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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
 

   
September-2003 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.M. No. P-03-1705 September 2, 2003 - BALDOMERO DE VERA SOLIMAN, JR. v. PRINCESITO D. SORIANO

  • G.R. No. 138238 September 2, 2003 - EDUARDO BALITAOSAN v. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, CULTURE AND SPORTS

  • G.R. No. 146980 September 2, 2003 - LUZ E. TAGANAS, ET AL. v. MELITON G. EMUSLAN, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 3967 September 3, 2003 - ARTEMIO ENDAYA v. WILFREDO OCA

  • A.C. No. 6084 September 3, 2003 - FELICITAS BERBANO v. WENCESLAO BARCELONA

  • A.M. No. 02-10-614-RTC September 3, 2003 - RE: EDITORIAL OF THE NEGROS CHRONICLE AND OTHER CHARGES OF A CONCERNED CITIZEN AGAINST JUDGE ROGELIO CARAMPATAN

  • A.M. No. OCA-01-6 September 3, 2003 - DOMINADOR V. ASPIRAS v. ESMERALDA ABALOS

  • A.M. No. P-01-1466 September 3, 2003 - EDUARDO F. BAGO v. JOEL FERAREN

  • A.M. No. RTJ-99-1501 September 3, 2003 - ROMEO E. EJERCITO v. ILDEFONSO B. SUERTE

  • G.R. No. 131915 September 3, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDDIE LACHICA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136274 September 3, 2003 - SUNFLOWER NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139400 September 3, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MAURICIO WATIWAT

  • G.R. No. 140652 September 3, 2003 - OLIVERIO LAPERAL v. PABLO V. OCAMPO

  • G.R. No. 144312 September 3, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CHUA TAN LEE

  • G.R. No. 145737 September 3, 2003 - CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION v. EVELYN P. CAYOBIT

  • G.R. No. 149617 September 3, 2003 - MARIANO JOAQUIN S. MACIAS v. MARGIE CORPUS MACIAS

  • G.R. No. 141527 September 4, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RANDY G. BOCALAN

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1788 September 5, 2003 - JORGE F. ABELLA v. FRANCISCO L. CALINGIN

  • A.M. No. MTJ-02-1430 September 8, 2003 - ROMEO B. SENSON v. HERIBERTO M. PANGILINAN

  • G.R. No. 128296 September 8, 2003 - NASIPIT LUMBER CO., ET AL. v. NATIONAL WAGES AND PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152957 September 8, 2003 - FAUSTINO ESQUIVEL v. EDUARDO REYES

  • A.M. No. MTJ-03-1480 September 10, 2003 - TRINIDAD CABAHUG v. JASPER JESSE G. DACANAY

  • G.R. No. 91486 September 10, 2003 - ALBERTO G. PINLAC, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107271 September 10, 2003 - CITY OF CALOOCAN, ET AL. v. MAURO T. ALLARDE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125329 September 10, 2003 - ANN BRIGITT LEONARDO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140762 September 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGER C. ROXAS

  • G.R. No. 148912 September 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TIMOTEO ESCARLOS

  • G.R. No. 151212 September 10, 2003 - TEN FORTY REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT CORP. v. MARINA CRUZ

  • A.M. No. P-02-1562 September 11, 2003 - ROMULO SG. VILLANUEVA v. CHARLIE C. LARCENA

  • A.M. No. RTJ-02-1742 September 11, 2003 - AVELINA MADULA v. RUTH CRUZ SANTOS

  • G.R. Nos. 136286-89 September 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EFREN G. DE TAZA

  • G.R. No. 138366 September 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUBEN CAÑETE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138569 September 11, 2003 - CONSOLIDATED BANK and TRUST CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144785 September 11, 2003 - YOLANDA GARCIA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 145407 September 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEONITO HEREVESE

  • G.R. No. 151081 September 11, 2003 - TOP RATE CONSTRUCTION & GENERAL SERVICES v. PAXTON DEV’T. CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 153126 September 11, 2003 - MONTEREY FOODS CORP., ET AL. v. VICTORINO E. ESERJOSE

  • G.R. No. 153845 September 11, 2003 - EFREN P. SALVAN v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1799 September 12, 2003 - MARIA CRISTINA OLONDRIZ PERTIERRA v. ALBERTO L. LERMA

