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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
 

   
October-2001 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 137841 October 1, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALBERTO CHUA

  • G.R. No. 117512 October 2, 2001 - REBECCA ALA-MARTIN v. HON. JUSTO M. SULTAN

  • G.R. No. 120098 October 2, 2001 - RUBY L. TSAI v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS EVER TEXTILE MILLS

  • G.R. No. 124037 October 2, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. REYNALDO DE GUZMAN

  • G.R. No. 126592 October 2, 2001 - ROMEO G. DAVID v. JUDGE TIRSO D.C. VELASCO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129900 October 2, 2001 - JANE CARAS y SOLITARIO v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 133000 October 2, 2001 - PATRICIA NATCHER petitioner v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS AND THE HEIRS OF GRACIANO DEL ROSARIO-LETICIA DEL ROSARIO

  • G.R. No. 133895 October 2, 2001 - ZENAIDA M. SANTOS v. CALIXTO SANTOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 135522-23 October 2, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AMORSOLO G. TORRES

  • G.R. No. 137777 October 2, 2001 - THE PRESIDENTIAL AD-HOC FACT FINDING COMMITTEE, ET AL. v. THE HON. OMBUDSMAN ANIANO DESIERTO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138322 October 2, 2001 - GRACE J. GARCIA v. REDERICK A. RECIO

  • G.R. No. 138929 October 2, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORENTINO DEL MUNDO

  • G.R. No. 139050 October 2, 2001 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. THE COURT OF TAX APPEALS and AGFHA

  • G.R. No. 142877 October 2, 2001 - JINKIE CHRISTIE A. DE JESUS and JACQUELINE A. DE JESUS v. THE ESTATE OF DECEDENT JUAN GAMBOA DIZON

  • G.R. No. 125081 October 3, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. REMEDIOS PASCUA

  • G.R. No. 128195 October 3, 2001 - ELIZABETH LEE and PACITA YULEE v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. Nos. 128514 & 143856-61 October 3, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. NILO LEONES

  • G.R. Nos. 142602-05 October 3, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BONIFACIO ARIOLA

  • A.M. No. 01-6-192-MCTC October 5, 2001 - Request To Designate Another Judge To Try And Decide Criminal Case No. 3713

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1610 October 5, 2001 - ATTY. EDGAR H. TALINGDAN v. JUDGE HENEDINO P. EDUARTE

  • G.R. No. 124498 October 5, 2001 - EDDIE B. SABANDAL v. HON. FELIPE S. TONGCO Presiding Judge

  • G.R. No. 127441 October 5, 2001 - DOROTEO TOBES @ DOTING v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 130499 October 5, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. PAMFILO QUIMSON @ "NOEL QUIMSON

  • G.R. No. 130962 October 5, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSE REAPOR y SAN JUAN

  • G.R. No. 131040 October 5, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MICHAEL FRAMIO SABAGALA

  • G.R. No. 132044 October 5, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ANTONIO @ Tony EVANGELISTA Y BINAY

  • G.R. No. 132718 October 5, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSE CASTILLON III and JOHN DOE

  • G.R. Nos. 135452-53 October 5, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. IRENEO M. ALCOREZA

  • G.R. No. 139760 October 5, 2001 - FELIZARDO S. OBANDO v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 144189 October 5, 2001 - R & M GENERAL MERCHANDISE v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121948 October 8, 2001 - PERPETUAL HELP CREDIT COOPERATIVE v. BENEDICTO FABURADA

  • G.R. No. 123075 October 8, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PEDRO L. NUELAN

  • G.R. No. 129926 October 8, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NOLE M. ZATE

  • G.R. No. 137599 October 8, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GILBERT BAULITE and LIBERATO BAULITE

  • G.R. No. 138941 October 8, 2001 - AMERICAN HOME ASSURANCE COMPANY v. TANTUCO ENTERPRISES

  • G.R. No. 141297 October 8, 2001 - DOMINGO R. MANALO v. COURT OF APPEALS (Special Twelfth Division) and PAIC SAVINGS AND MORTGAGE BANK

