G.R. No. 133194-95 and 141539 : January 29, 2004 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, v. ROMEO VALDEZ, Appellant.
[G.R. No. 133194-95 and 141539 : January
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, v. ROMEO VALDEZ, Appellant.
D E C I S I O N
Appellant Romeo Valdez, who was indicted for three counts of rape
of his daughter in Criminal Case Nos. 7176, 7177, and 7178 before the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) of Masbate, Masbate and was convicted in the first and third,
comes to this Court on appeal under Sec. 3 (c),
Rule 122 of the Revised Rules
The three separate informations charged appellant with violating
Article 3351 of the Revised Penal Code (prior to its amendment by Republic Act Nos. 76592 and 83533 )
as follows, quoted verbatim:
IN CRIMINAL CASE NO. 7176
That on or about April 2, 1993 in the afternoon thereof at No. 17,
Mabini St., Municipality of Masbate, Philippines, within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, by means of force and
intimidation, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have
carnal knowledge with ROMELA M. VALDEZ, his 17 year old daughter against the
latters will and without her consent.
CONTRARY TO LAW.4
IN CRIMINAL CASE NO. 7177
That on or about the 3rd week of October 1993 (sic) in the morning
thereof at No. 17, Mabini St., Municipality of Masbate, Province of Masbate,
Philippines, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, by means of chemical or drug used and/or mixed in the soft drink of
ROMELA M. VALDEZ, his 17 year old daughter, which rendered the latter
unconscious, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously did lie and succeeded in
having carnal knowledge of said ROMELA M. VALDEZ without the latters consent
and against her will.
CONTRARY TO LAW.5
IN CRIMINAL CASE NO.
That on or about the second week of November 1992 in the afternoon
thereof at No. 17, Mabini St., Municipality of Masbate, Province of Masbate,
Philippines, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused while armed with a handgun entered the room of ROMELA M.
VALDEZ his 17 year old daughter, who was then and there alone and by means of
force and intimidation, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously did lie and
succeeded in having carnal knowledge of said ROMELA M. VALDEZ without the
latters consent and against her will.
CONTRARY TO LAW.6 (Underscoring supplied)
From the evidence of the prosecution, the following have been
Romela, who was born out of wedlock to appellant and Nora
Mercaida at Masbate, Masbate on December 29, 1975, was still a small child when
she was brought to Manila to live with her grandparents and aunts. It was only
in the summer of 1990, when she was vacationing in Masbate, that her mother
took her to meet her father, appellant Romeo Valdez, at his residential
apartment at Nursery Street, Masbate, Masbate.7
After that meeting in 1990, Romela lived with her mother and
appellant, first at a house at Ibingay, Masbate, Masbate, and later in a unit
of his apartment building at Mabini Street, Masbate, Masbate.
While in Masbate, Romela enrolled at the Masbate National
Comprehensive High School and after graduation she took summer classes at the
Sometime in the third week of October 1992,8 while her mother was in Manila,9 Romela and her friends Cathy Alix and Rhodora Villanueva were at appellants
apartment where they took some snacks and were served Coca-cola by appellant.10
After Romelas friends left at around 6:00 p.m., appellant
advised Romela to consume the remaining softdrinks so that it would not go to
waste. Romela obliged. About five to ten minutes following her consumption of
the remaining softdrinks, Romela, became dizzy and fell asleep.11
As she woke up at 2:00 a.m. of the following morning, Romela
found herself naked, with appellant sleeping on the floor. Noticing that her
bed sheets were soiled with fresh blood and feeling pain in her breast and
private organ, she immediately repaired to the bathroom and took a bath. On
stepping out of the bathroom, she saw appellant already awake, prompting her to
run outside and head towards the rooftop of the apartment.12
Appellant, with gun in hand, followed Romela and demanded to know