  • G.R. No. 127206 September 12, 2003 - PERLA PALMA GIL v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 135029 September 12, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NESTOR CARRIAGA

  • G.R. No. 141600 September 12, 2003 - ROBERTO FULGENCIO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144639 September 12, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENNY GO

  • G.R. Nos. 144972-73 September 12, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO JUNAS

  • G.R. No. 133365 September 16, 2003 - PLATINUM TOURS AND TRAVEL, INC. v. JOSE M. PANLILIO

  • G.R. Nos. 147814-15 September 16, 2003 - RAUL ZAPATOS v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 155278 September 16, 2003 - PRUDENCIO J. TANJUAN v. PHIL. POSTAL SAVINGS BANK

  • A.M. No. P-03-1740 September 17, 2003 - FRANKLIN Q. SUSA v. TEOFILA A. PEÑA

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1656 September 17, 2003 - EDGARDO D. BALSAMO v. PEDRO L. SUAN

  • G.R. No. 141120 September 17, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO BUENAVIDEZ

  • G.R. No. 146125 September 17, 2003 - NOVELTY PHIL., INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1347 September 18, 2003 - BENJAMIN TUDTUD v. MAMERTO Y. COLIFLORES

  • A.M. No. P-00-1370 September 18, 2003 - ALEJANDRO PAREDES, ET AL. v. JERRY MARCELINO

  • A.M. No. P-01-1510 September 18, 2003 - MARY ANN PADUGANAN-PEÑARANDA v. GRACE L. SONGCUYA

  • A.M. No. P-03-1691 September 18, 2003 - JOSE S. SAÑEZ v. CARLOS B. RABINA

  • A.M. No. P-03-1703 September 18, 2003 - EDNA FE F. AQUINO v. JOSE R. MARTIN

  • A.M. No. P-03-1724 September 18, 2003 - VICENTE ALVAREZ, Jr. v. JOSE R. MARTIN

  • A.M. No. P-03-1742 September 18, 2003 - SALVADOR L. BERNABE v. WINSTON T. EGUIA

  • G.R. No. 135559 September 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MORENO OCUMEN

  • G.R. No. 135563 September 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BOBBY P. SANCHEZ

  • G.R. No. 144913 September 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF PHIL. v. GERONIMO C. CENIZA

  • G.R. No. 149627 September 18, 2003 - KENNETH O. NADELA v. CITY OF CEBU, ET AL..

  • G.R. No. 152351 September 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JAMIL MALA

  • G.R. No. 152604 September 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEONCIO S.PEDRIGAL

  • G.R. No. 153571 September 18, 2003 - BENGUET MANAGEMENT CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 156259 September 18, 2003 - GROGUN, INC. v. NAPOCOR

  • G.R. No. 157957 September 18, 2003 - CHARITO NAVAROSA v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142974 September 22, 2003 - SPS. SHEM G. ALFARERO and AURELIA TAGALOG v. SPS. PETRA and SANCHO SEVILLA

  • G.R. No. 152529 September 22, 2003 - SPS. HENDRIK and ALICIA S. BIESTERBOS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-02-1450 September 23, 2003 - RAMIRO S. DE JOYA v. AUGUSTUS C. DIAZ

  • A.M. No. MTJ-03-1509 September 23, 2003 - HELEN GAMBOA-MIJARES v. MANUEL Q. LIMSIACO, JR., ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-03-1732 September 23, 2003 - ROSENINA O. UY, ET AL. v. LOLITA R. EDILO

  • G.R. No. 123140 September 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BERNARDO CORTEZANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 135446 September 23, 2003 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. BPI

  • G.R. No. 136729 September 23, 2003 - ASTRO ELECTRONICS CORP., ET AL. v. PHIL. EXPORT AND FOREIGN LOAN GUARANTEE CORP.