  • A.M. No. 01-9-246-MCTC October 9, 2001 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. JUDGE ALIPIO M. ARAGON

  • G.R. No. 138886 October 9, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. SP01 WILFREDO LEAÑO SP01 FERDINAND MARZAN SPO1 RUBEN B. AGUSTIN SP02 RODEL T. MADERAL * SP02 ALEXANDER S. MICU and SP04 EMILIO M. RAMIREZ

  • G.R. No. 141182 October 9, 2001 - HEIRS OF PEDRO CUETO Represented by ASUNCION CUETO v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS (SPECIAL FORMER FIRST DIVISION) and CONSOLACION COMPUESTO

  • A.M. No. 99-12-03-SC October 10, 2001 - RE: INITIAL REPORTS ON THE GRENADE INCIDENT THAT OCCURRED AT ABOUT 6:40 A.M. ON DECEMBER 6, 1999

  • G.R. No. 129313 October 10, 2001 - SPOUSES MA. CRISTINA D. TIRONA and OSCAR TIRONA v. HON. FLORO P. ALEJO as Presiding Judge

  • G.R. Nos. 135679 & 137375 October 10, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GODOFREDO RUIZ

  • G.R. No. 136258 October 10, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CARLOS FELICIANO

  • A.M. No. 2001-9-SC October 11, 2001 - DOROTEO IGOY v. GILBERT SORIANO

  • A.M. No. RTJ-99-1485 October 11, 2001 - TEOFILO C. SANTOS v. JUDGE FELICIANO V. BUENAVENTURA

  • G.R. No. 80796 & 132885 October 11, 2001 - PROVINCE OF CAMARINES NORTE v. PROVINCE OF QUEZON

  • G.R. No. 118387 October 11, 2001 - MARCELO LEE v. COURT OF APPEALS and HON. LORENZO B. VENERACION and HON. JAIME T. HAMOY

  • G.R. Nos. 123913-14 October 11,2001

    PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PABLO CALLOS

  • G.R. No. 130415 October 11, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ALVIN YRAT y BUGAHOD and RAUL JIMENA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130562 October 11, 2001 - Brigida Conculada v. Hon. Court Of Appeals

  • G.R. No. 112526 October 12, 2001 - STA. ROSA REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 122710 October 12, 2001 - PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS and REMINGTON INDUSTRIAL SALES CORPORATION

  • G.R. Nos. 134769-71 October 12, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERTO BATION

  • G.R. No. 137843 October 12, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDUARDO S. AÑONUEVO

  • G.R. No. 139904 October 12, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CONRADO MERCADO

  • G.R. No. 136470 October 16, 2001 - VENANCIO R. NAVA v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT

  • G.R. No. 140794 October 16, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICARDO T. AGLIDAY

  • A.M. No. P-00-7-323-RTJ October 17, 2001 - RE: RELEASE BY JUDGE MANUEL T. MURO, RTC, BRANCH 54 MANILA, OF AN ACCUSED IN A NON-BAILABLE OFFENSE

  • A.M. No. P-00-1419 October 17, 2001 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. MAGDALENA G. MAGNO

  • A.M. No. RTJ-97-1390 & AM RTJ-98-1411 October 17, 2001 - ATTY. CESAR B. MERIS v. JUDGE CARLOS C. OFILADA

  • G.R. No. 123137 October 17, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. PO2 ALBERT ABRIOL

  • G.R. No. 124513 October 17, 2001 - ROBERTO ERQUIAGA v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 127540 October 17, 2001 - EUGENIO DOMINGO v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 127830 October 17, 2001 - MANOLET LAVIDES v. ERNESTO B. PRE

  • G.R. No. 129069 October 17, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JULIO R. RECTO

  • G.R. No. 129236 October 17, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAYMUNDO G. DIZON

  • G.R. No. 129389 October 17, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. TEODORICO UBALDO

