T. CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132837 June 28, 2001 - JO CINEMA CORP., ET AL. v. LOLITA C. ABELLANA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 133605 June 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENJAMIN BARRIAS

  • G.R. No. 135846 June 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. NOEL ORTEGA

  • G.R. No. 138270 June 28, 2001 - SEA POWER SHIPPING ENTERPRISES INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142314 June 28, 2001 - MC ENGINEERING, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143723 June 28, 2001 - LITONJUA GROUP OF CO.’s., ET AL. v. TERESITA VIGAN

  • G.R. No. 144113 June 28, 2001 - EDWEL MAANDAL v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL

  • G.R. No. 144942 June 28, 2001 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. LA SUERTE CIGAR.

  • G.R. No. 146062 June 28, 2001 - SANTIAGO ESLABAN v. CLARITA VDA. DE ONORIO

  • A.M. No. 00 4-166-RTC June 29, 2001 - Re: Report on the Judicial Audit

  • A.M. No. 01-4-03-SC June 29, 2001 - HERNANDO PEREZ, ET AL. v. JOSEPH E. ESTRADA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-00-1380 June 29, 2001 - GLORIA O. DINO v. FRANCISCO DUMUKMAT

  • G.R. No. 110480 June 29, 2001 - BANGKO SILANGAN DEVELOPMENT BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111860 June 29, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JESUS CLEDORO

  • G.R. No. 116092 June 29, 2001 - SUSANA VDA. DE COCHINGYAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118251 June 29, 2001 - METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY v. REGINO T. VERIDIANO II, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121597 June 29, 2001 - PHIL. NATIONAL BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125944 June 29, 2001 - DANILO SOLANGON, ET AL. v. JOSE AVELINO SALAZAR

  • G.R. No. 126396 June 29, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. FELIXBERTO LAO-AS

  • G.R. No. 128705 June 29, 2001 - CONRADO AGUILAR v. COMMERCIAL SAVINGS BANK, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129782 June 29, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BALWINDER SINGH, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 131968 June 29, 2001 - ERNESTO PENGSON, ET AL v. MIGUEL OCAMPO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132059 June 29, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WENEFREDO DIMSON ASOY

  • G.R. No. 138598 June 29, 2001 - ASSET PRIVATIZATION TRUST v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144542 June 29, 2001 - FRANCISCO DELA PEÑA, ET AL v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. Nos. 139445-46   June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODRIGO GONZALES

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    EN BANC

    [G.R. Nos. 139445-46. June 20, 2001.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. RODRIGO GONZALES y OPENA, Accused-Appellant.

    D E C I S I O N


    MENDOZA, J.:


    These cases are here on automatic review of the decision 1 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 170, Malabon, Metro Manila, finding accused-appellant Rodrigo Gonzales guilty of two counts of rape and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of death for each count, to pay complainant the amounts of P150,000.00 as civil indemnity, P100,000.00 as moral damages, and P70,000.00 as exemplary damages, and to acknowledge and support the child born of complainant Remelie Tria.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Except for the dates of the commission of the rapes, the two informations against accused-appellant alike read:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    That on or about [date], 2 in the Municipality of Malabon, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being the stepfather of Remelie Tria y Simeon, a minor of 16 years old, with lewd design, and exercising ascendancy over said Remelie Tria y Simeon and by means of force, violence and intimidation, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously did, then and there, have sexual intercourse with Remelie Tria y Simeon against her will and without her consent. 3

    Accused-appellant pleaded not guilty to the charges. Thereupon the two cases were consolidated and jointly tried.

    The prosecution presented evidence showing the following:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Complainant Remelie Tria is the daughter of Teresita Simeon, while accused-appellant Rodrigo Gonzales is Teresita Simeon’s common-law husband. On January 7, 1995, at around 2:00 in the morning, while complainant Remelie Tria was alone sleeping on the second floor of their house in Sitio 6, Barangay Catmon, Malabon, she felt someone touching her private parts. When she opened her eyes to find out who it was, she saw accused-appellant; her mother’s common-law husband. Remelie sat up and threatened to report accused-appellant to her mother if he did not stop molesting her. This angered accused-appellant who boxed complainant and continued making advances on her. Complainant resisted but she was pinned down on the bed and accused-appellant succeeded in ravishing her. Because of the threat that accused-appellant would kill her and her mother if she reported the matter to anyone, complainant kept the incident to herself. 4

    More than two years later, on November 1, 1997, at around 1:30 in the morning, while complainant was sleeping inside her room, she was awakened by the sound of an object falling on the floor. When she tried to see what it was, she found that accused-appellant was in the room. The latter held her hands, undressed her, and forced himself on her. Accused-appellant warned Remelie not to report the incident to anyone or he would leave her mother and her siblings with no one to support them. 5