  • G.R. Nos. 138716-19 September 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE PILLAS

  • G.R. No. 138725 September 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALBERTO OLIVAR

  • G.R. No. 139360 September 23, 2003 - HLC CONSTRUCTION AND DEV’T. CORP., ET AL. v. EHSHA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140982 September 23, 2003 - MARIO GUTIERREZ v. SINGER SEWING MACHINE COMPANY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141434 September 23, 2003 - ANTONIO LO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143132 September 23, 2003 - VAN MELLE PHILS. ET AL. v. VICTOR M. ENDAYA

  • G.R. No. 144533 September 23, 2003 - JIMMY L. BARNES v. TERESITA C. REYES, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 146786-88 September 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANDRES T. DAÑO

  • G.R. No. 149295 September 23, 2003 - PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK v. GENEROSO DE JESUS

  • G.R. No. 149370 September 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARTIN ALEJO

  • G.R. No. 150905 September 23, 2003 - CITIBANK v. EFREN S. TEODORO

  • G.R. No. 151072 September 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE NATIVIDAD, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 151931 September 23, 2003 - ANAMER SALAZAR v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 152823-24 September 23, 2003 - RUFINA CHUA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152998 September 23, 2003 - SIMON Q. AÑONUEVO, JR., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 156295 September 23, 2003 - MARCELO R. SORIANO v. SPS. RICARDO and ROSALINA GALIT

  • G.R. No. 156983 September 23, 2003 - In the Matter of the Application for the Habeas Corpus of JOSE VICTOR RIGOR y DANAO v. The Superintendent

  • A.M. No. P-00-1418 September 24, 2003 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. CELESTINA B. CORPUZ

  • G.R. No. 124293 September 24, 2003 - JG SUMMIT HOLDINGS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130087 September 24, 2003 - DIANA M. BARCELONA v. CA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136726 September 24, 2003 - PANFILO V. VILLARUEL v. REYNALDO D. FERNANDO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148924 September 24, 2003 - TOYOTA MOTOR PHILS. v. CA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 153781 September 24, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MATEO GREGORIO, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 153885 & 156214 September 24, 2003 - LEPANTO CONSOLIDATED MINING CO. v. WMC RESOURCES INTERNATIONAL PTY. LTD.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1746 September 26, 2003 - ROGER F. BORJA v. ZORAYDA H. SALCEDO

  • G.R. No. 130330 September 26, 2003 - FERNANDO GO v. MICHAEL TAN and LOLITA TAN

  • G.R. No. 141217 September 26, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EUSEBIO DUBAN

  • G.R. No. 144037 September 26, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NOEL P. TUDTUD, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 5480 September 29, 2003 - LEILANI OCAMPO-INGCOCO, ET AL. v. ALEJANDRO G. YRREVERRE, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 137370-71 September 29, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAUL OCO

  • G.R. No. 139185 September 29, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALFONSO RIVERA

  • G.R. No. 148902 September 29, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO ANDRADE

  • G.R. No. 149718 September 29, 2003 - MARIO VALEROSO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 152057 September 29, 2003 - PT & T CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 5854 September 30, 2003 - NORA E. MIWA v. RENE O. MEDINA

  • G.R. No. 127593 September 30, 2003 - CLARA C. DE LA CRUZ, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 136742-43 September 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO Y. ALFARO

  • G.R. Nos. 140514-15 September 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JUNE IGNAS

  • G.R. No. 142751 September 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODRIGO OPELIÑA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143010 September 30, 2003 - MIGUEL DANOFRATA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 144230 September 30, 2003 - ARTURO G. MACKAY v. ADORACION G. ANGELES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148332 September 30, 2003 - NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COMPANY v. MADRIGAL WAN HAI LINES CORP.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 145407   September 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEONITO HEREVESE

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    EN BANC

    [G.R. No. 145407. September 11, 2003.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. LEONITO HEREVESE, Accused-Appellant.

    D E C I S I O N


    QUISUMBING, J.:


    Before us for automatic review is the decision 1 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Davao City, Branch 17, in Criminal Case No. 43,948-99, convicting appellant Leonito Herevese of the crime of rape, sentencing him to death, and to pay private complainant the amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages, and P75,000.00 as civil indemnity.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Appellant was indicted under the following information:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    That on or about September 17, 1999, in the City of Davao, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovementioned accused, with grave abuse of authority and by means of threat and intimidation willfully, unlawfully and feloniously had sexual intercourse with his niece by affinity, CECILLE T. ESTARDO, who is under eighteen (18) years old, against the latter’s will.

    CONTRARY TO LAW. 2

    He pleaded not guilty to the charge upon arraignment, and trial on the merits followed.