  • G.R. Nos. 132673-75 October 17, 200

    PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINADOR C. GOMEZ

  • G.R. No. 136291 October 17, 2001 - LETICIA M. MAGSINO v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 136869 October 17, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. DENNIS MAZO

  • G.R. No. 141673 October 17, 2001 - MANUEL L. QUEZON UNIVERSITY/AUGUSTO B. SUNICO v. NLRC (Third Division), ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142726 October 17, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. APOLONIO ACOSTA

  • G.R. No. 143190 October 17, 2001 - ANTONIO P. BELICENA v. SECRETARY OF FINANCE

  • G.R. No. 143990 October 17, 2001 - MARIA L. ANIDO v. FILOMENO NEGADO and THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. Nos. 121039-45 October 18, 2001 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MAYOR ANTONIO L. SANCHEZ

  • G.R. No. 132869 October 18, 2001 - GREGORIO DE VERA v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 143486 October 18, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARIO DUMAGAY TUADA

  • G.R. No. 144735 October 18, 2001 - YU BUN GUAN v. ELVIRA ONG

  • G.R. No. 116285 October 19, 2001 - ANTONIO TAN v. COURT OF APPEALS and the .C.C.P

  • G.R. Nos. 121201-02 October 19, 2001 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES plaintiff-appellee v. GIO CONCORCIO @ JUN

  • G.R. No. 129995 October 19, 2001 - THE PROVINCE OF BATAAN v. HON. PEDRO VILLAFUERTE

  • G.R. No. 130730 October 19, 2001 - HERNANDO GENER v. GREGORIO DE LEON and ZENAIDA FAUSTINO

  • G.R. No. 133002 October 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. INTOY GALLO @ PALALAM

  • G.R. No. 137904 October 19, 2001 - PURIFICACION M. VDA. DE URBANO v. GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM (GSIS)

  • A.M. No. 99-12-497-RTC October 23, 2001 - REQUEST OF JUDGE FRANCISCO L. CALINGIN

  • G.R. No. 121267 October 23, 2001 - SMITH KLINE & FRENCH LABORATORIES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124036 October 23, 2001 - FIDELINO GARCIA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124295 October 23, 2001 - JUDGE RENATO A. FUENTES v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN-MINDANAO

  • G.R. No. 125193 October 23, 2001 - MANUEL BARTOCILLO v. COURT OF APPEALS and the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 130846 October 23, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROGELIO PAMILAR y REVOLIO

  • G.R. No. 131841 October 23, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RUBEN VILLARMOSA

  • G.R. No. 132373 October 23, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. TIRSO ARCAY @ "TISOY" and TEODORO CLEMEN @ "BOY

  • G.R. No. 134740 October 23, 2001 - IRENE V. CRUZ v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT

  • G.R. No. 135481 October 23, 2001 - LIGAYA S. SANTOS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136105 October 23, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ANTONIO PAREDES y SAUQUILLO

  • G.R. No. 136337 October 23, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. NELSON CABUNTOG

  • G.R. No. 139114 October 23, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROMAN LACAP Y CAILLES

  • G.R. No. 139274 October 23, 2001 - QUEZON PROVINCE v. HON. ABELIO M. MARTE

  • G.R. No. 139329 October 23, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ERLINDO MAKILANG

  • G.R. Nos. 140934-35 October 23, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. CONDE RAPISORA y ESTRADA

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1634 October 25, 2001 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. SILVERIO Q. CASTILLO

  • G.R. No. 102367 October 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ABUNDIO ALBARIDO and BENEDICTO IGDOY

  • G.R. No. 126359 October 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. CARLITO OLIVA

  • G.R. No. 127465 October 25, 2001 - SPOUSES NICETAS DELOS SANTOS v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 133102 October 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. DINDO AMOGIS y CRINCIA

  • G.R. Nos. 134449-50 October 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. PEDRO HERNANDEZ y PALMA

  • G.R. No. 135813 October 25, 2001 - FERNANDO SANTOS v. Spouses ARSENIO and NIEVES REYES

  • G.R. No. 135822 October 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. PIO DACARA y NACIONAL