[T]o whom are you going to report?, warning her that he was a powerful man
who knew the officials of Masbate province including a certain colonel who was
also staying at his apartment building.13
Berating her father for what he had done, Romela descended from
the rooftop ahead of appellant, locked herself in the bedroom and cried
helplessly. Pounding on the door, appellant warned her not to report the
incident to anyone or he would kill her and the person to whom she would
Sometime in the second week of the following month, or in
November, 1992, at about 3:00 p.m., appellant forced Romela out from the
bathroom of their apartment unit and pulled her onto the bed. While Romela
struggled, appellant boxed her thighs and forced her to spread her legs. With a
revolver, appellant asked her, as she did, to masturbate him while he kissed
her and fingered her private organ, causing her pain. He then laid on top of
her, forced his penis into her vagina and began pushing and pulling, causing
her pain. The whole process took almost 30 minutes.15
Helpless at gunpoint and with appellants hand covering her
mouth, Romela was unable to shout for help. Afterwards, she was again warned,
under pain of death, not to report the incident to anyone. Believing that
appellant would really kill her, Romela once more kept silent and did not
report the incident to the police.16
In the afternoon of April 2, 1993, appellant again subjected his daughter
to his bestial desires. Seeing that Romela was about to leave the apartment,
appellant took his gun from under the bed, pointed it at her and told her to
undress. When she did not obey him, appellant pulled Romela to the bed and
removed her dress himself. He then began masturbating, after which, at gun
point, he told Romela to hold his testicles and stroke his penis. Appellant
then proceeded to kiss Romelas private parts and suck her breasts. Although
she struggled against him, appellant laid himself on top of her. He then
inserted his penis inside her vagina, and went on pushing and pulling.17
In pain, crushed under appellants weight and aware that he was
still holding a gun, Romela was unable to defend herself against appellant.
Helpless, fearful and ashamed of her sexual violation at the hands of her own
father, she again did not report the incident to the police.18
On April 4, 1992, after her mother arrived in Masbate, Masbate,
Romela finally found a way out of her sorry plight. Taking advantage of her
mother and appellant not being on good terms and his having gone to his
paramour in Lomboy, she obtained permission from her mother to go to Manila.
Borrowing money from her friends, she left for Manila on a boat that same night
and proceeded to the residence of Juana Mercaida, her maternal grandmother, in
Even then, Romela, fearing for her grandparents health, did not
tell them of what had happened to her in Masbate.
One day, after she was almost hit by car, Romelas cousin,
Rosemarie Mercaida, confronted her about her persistent depression and
absent-mindedness. It was then that she confided to her cousin that she had not
had her menstruation for four months and was afraid that she might be pregnant.
Pressed by Rosemarie to divulge who could have impregnated her,
Romela finally revealed that she had been raped by appellant.
Accompanied by her grandmother, Romela proceeded to the offices
of the NBI in Manila where she was examined by Dr. Maximo L. Reyes and
The result of the examination of Romela by Dr. Reyes, as stated
in Living Case No. MG-93-589,21 reads as follows:
GENERAL PHYSICAL EXAMINATION:
Height: 162.0cm. >Weight:
Normally developed, fairly nourished, conscious, coherent,
cooperative, ambulatory subject.
Breasts, developed, hemispherical, doughy, Areolae, light brown,
each measuring 5.0 cm. in diameter. Nipples, light brown, protruding each
measuring 1.3 cm. in diameter.
GENITAL EXAMINATION: No extragenital physical injuries noted.
Pubic hair, fully grown, abundant. Labia majora and minora, gaping. Fourchette, lax. Vestibular mucosa,
pinkish. Hymen, tall, thin, intact and distensible. Hymenal orifice, annular,
admits a tube 2.5 cm. in diameter with moderate resistance. Vaginal walls, lax.
1. No evident sign of extragenital physical injuries noted
on the subject at the time of examination.