    The prosecution presented in evidence the testimonies and documentary exhibits identified by the victim herself, Cecille 3 T. Estardo; her parents, Ambrosio and Patricia Estardo; Dr. Danilo P. Ledesma, the examining Medico-Legal Officer; and PO3 Arnel Masauding of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

    Briefly, the facts in this case summarized by the Solicitor General are as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Private complainant and herein appellant are no strangers to each other. Appellant Leonito Herevese is married to Imelda Estardo, complainant’s aunt. Imelda is the younger sister of Patricia Estardo, complainant’s mother. Since appellant had no permanent job, and his house being only two hundred (200) meters away from complainant’s house, he used to frequent the Estardos’ residence where he ate, watched television, and sometimes played basketball in their basketball court. 4 This good relationship, however, between the appellant and complainant’s family was virtually cut short on September 17, 1999. 5

    At about 10:00 a.m. of that day, complainant was washing dishes at her house in Communal, Tibungco, Davao City. With her were her mother Patricia, her aunt Imelda, and the appellant. 6 As Patricia was then bound for the market to sell dried fish, she requested appellant, who was jobless at that time, to watch over 16-year-old Cecille, who was not feeling well at the time. 7

    After Patricia left, appellant lost no time. He went inside Cecille’s room at the second level of the house. 8 He covered her mouth, "mashed" her nipple, and made her lie down by pressing her shoulder. 9 With Cecille already lying down, he removed his clothes and, while naked, went on top of her and began caressing her private parts. 10 To prevent her from moving and escaping, he held her by the neck and right knee. 11 He then "inserted" his organ into her vagina and succeeded in copulating with her. 12

    After satiating his lust, he threatened Cecille with harm if she told anyone about the rape. 13 Despite her fear, Cecille nonetheless divulged the rape to Imelda, her aunt and appellant’s wife, who in turn reported the matter to Cecille’s parents. 14

    On September 20, 1999, accompanied by her parents, Cecille was medically examined by Dr. Danilo P. Ledesma. 15 The medical examination revealed an old healed deep laceration. 16 The gentleman doctor explained that the absence of spermatozoa was explained by the fact that the vaginal examination was conducted three (3) days after the alleged rape incident. 17

    After the medical examination, Cecille and her parents reported the incident to the police. PO3 Arnel Masauding, of the Tibungco Police Precinct, recorded the complaint of Cecille Estardo in the police blotter and, thereafter, invited appellant for questioning. 18

    The prosecution presented a carbon copy of the birth certificate 19 of the victim to prove that at the time of the rape incident the victim was only sixteen (16) years old, having been born on April 1, 1983. 20 Patricia Estardo, Cecille’s mother, testified as to the authenticity of the birth certificate presented in court. 21

    Evidence for the defense consisted of the testimony of the appellant and that of his eleven-year old daughter, Aireen Herevese.cralaw : red

    The appellant testified that in the morning of the alleged rape incident, he stayed in his house the entire day. 22 His daughter, Aireen, corroborated appellant’s claim that he was in their house on September 17, 1999. 23 Aireen, however, admitted that she could no longer recall what day it was because it was too long ago. 24

    Appellant further testified that the case filed against him was in retaliation for: (a) getting Ambrosio’s job as a mango sprayer for an employer named Mr. Yulo; (b) squealing to Patricia that he saw Ambrosio caress the private parts of one Crisanta Medico the night appellant and Ambrosio stayed in Crisanta’s house in Tagum, for which reason Ambrosio was confronted by his wife; and (c) jealousy, because their mother-in-law always stayed at the Hereveses whenever she visited Patricia and Imelda.25cralaw:red

    In rebuttal, Ambrosio Estardo, Cecille’s father, denied that appellant worked for Mr. Yulo as mango sprayer. 26 He also denied having molested Crisanta Medico. 27 He further testified that he and his wife had never been jealous of appellant over his mother-in-law’s choice of abode whenever she came for a visit. 28

    To rebut appellant’s testimony that he was inside his own house the entire day of September 17, 1999, the prosecution presented Joselito Batulan, the Purok Chairman and cousin of the appellant’s wife as well as the victim’s mother. Batulan testified that on his way to the purok office, he passed by the Estardos and spotted appellant in the Estardos’ house, sitting on a bench. 29 Batulan recalled that he even greeted appellant when he saw him. 30

    On August 16, 2000, the trial court promulgated its decision finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of rape and sentencing him as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    WHEREFORE, finding the evidence of the prosecution more than sufficient to prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of accused of the offense charged, Accused Leonito Herevese, is sentence[d] to suffer the extreme penalty of death, through lethal injection under Rep. Act 8493, in the manner as provided for by law.