  • G.R. Nos. 137494-95 October 25, 2001 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. SOTERO REYES alias "TURING"

  • G.R. Nos. 142741-43 October 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROMEO MANAYAN

  • A.M. No. P-01-1474 October 26, 2001 - ANTONIO C. REYES v. JOSEFINA F. DELIM

  • G.R. No. 120548 October 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSELITO ESCARDA

  • G.R. Nos. 121492 & 124325 October 26, 2001 - BAN HUA UY FLORES v. JOHNNY K.H. UY

  • G.R. No. 132169 October 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. SANICO NUEVO @ "SANY

  • G.R. No. 133741-42 October 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. LINO VILLARUEL

  • G.R. No. 134802 October 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RENATO Z. DIZON

  • G.R. No. 135920 October 26, 2001 - ENCARNACION ET AL. v. SEVERINA REALTY CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 140719 October 26, 2001 - NICOLAS UY DE BARON v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 140912 October 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RODRIGO DIAZ Y SEVILLETA

  • G.R. No. 141540 October 26, 2001 - EDUARDO TAN v. FLORITA MUECO and ROLANDO MUECO

  • G.R. No. 143231 October 26, 2001 - ALBERTO LIM v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 144237 October 26, 2001 - WINSTON C. RACOMA v. MA. ANTONIA B. F. BOMA

  • G.R. Nos. 146319 & 146342 October 26, 2001 - BENJAMIN E. CAWALING v. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS

  • G.R. No. 146593 October 26, 2001 - UNITED COCONUT PLANTERS BANK v. ROBERTO V. ONGPIN

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    G.R. No. 139904   October 12, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CONRADO MERCADO

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    EN BANC

    [G.R. No. 139904. October 12, 2001.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. CONRADO MERCADO, Accused-Appellant.

    D E C I S I O N


    YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:


    This is an automatic review of the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Agoo, La Union, Branch 32, in Criminal Case No. A-3314, convicting accused-appellant of rape, and sentencing him to death and to pay he victim civil indemnity of P50,000.00. 1

    Accused-appellant was indicted of rape in an Information which reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    That on or about the 13th day of August, 1997, in the Municipality of Rosario, Province of La Union, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with lewd design, and being then armed with a knife, by means of violence and intimidation and by tying the hands and feet of the aforenamed Melinda P. Mercado, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of her for five times on the aforesaid date, against her will, to the damage and prejudice of the aforenamed Melinda P. Mercado, a minor then twelve (12) years of age.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Contrary to law. 2

    Accused-appellant entered a plea of "Not Guilty," 3 after which trial proceeded.

    Twelve-year old Melinda Mercado spent the afternoon of August 13, 1997 at the house of her cousin, Sonia Torralba, located in Inabaan Norte, Rosario, La Union. There she played with Sonia, Larry Torralba, and her brother, George. They also cut bamboo. At 6:00 in the evening, Melinda went to the bamboo hut of her uncle, Accused-appellant Conrado Mercado, to return his bolo. The hut was located some ten to twelve meters away. When Melinda got there, Accused-appellant pulled her into the hut, forced her to lie down on the floor and tied her hands and legs. Then accused-appellant gagged Melinda’s mouth with a piece of cloth. Accused-appellant raised Melinda’s dress and removed her panties. He then took off his shorts. While Melinda was lying on the floor, Accused-appellant got hold of a knife and pointed it at Melinda’s breast. He then lay down and had sexual intercourse with Melinda. 4

    Accused-appellant kept Melinda bound and gagged on the floor of the hut for six hours. During that span of time, Accused-appellant had sexual intercourse with Melinda five times. At 12:00 midnight, while accused-appellant was outside the hut, Melinda was able to untie herself. She hurriedly ran out of the hut. Accused-appellant saw her and ran after her. Melinda arrived at her house and immediately told her mother that she had been raped by Accused-Appellant. When her mother saw the latter arriving, she threw a plastic container at him. 5