    Later, Remelie decided to tell her mother of accused-appellant’s sexual molestation. As a result, her mother drove accused-appellant from their house and reported the matter to their barangay officials. Somehow, however, Accused-appellant was able to return to their household. 6

    On November 25, 1997, complainant watched on television about Bantay Bata, the program for abused children of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. She went to the DSWD and made a complaint against Accused-Appellant. A DSWD social worker took her to the police station where complainant executed a complaint-affidavit against Accused-Appellant. A few days later, members of the Malabon police arrested Accused-Appellant. 7

    On November 27, 1997, Dr. Bernadette Madrid, head of the Child Protection Unit of the Philippine General Hospital, examined complainant. Her findings, contained in a report, are as follows:chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    FINDINGS

    Well nourished, well developed, ambulant, cooperative,

    Head & Neck, Chest, Lungs, Abdomen: Normal

    Extremities: Normal

    GENITAL EXAMINATION:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Hymen:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Estrogenized with a hymenal opening of 12 mm. Healed laceration at 5 o’clock position and deep notch at 8 o’clock position.

    IMPRESSION:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Findings of the genital examination is consistent with penetration. 8

    Dr. Madrid reiterated in court her findings. She stated, however, that she could not tell when the genital lacerations were inflicted. 9

    On August 6, 1998, or about nine months after the second rape, complainant gave birth to a baby boy. 10

    Accused-appellant denied having raped complainant. He claimed that in the early morning of January 7, 1995 and November 1, 1997, he was at the dumpsite in Catmon, Malabon scavenging for garbage with several individuals whose names he allegedly did not know. 11 He admitted, however, that the Catmon garbage dumpsite is only about a kilometer away from his house and that the distance could be traversed in 15 minutes by foot. Accused-appellant claimed that complainant could possibly have harbored resentment against him because he reported her to her mother for going to the house of her boyfriend for which reason complainant’s mother scolded her. 12

    On July 16, 1999, the trial court rendered its decision finding accused-appellant guilty of two counts of rape. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. In Criminal Case No. 18899-MN, the Court finds accused Rodrigo Gonzales y Opena guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of RAPE penalized under Art. 335 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by R.A. 7659 and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of DEATH; to pay Remelie Tria the amount of P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages and P35,000.00 as exemplary damages plus the cost of the suit;

    2. In Criminal Case No. 18900-MN, the Court finds accused Rodrigo Gonzalez y Opena guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of RAPE (Republic Act No. 8353) and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of DEATH; to pay Remelie Tria the amount of P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages and P35,000.00 as exemplary damages plus the cost of the suit.

    Further, Accused Rodrigo Gonzales y Opena is hereby ordered to acknowledge the filiation of [the] victim’s offspring and to give support, the amount of which shall be determined after due notice and hearing. 13

    Hence, this appeal. Accused-appellant contends that —

    THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN IMPOSING THE DEATH PENALTY SINCE THE CORRECT RELATIONSHIP OF THE ACCUSED WITH THE COMPLAINANT WAS NOT PROPERLY ALLEGED IN THE INFORMATIONS. 14

    In his reply-brief, Accused-appellant alleged another ground for the modification of the penalty imposed on him, to wit: that the prosecution has allegedly failed to sufficiently prove that complainant was less than 18 years of age at the time of the commission of the alleged rapes. 15

    Considering that these cases are before the Court on automatic review, we will first consider whether the evidence is sufficient to support the trial court’s finding that accused-appellant is guilty of the two counts of rape. Only if we find the evidence to be sufficient will we consider accused-appellant’s contention relative to the imposition on him of the death penalty for each count of rape.

    In reviewing convictions for rape, this Court has been guided by the following principles: (1) that an accusation for rape is easy to make, difficult to prove, and even more difficult to disprove; (2) that in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime, where only two persons are usually involved, the testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with utmost caution; and (3) that the evidence for the prosecution must stand on its own merits and cannot draw strength from the weakness of the evidence of the defense. 16

    The Court has carefully gone over the records of these cases and finds nothing to justify a reversal of the trial court’s findings. The prosecution was able to prove all the elements of rape committed through force or intimidation. In a clear, straightforward, and unaffected manner, complainant Remelie narrated in the trial court how her surrogate father twice succeeded in raping her through force and intimidation, let alone because of his moral ascendancy over her. Her testimony was corroborated by the results of the medical examination conducted by Dr. Madrid.