    Pursuant to Art. 100 in relation to Art. 104 of the Revised Penal Code, governing civil liability, above-accused, is furthermore ordered, to pay the complainant, Cecille Estardo, the amount of P50,000.00 by way of moral damages and another amount of P75,000.00 by way of civil indemnity in accordance with the case of PP v. Cinen Prodis, 293 SCRA 441 (1998) and PP v. Liberato Mendiola a.k.a. Renato, G.R. No. 129056, promulgated on February 21, 2000; PP v. Bonifacio Torejos y Pañares alias Boning, G.R. No. 132217, promulgated on February 18, 2000; People of the Philippines v. Henry Logarto y Petilla and Ernesto Cordero y Maristela (A) Booster G.R. Nos. 118828 and 119371 promulgated on Feb. 29, 2000.

    As a result of the judgment in this case, the Branch Clerk of Court, is ordered to immediately elevate the entire records of this case together with all transcript of stenographic notes, with the Hon. Supreme Court, Manila, for automatic review of this judgment, pursuant to Art. 47, par. 2 of Rep. Act 7659.

    SO ORDERED. 31

    Before us, appellant ascribes the following errors committed by the trial court, viz:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    I


    THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO THE INCREDULOUS TESTIMONIES OF THE WITNESSES FOR THE PROSECUTION.

    II


    THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT FOR THE CRIME CHARGED HAS BEEN PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    III


    THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN IMPOSING UPON THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT THE SUPREME PENALTY OF DEATH DESPITE THE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE WITH CERTAINTY THE SPECIAL QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCES ALLEGED IN THE INFORMATION. 32

    For resolution, in our view, are two issues: (1) whether the prosecution has proven the guilt of appellant beyond reasonable doubt, and (2) whether the imposition of the death penalty on appellant is proper.

    Pertinent to the first issue, appellant faults the trial court for giving credence to the testimony of the witnesses for the prosecution, particularly private complainant and her parents, despite ill motives on their part.

    For the State, the Office of the Solicitor General agrees with the findings of the trial court as to appellant’s guilt for the rape of Cecille Estardo. 33

    The gravamen of rape is carnal knowledge of a woman against her will. 34 That appellant had an unconsented intercourse with private complainant was clearly shown by the following excerpts of the victim’s testimony:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q: You mean, your uncle went inside your room?

    A: Yes, your Honor.

    Q: And what did he do there?

    A: He had me lie down. He removed my short pants as well as my panty and kissed my face.

    Q: While doing this to you, you did not shout?

    A: No, because he covered my mouth at that time.

    Q: Did you not st[an]d up and get out of the room?

    A: Because he held me during that time.

    Q: Now, you said last time, that your uncle put himself on top of you, right?

    A: Yes, your Honor.

    Q: When he put himself on top of you, what was his appearance? What happened to his clothes?

    A: He was wearing short pants.

    Q: And when he put himself on top of you, he was still wearing his short pants?

    A: He already removed the short pants.

    x       x       x


    Q: He did not removed (sic) your panty?

    A: He removed my panty.

    Q: What did he do when he removed your panty?

    A: He placed himself on top of me.

    Q: Precisely, when he was already on top of you, naked and he removed your panty, what did he do after that?

    A: He mashed my nipple and kissed my face.

    Q: That is all what he did?

    A: Yes, your Honor.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Q: He did not have sexual intercourse with you?

    x       x       x


    A: He had carnal knowledge [of] me.

    COURT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Q: Do you know what is sexual intercourse?

    A: Yes, your Honor.

    Q: When he put himself on top of you, what did your uncle do with his male organ?

    A: He had his organ inserted.

    Q: Was his penis went (sic) inside your vagina?