    The following morning, Melinda’s mother brought her to the house of Barangay Captain Rodrigo Molina to report the matter. The Barangay Captain summoned Councilman Jose Laroya to fetch Accused-Appellant. Later, Melinda was brought to the Rosario District Hospital for medical examination. 6 Then, she was brought to the police station, where she gave her statement regarding the rape. 7 Thereafter, she was brought to the Ilocos Regional Hospital for further medical examination. 8

    Melinda’s cousin, Larry Torralba, also twelve years old, saw accused-appellant pull Melinda into the hut from his house. He and Melinda’s brother, George, approached the hut and peeped through a hole in the wall. He saw accused-appellant force Melinda to lie down on the floor, gag her mouth and tie her hands and feet. After that, he and George ran towards his house and reported what they saw to his brother. 9

    Dr. Rosemarie Catapang, who examined Melinda at the Ilocos Regional Hospital on August 14, 1997, found incomplete healed lacerations on her genitals at 5:00 o’clock and 3:00 o’clock positions. 10

    SPO2 Rodolfo Abella and SPO1 Dominador Gali of the Rosario Police were dispatched to the crime scene on August 15, 1997 to gather physical evidence. 11 They were able to recover from accused-appellant’s hut, the white t-shirt which he tied around Melinda’s mouth, 12 Melinda’s panties, 13 the kitchen knife which accused-appellant pointed at Melinda, 14 and the nylon rope used to tie Melinda’s hands and legs. 15

    On August 15, 1997, Melinda filed a formal complaint for rape against accused-appellant with the Municipal Trial Court of Rosario, La Union. 16 After finding a prima facie case against accused-appellant, Municipal Trial Judge Caroline B. Pañgan forwarded the records of the case to the Provincial Prosecutor of La Union. 17 On September 16, 1997, the Information quoted above was filed with the Regional Trial Court of Agoo, La Union, and docketed as Criminal Case No. A-3314. 18

    The defense relied on the lone testimony of Accused-Appellant. According to him, he was at Linapew, Tubao, La Union in the morning of August 13, 1997, which was three kilometers away, or about twenty minutes walk from his house in Inabaan Norte, Rosario, La Union. He went there to cut weeds at the field of his cousin, Leonardo Laroya. He finished at 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon, after which he drank gin with Laroya. At 7:00 p.m., he walked home. He arrived at his house at past 8:00 p.m. 19

    Accused-appellant denied the accusation of rape against him. When asked if he knew of any reason why complainant would impute such charges on him, Accused-appellant surmised that his brother, Ernesto Mercado, who is Melinda’s father, wanted to take away the land where he was staying. 20

    On February 23, 1999, the trial court rendered the decision subject hereof, the dispositive portion of which reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing considerations, the accused Conrado Mercado is hereby found "GUILTY" of the crime charged and is hereby sentenced to suffer the extreme penalty of Death by lethal injection; to indemnify the victim in the amount of P50,000.00 for the rape and to pay the cost of the proceedings.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    SO ORDERED. 21

    Accused-appellant’s Brief before this Court raises only one assignment of error, to wit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN IMPOSING THE DEATH PENALTY ON THE ACCUSED BECAUSE THE QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCE THAT THE ACCUSED WAS A RELATIVE WITHIN THE THIRD DEGREE OF CONSANGUINITY OF THE VICTIM WAS NOT ALLEGED IN THE INFORMATION. 22

    In other words, Accused-appellant does not question his conviction or the findings of the trial court as to his guilt. He merely prays that the penalty imposed on him be modified to reclusion perpetua, 23 which prayer is joined by the Solicitor General. 24

    Accused-appellant’s position is well-taken. The trial court’s imposition of the death penalty was based on Article 335 (now Article 266-B) of the Revised Penal Code, viz:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. when the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, stepparent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim. . . .