    Accused-appellant relies solely for his defense on denial and alibi. However, alibi cannot prevail over complainant’s positive identification of Accused-Appellant. 17 Moreover, for alibi to prosper, it must be shown that it was impossible for the accused to have been present at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission. 18 In these cases, Accused-appellant himself admitted that the garbage dumpsite where he allegedly was at the time of the commission of the rapes is only a kilometer away from his house and it would take only 15 minutes to negotiate the distance by foot. Thus, even if he was in that place at the time material to these cases, it was not impossible for him to go home and commit the crimes, and then be back at the dumpsite. It is noteworthy that although accused-appellant said he was with other people at the dumpsite, he did not present any of them to support his alibi.

    As for accused-appellant’s contention that the charges brought against him were trumped up, the trial court correctly gave no weight to the same. As the trial court noted:chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    The Court does not believe that Remelie would fabricate a story of defloration against her own stepfather, allow her private parts to be examined, (Exh. "A" and "A-3"), and make public her painful and humiliating experiences which are better kept in secret or forgotten just to get even with the accused for telling her mother about her coming to the house of her boyfriend . . . [were it not for] her desire to obtain justice for the grievous wrongs committed against her. 19

    Coming now to the penalty to be imposed on accused-appellant, we find that the trial court erred in sentencing him to suffer the death penalty. Under 11 of Republic Act No. 7659, the death penalty is imposed in rape cases where "the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is . . . the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim." Being in the nature of special qualifying circumstances, the minority of the victim and her relationship to the offender must be both alleged and proved with certainty. 20

    In the cases at bar, although the informations against accused-appellant alleged that he is the "stepfather of Remedios Tria y Simeon, a minor of 16 years old," the evidence shows that complainant’s mother, Teresita Simeon, was not married to Accused-Appellant. 21 Accused-appellant confirmed this when he stated that complainant Remelie is Teresita Simeon’s child by another man. 22

    In People v. Manggasin, 23 the informations alleged that the accused was the victim’s stepfather but the evidence showed that he was in fact merely the common-law spouse of the complainant’s mother. This Court held that the death penalty could not be imposed since the accused was not in fact the complainant’s stepfather. Indeed, a stepfather has been defined as the husband of one’s mother by virtue of a marriage subsequent to that of which the person spoken of is the offspring. 24 For the foregoing reason, the death penalty imposed on accused-appellant should be reduced to reclusion perpetua.

    Neither is there sufficient evidence to prove complainant’s minority. Although the presentation of the birth certificate or other corroborative evidence is not indispensable to prove the victim’s age for purposes of imposing the death penalty, this becomes necessary when the complainant’s age at the time of the commission of the rape is alleged to be between 15 to 17 years old. At these ages, it is not easy to determine by mere physical appearance the age of complainant. 25 Thus, in People v. Javier, 26 where the prosecution presented only the testimony of the victim to prove her minority (also allegedly 16 years old), we said:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    In the case at hand, the complaints stated that the rape victim is 16 years old . . . However, it is significant to note that the prosecution failed to present the birth certificate of the complainant. Although the victim’s age was not contested by the defense, proof of age of the victim is particularly necessary in this case considering that the victim’s age which was then 16 years old is just two years less than the majority age of 18. In this age of modernism, there is hardly any difference between a 16-year old girl and an 18-year old one insofar as physical features and attributes are concerned. A physically developed 16-year old lass may be mistaken for an 18-year old young woman, in the same manner that a frail and young looking 18-year old lady may pass as a 16-year old minor. Thus, it is in this context that independent proof of the actual age of a rape victim becomes vital and essential so as to remove an iota of doubt that the victim is indeed under 18 years of age as to fall under the qualifying circumstances enumerated in Republic Act No. 7659. In a criminal prosecution especially of cases 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 by the prosecution in order for said penalty to be upheld. 27

    Indeed, not only did the prosecution in these cases fail to present other evidence than complainant’s testimony to prove her age, the uniform allegation in the two informations that she was 16 years old cannot be given credence considering that the dates of commission of the two rapes (January 7, 1995 and November 1, 1997) are two years apart. If, as complainant said, she was born on June 4, 1982, 28 she would be 12 years old on January 7, 1995 and 15 years old on November 1, 1997. In either case, she would not be 16 years old as alleged in the informations. The variance between complainant’s testimony and the allegations in the informations puts in serious doubt the actual age of complainant at the time she was raped.

    Accordingly, in each of the two cases under review, the death penalty should be reduced to reclusion perpetua.