    A: Yes, your Honor. 35

    She further testified that her fear of appellant prevented her from repelling his sexual assault. 36

    Well established in our jurisprudence is the doctrine that the evaluation by the trial court of credibility of the witness and his or her testimony is accorded the highest respect, considering that the trial judge has observed the demeanor of the witness, unlike appellate courts who pass judgment based on the cold pages of the written records. Unless it is shown that the trial court has ignored or failed to take into account circumstances that are significant, weighty, and could lead to a different result, the trial judge’s findings ought to be given full faith and credence.

    Appellant failed to establish any plausible motive for Cecille to accuse him of rape other than the alleged animosity between him and Cecille’s parents. That the Estardos would subject their daughter to the ordeal of a public trial just to exact vengeance on appellant, allegedly for gaining the favor of his mother-in-law, is too far-fetched to inspire belief. On the contrary, we are convinced that the Estardos filed the complaint to seek justice for the abominable act committed by appellant against the person and honor of their daughter. 37 No rape victim and her family would publicly disclose the rape incident, and thus sully their honor and reputation in the community, unless it is true. This Court has had occasion to rule that the unfounded claim of evil motives on the part of the victim would not destroy the credibility reposed upon her by the trial court because a rape victim’s testimony is entitled to greater weight when she accuses a close relative of having raped her, 38 as in the case of a niece against her uncle. It goes beyond logic and normal human experience for a niece to prosecute her own uncle, risking the ire or reprisal of other relatives and exposing her and her family to a greater shame, if she were not guided by the search for truth and motivated by a quest for justice.

    Complainant’s testimony finds evidentiary support from the medico-legal findings of Dr. Danilo P. Ledesma. 39 Upon the court’s questioning, the doctor testified that Cecille’s vaginal walls were lax possibly due to sexual contact. 40 Further, the hymenal orifice of Cecille’s vagina was open at the time of the examination and easily admitted a tube 2.75 in diameter, 41 again indicative of sexual contact.

    Appellant claims that the testimonies of the victim’s parents are biased. However, given the close kinship of the parties, such bias is but natural and understandable. It does not disqualify parents from being witnesses. The weight and value of their testimonies are reckoned in the light of parental instinct to protect their young. The parents’ testimonies are merely corroborative and not indispensable for appellant’s conviction. The testimony of the victim alone, if credible, is sufficient to convict the accused of the crime. 42 Moreover a disinterested witness, Purok Chairman Joselito Batulan, confirmed the Estardos’ testimonies that appellant was in the locus criminis on September 17, 1999, the day of the alleged offense. 43

    For his part, appellant could only offer, by way of defense, a bare denial of the charge against him as well as an alibi that he was in his own house the entire day of the incident. This defense is inherently weak. Alibi is viewed with disfavor by the courts due to the facility with which it can be concocted. It cannot prevail over the positive identification of the accused by the prosecution witness. Quite telling is the failure of appellant’s own daughter to corroborate his own testimony on this point. On cross-examination, she admitted that she could not remember what day it was because it was too long ago. 44

    In sum, the Court is convinced that the prosecution has established appellant’s guilt for the rape of private complainant beyond reasonable doubt.

    As regards the penalty imposed by the trial court, the OSG submits that the trial court correctly appreciated the special qualifying circumstances of affinity between the parties and minority of the victim. The OSG agrees with the imposition by the trial court on the appellant of the death penalty.

    Considering that the offense of rape was committed by appellant on September 17, 1999, the governing provision of law on the matter is found in Article 266-B of Republic Act No. 8353, which took effect October 22, 1997. Under said Article, the death penalty shall be imposed when the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim. 45 Jurisprudence interpreting said provision is well-settled that if the offender is merely a relative, not a parent, ascendant, step-parent, or guardian or common-law spouse of the mother of the victim, the information must allege that he is a relative by consanguinity or affinity, as the case may be, "within the third civil degree." 46 Thus, it is not enough for the information to merely allege that appellant is the "uncle" of the victim even if the prosecution is able to prove this matter during trial. It is still necessary to allege that such relationship was "within the third civil degree," so that in the absence of said allegation, appellant can only be held liable for simple rape and sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. 47 Thus, in this case, we find that the death penalty was erroneously imposed and should be reduced accordingly.chanrobles virtuallawlibrary

    Concerning damages, this Court notes that the trial court awarded P50,000 as moral damages and P75,000 as civil indemnity. The award of indemnity must be reduced to P50,000 pursuant to prevailing jurisprudence. But, by way of public example and in order to protect young girls from sexual abuse or exploitation by their elders, exemplary damages in the amount of P25,000 should also be imposed against appellant. 48

    WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City, Branch 17, in Criminal Case No. 43,948-99, finding appellant LEONITO HEREVESE guilty of rape beyond reasonable doubt, is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. The penalty imposed on appellant is reduced to reclusion perpetua, and he is ORDERED to pay private complainant, CECILLE ESTARDO, P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages, and P25,000.00 as exemplary damages. Costs de officio.