    In quite a number of cases, we have consistently ruled that for death to be imposable under the above provision, both the minority of the victim and her relationship to the offender should be specifically alleged in the Information. It is not enough that the relationship was subsequently proved during the trial. Otherwise, Accused-appellant can only be convicted of simple rape, the penalty for which is reclusion perpetua.25cralaw:red

    The information merely allege the minority of complainant. However, an allegation of her filial relationship with accused-appellant is essential because these two (minority and relationship) constitute a special qualifying circumstance, which, in accordance with the settled rule, must be alleged in the information and proven. Thus, in People v. Garcia (281 SCRA 463 [1997]), it was held that qualifying circumstances, which increase the penalty by degree rather than merely affect the period of penalty as in the case of aggravating circumstances, must be properly pleaded in the information consistent with the constitutional right of the accused to be informed of the charges against him. Consequently, there would be a denial of due process if after being charged with simple rape, he is convicted of its qualified form punishable with death. In these cases, the attendant circumstance qualifying the offense was not completely alleged in the indictments on which he was arraigned. For this reason, the death penalty imposed on accused-appellant in each case should be reduced to reclusion perpetua. 26

    This case may easily be disposed of by a simple modification of the penalty as prayed for by Accused-Appellant. If we do that, however, we would be shirking from our legally mandated duty to review all death penalty cases. 27 This duty has been eloquently summed up by Mr. Justice Puno in this wise:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    We hold, however, that there is more wisdom in our existing jurisprudence mandating our review of all death penalty cases, regardless of the wish of the convict and regardless of the will of the court. Nothing less than life is at stake and any court decision authorizing the State to take life must be as error-free as possible. We must strive to realize this objective, however elusive it may be, and our efforts must not depend on whether appellant has withdrawn his appeal or has escaped. Indeed, an appellant may withdraw his appeal not because he is guilty but because of his wrong perception of the law. Or because he may want to avail of the more speedy remedy of pardon. Or because of his frustration and misapprehension that he will not get justice from the authorities. Nor should the Court be influenced by the seeming repudiation of its jurisdiction when a convict escapes. Ours is not only the power but the duty to review all death penalty cases. No litigant can repudiate this power which is bestowed by the Constitution. The power is more of a sacred duty which we have to discharge to assure the People that the innocence of a citizen is our concern not only in crimes that slight but even more, in crimes that shock the conscience. This concern cannot be diluted. 28

    Thus, we painstakingly sifted through the evidence presented in order to make our own determination as to accused-appellant’s guilt or innocence. We have reached the conclusion that the prosecution sufficiently proved accused-appellant’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

    Notably, the victim, Melinda Mercado, testified in a categorical, straightforward, spontaneous and frank manner, and remained consistent even on cross-examination. Moreover, her testimony was natural and consistent with human nature and the normal course of things. A rape victim who testifies in a categorical, straightforward, spontaneous and frank manner, and remains consistent, is a credible witness. 29

    Furthermore, an eyewitness testified as to accused-appellant’s acts leading to the rape of the victim. It is axiomatic that the lone testimony of the rape victim, if credible, is sufficient to support a conviction. 30 With more reason, her testimony would suffice where it is corroborated by other evidence in its material points. Although, admittedly, Larry Torralba did not witness the actual rape, his testimony constitutes circumstantial proof which, taken together with other evidence, more specifically, the discovery of the articles of clothing and rope inside accused-appellant’s hut, tends to prove the commission of the crime.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    . . . Conviction for rape may be based on circumstantial evidence when the victim cannot testify on the actual commission of the rape as she was rendered unconscious when the act was committed, provided that more than one circumstance is duly proved and that the totality or the unbroken chain of the circumstances proven lead to no other logical conclusion than the appellant’s guilt of the crime charged. . . . 31

    In the face of the victim’s clear and positive account of the commission of the crime, Accused-appellant can only offer the defense of denial and alibi. Unfortunately, the place where accused-appellant allegedly was at the time of the rape was only three kilometers away, and can be traversed by foot within twenty minutes. For the defense of alibi to prosper, Accused-appellant must not only prove his presence at another place at the time of the commission of the offense, but he must also demonstrate that it would be physically impossible for him to be at the locus criminis at the time of the commission of the crime. 32