    The trial court correctly ordered accused-appellant to acknowledge and support complainant’s child. A person guilty of rape, seduction, or abduction shall be sentenced to indemnify the offended woman, acknowledge the offspring, unless the law should prevent him from so doing, and in every case support the offspring. 29 No impediment exists to prevent the Court from requiring accused-appellant to acknowledge complainant’s child as his natural child since he is not married to complainant’s mother. Considering that the complainant gave birth within a period 9.3 months (the average period of pregnancy) 30 from the date complainant was raped on November 1, 1997, Accused-appellant should be ordered to pay support to complainant’s child.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    In view of the reduction of the penalties for both counts of rape, the amount of P75,000.00 in each case as civil indemnity should correspondingly be reduced to P50,000.00 each, in line with current case law. 31 On the other hand, the award of P50,000.00 as moral damages for each count of rape is affirmed. 32 The trial court also correctly awarded exemplary damages to complainant since, as held in People v. Villanueva, 33 the rape of the child of accused-appellant’s common-law spouse is attended by the generic aggravating circumstance of abuse of confidence. This is applicable in these cases, there being the relation of trust and confidence between complainant and accused-appellant who, as in Villanueva, was regarded by the latter as her father. 34 In accordance with the ruling in that case, the amount of the award should be reduced to P20,00.00. 35

    WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 170, Malabon, Metro Manila is MODIFIED and accused-appellant is sentenced in each of the criminal cases herein to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay to complainant the amount of P50,000.00 as indemnity and the further sum of P20,000.00 exemplary damages. In all other respects, the appealed decision is AFFIRMED.

    SO ORDERED.

    Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, Ynares-Santiago, De Leon Jr. and Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. Per Judge Benjamin T. Antonio.

    2. January 7, 1995 for Criminal Case No. 18899; November 1, 1997 for Criminal Case No. 18990.

    3. Rollo, pp. 4 and 5.

    4. TSN, pp. 4, 7-8, 10-11, Jan. 12, 1999.

    5. Id., pp. 4-11.

    6. Id., pp. 5, 8.

    7. Id., pp. 5-7.

    8. Exh. A; Records, p. 36 (emphasis added).

    9. TSN, p. 2, July 20, 1998.

    10. TSN, p. 7, Jan. 12, 1999.

    11. TSN, pp. 2-3, May 18, 1999.

    12. Id., pp. 3-5.

    13. Rollo, pp. 16-17.

    14. Appellant’s Brief, p. 1; Rollo, p. 35.

    15. Reply Brief, pp. 1-6; id., 82-87.

    16. People v. Sanchez, 250 SCRA 14 (1995); People v. Monfero, 308 SCRA 396 (1999).

    17. People v. Alipayo, 324 SCRA 447 (2000); People v. Suzano, 310 SCRA 728 (1999).

    18. People v. Tolentino, G.R. No. 139834, Feb. 14, 2001; People v. Torio, 318 SCRA 315 (1999); People v. Padilla, 301 SCRA 265 (1999).

    19. Decision, p. 6; Rollo, p. 15.

    20. People v. Maglente, 306 SCRA 546 (1999); People v. Acala, 307 SCRA 330 (1999); People v. Panique, 316 SCRA 757 (1999).

    21. TSN (Remelie Tria), p. 3, Jan. 12, 1999.

    22. TSN (Rodrigo Gonzales), pp. 3-4, May 18, 1999.

    23. 306 SCRA 228 (1999).

    24. People v. Tolentino, supra; People v. Torio, supra; People v. Villaranza, G.R. No. 131848-50, Sept. 5, 2000.

    25. People v. Tipay, G.R. No. 134272, March 28, 2000.

    26. 311 SCRA 122 (1999); See also People v. Tipan, G.R. No. 131472, March 28, 2001 and People v. Cula, G.R. No. 133146, March 28, 2001.

    27. People v. Javier, supra at 140-141.

    28. TSN (Remelie Tria), p. 5, Jan. 12, 1999.

    29. REVISED PENAL CODE, Art. 345.

    30. People v. Malapo, 294 SCRA 579 (1998).

    31. E.g, People v. Baniguid, G.R. No. 137714, Sept. 5, 2000.

    32. People v. Dichoson, G.R. No. 118986-99, Feb. 19, 2001; People v. Arlee, 323 SCRA 201 (2000).

    33. G.R. No. 135330, Aug. 31, 2000.

    34. TSN, p. 4, May 18, 1999.

    35. The presence of aggravating circumstance of abuse of confidence would have no effect on the penalty imposable on accused-appellant since reclusion perpetua is an indivisible penalty (Revised Penal Code, Art. 63).

    G.R. Nos. 139445-46   June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODRIGO GONZALES


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