    SO ORDERED.

    Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Vitug, Panganiban, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio Morales, Callejo, Sr. and Tinga, JJ., concur.

    Puno and Azcuna, JJ., are on official leave.

    Endnotes:



    1. Rollo, pp. 14–40.

    2. Id. at 7.

    3. "Cecil" or "Cecile" in some parts of the record.

    4. TSN, 31 January 2000, pp. 14, 16.

    5. Id. at 13–14; TSN, 31 July 2000, p. 18.

    6. TSN, 27 March 2000, pp. 4–5.

    7. Id. at 6.

    8. Id. at 7.

    9. Ibid.

    10. Id. at 8.

    11. Id. at 7, 9.

    12. Id. at 14.

    13. Id. at 15.

    14. TSN, 31 January 2000, p. 17.

    15. Records, p. 28.

    16. TSN, 31 January 2000, p. 5.

    17. Id. at 5–6.

    18. Id. at 19–23.

    19. Records, p. 29.

    20. Ibid. See also TSN, 31 January 2000, p. 10.

    21. TSN, 31 January 2000, p. 9.

    22. TSN, 23 June 2000, p. 4.

    23. TSN, 31 July 2000, p. 3.

    24. Id. at 10.

    25. TSN, 23 June 2000, p. 3.

    26. TSN, 31 July 2000, p. 17.

    27. Id. at 15–17.

    28. Id. at 15.

    29. Id. at 23–24.

    30. Id. at 24.

    31. Rollo, p. 40.

    32. Id. at 53–54.

    33. Id. at 111–112.

    34. People v. Anggit, G.R. No. 133582, 27 September 2002, p. 11; People v. Portugal, G.R. No. 143030, 12 March 2002, p. 7.

    35. TSN, 27 March 2000, pp. 12–14.

    36. Id. at 15.

    37. See People v. Antolin, G.R. No. 133880, 12 April 2000, 330 SCRA 656, 667.

    38. People v. Carullo, G.R. Nos. 129289-90, 29 July 1999, 311 SCRA 680, 690.

    39. Records, p. 28.

    40. TSN, 31 January 2000, p. 7.

    41. Supra, note 39.

    42. People v. Ferrer, G.R. No. 142662, 14 August 2001, 362 SCRA 778, 788.

    43. TSN, 31 July 2000, pp. 23–24.

    44. Id. at 10.

    45. ART. 266-B. Penalties. — Rape under paragraph 1 of the next preceding article shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.

    x       x       x


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

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

    46. People v. Villarama, G.R. No. 139211, 12 February 2003, p. 21. People v. Banihit, G.R. No. 132045, 25 August 2000, 339 SCRA 86, 96, citing People v. Ferolino, G.R. Nos. 131730-31, 5 April 2000, 329 SCRA 719, 735.

    47. Art. 266-A (1) of the Revised Penal Code as amended by Rep. Act 8353 in relation to Art. 266-B thereof. Thus —

    ART. 266-A. Rape; When and How Committed. — Rape is committed —

    1. By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    a) Through force, threat or intimidation;

    b) When the offended party is deprived of reason or is otherwise unconscious;

    c) By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority;

    d) When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present.

    x       x       x


    ART. 266-B. Penalties. — Rape under paragraph 1 of the next preceding article shall be punished by reclusion perpetua. (Emphasis supplied.)

    48. See People v. Cañete, G.R. No. 142930, 28 March 2003, p. 19; People v. Besmonte, G.R. Nos. 137278-79, 17 February 2003, p. 19; People v. Lopez, G.R. No. 134774, 19 April 2002, p. 10.

    G.R. No. 145407   September 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEONITO HEREVESE


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