    Alibi and denial are inherently weak defenses and unless supported by clear and convincing evidence, the same can not prevail over the positive declarations of the victim who, in a simple and straightforward manner, convincingly identified the accused-appellant as the defiler of her chastity. In short, the positive assertions of accused-appellant’s daughter that he raped her is entitled to greater weight. While denial and alibi are legitimate defenses in rape cases, bare assertions to this effect can not overcome the categorical testimony of the victim. 33

    Coming now to the civil damages, the victim should be awarded moral damages in addition to the civil indemnity imposed by the trial court. Moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00 are awarded to victims of simple rape, without need for pleading or proof of the basis thereof. The fact that the complainant in rape has suffered the trauma of mental physical and psychological sufferings which constitute the basis for moral damages are too obvious to still require recital thereof at the trial by the victim since we assume and acknowledge such agony on her part as a gauge of her credibility. 34 In the case at bar, there was proof that Melinda suffered mental anguish, and that she had to stop going to school out of sheer embarrassment and shame for her misfortune. 35

    WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Agoo, La Union, Branch 32, in Criminal Case No. A-3314, finding accused-appellant Conrado Mercado guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape, is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. As modified, Accused-appellant is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and to pay the victim, Melinda Mercado, the additional amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    SO ORDERED.

    Davide., Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza, Quisumbing, Pardo, Buena, De Leon Jr. and Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ., concur.

    Kapunan and Panganiban, JJ., on official leave.

    Endnotes:



    1. Decision dated February 23, 1999; penned by Judge Leo M. Rapatalo.

    2. Record, p. 24.

    3. Ibid, p. 38.

    4. TSN, November 13, 1997, pp. 3-7.

    5. Ibid, pp. 8-12.

    6. TSN, December 10, 1997, pp. 3-7.

    7. Exhs. "B" to "C" .

    8. TSN, December 10, 1997, pp. 8-9.

    9. TSN, February 9, 1998, pp. 5-11.

    10. Exh. "E" ; TSN, February 2, 1998, p. 3.

    11. TSN, January 29, 1998, p. 3.

    12. Exh. "G" .

    13. Exh. "H" .

    14. Exh. "I" .

    15. Exh. "J" .

    16. Docketed as Criminal Case No. 5247; Record, p. 1.

    17. Ibid, pp. 21-22.

    18. Op. Cit., note 2.

    19. TSN, November 23, 1998, pp. 3-5.

    20. Ibid., p. 8.

    21. Rollo, pp. 38-39.

    22. Ibid., p. 58.

    23. Id., p.68.

    24. Id., p. 113.

    25. People v. Mauricio, G.R. No. 133695, February 28, 2001; People v. De Villa, G.R. No. 124639, February 1, 2001; People v. Sarmiento, G.R. No. 134768, October 25, 2000; People v. Gabiana, 338 SCRA 562 [2000]; People v. Flores, 322 SCRA 779 [2000]; People v. Baybado, 335 SCRA 712 [2000]; People v. Mendez, 335 SCRA 147 [2000].

    26. People v. Bernaldez, 322 SCRA 462, 472 [2000].

    27. People v. Del Rosario, Et Al., G.R. Nos. 107297-98, December 19, 2000.

    28. People v. Esporas, Et Al., 260 SCRA 539, 551 [1996].

    29. People v. Oling, G.R. No. 129299, November 15, 2000.

    30. People v. Pecayo, Sr., G.R. No. 132047, December 14, 2000.

    31. People v. Perez, 307 SCRA 276, 290-291 [1999].

    32. People v. Elpedes, G.R. No. 137106-07, January 31, 2001; People v. Francisco, G.R. No. 134566-67, January 22, 2001.

    33. People v. Bawang, G.R. No. 131942, October 5, 2000; People v. Watimar, 338 SCRA 173, 190-191 [2000].

    34. People v. Magdato, G.R. Nos. 134122-27, February 7, 2000; People v. Prades, 293 SCRA 411, 431 (1998).

    35. TSN, January 13, 1998. p. 5.

    G.R. No. 139904   October 12, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CONRADO MERCADO


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