2. Hymen, intact but
distensible and its orifice wide (2.5 cm. in diameter) as to allow complete
penetration by an average-sized, adult, Filipino male organ in full erection
without producing any hymenal laceration.22 (Emphasis supplied)
Per Dr. Reyes, Romelas vagina had been
penetrated by a man several times.23
Upon taking the stand, appellant, firmly denying the charges
against him,24 claimed that Romela was only induced to file the complaints against him by her
mother, Nora Mercaida, her grandmother, Juana Mercaida, and her uncles, Noli
and Nestor Mercaida25 in
view of (1) his refusal to marry Nora whom he referred to as a some-time live
in partner and with whom he had four daughters, the eldest being Romela;26 (2) his refusal to give Nora a share in his apartment at Mabini Street, Masbate
which, by his claim, has a market value of P1,450,000.00;27 (3) his refusal, on various occasions, to provide money to Nora;28 (4) his discontinuation of monetary support for his three other children by
Nora, who were residing with their grandparents in Manila;29 and (5) his having told Romela that he might realize P5,000,000.00 as his
share in the possible sale of Matabao Island.30
Appellant further claimed that the account of Romela, who on a
previous occasion pleaded for him to marry her mother,31 was belied by the findings contained in the medico-legal certificate issued by
the NBI, particularly those which noted that there were no extragenital
injuries on Romelas body and that her hymen was still intact.32
Appellant argued that, even granting that Romelas hymen was
distensible up to 2.5 to 2.7 centimeters, it would have still been lacerated if
the alleged rapes had indeed taken place since his private part measures 4
centimeters in diameter, more or less, when expanded; and that if Romela had
truly experienced bleeding after the first rape, there should have been [a]
scar or injury in her private part.33
Appellant points to a number of alleged inconsistencies and
improbabilities which impeach Romelas testimony. Thus he avers that her claims
that she was raped sometime during the third week of October 1992, and then
again around the second week of November 1992, and finally on April 2, 1993 are
unbelievable given her continued stay with him in his apartment until April 2,
1993,34 whereas she could have fled at anytime since she was completely free to
come and go as she pleased and, in fact, went unescorted to the Miss Foundation
pageant of the Masbate Colleges.35
Appellant likewise avers that Romela never said anything about
the alleged molestations to her mother although the latter stayed with them in
the same apartment for three weeks in December, 1992 and again from February to
April 1993; and that neither did her mother raise any concerns about her
daughters well-being even after the latter had already left for Manila,36 as in fact, it was not until June 17, 1993, more than two months after she
arrived at Manila from Masbate that Romela filed a complaint with the NBI.37
Appellant furthermore maintains that Romela could not have been
the victim of multiple rapes since throughout the period from October 1992
until she left for Manila on April 2, 1993, she was living normally with no
mental disturbance whatsoever,38 in
support of which appellant submitted a number of pictures39 showing her attending social functions from December 1992 to February 1993,
and a Certification from the College Registrar,40 a
Certificate of Scholarship,41 and
various examination booklets42 from
the Masbate Colleges showing that she obtained fair ratings in her subjects for
school year 1992-1993.
Finally, appellant assails Romelas capacity for truth, honesty
and integrity by submitting her Permanent Record43 for
first and second year high school from Roosevelt College, Cainta, Rizal which
falsely indicates that her father is a certain Raymundo Valdez, a
veterinarian, and that she was born in Antipolo, Rizal. Appellant theorizes
that she provided false information in her high school record because her mind
was poisoned by her grandparents.44
The appealed Decision45 of
December 15, 1997, disposed as follows:
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered as follows:
(1) ACQUITTING the
accused in Criminal Case No. 7177 on grounds of reasonable doubt;
(2) Finding the
accused GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt in Criminal Case Nos. 7176 and 7178 of
the crime of Rape and hereby sentences the accused Romeo Valdez y Labnotin to
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua in each of the two (2) counts;
(3) Ordering the
accused to indemnify the victim Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos as exemplary
damage in both cases and One Hundred Thousand (P100,000.00) Pesos in each of
the two (2) counts for moral damages.
His Motion for Reconsideration47 of
the trial courts Decision having been denied by Order of February 30, 1998,48 appellant filed the instant appeal. In his Brief,49 he proffers the following:
LONE ASSIGNED ERROR
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING
THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF RAPE
DESPITE THE INSUFFICIENCY OF THE PROSECUTION EVIDENCE.50
Citing People v. Subido,51 appellant questions the alleged failure of the trial court to apply the
following well-settled principles in reviewing rape cases: (1) an accusation
for rape can be made with facility; it is difficult to prove but more difficult
for the person accused, though innocent, to disprove it; (2) in view of the
intrinsic nature of the crime of rape where only two persons are usually
involved, the testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with extreme
caution; and (3) the evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own
merits and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence
for the defense.52
For conviction to be had in the crime of rape, the following
elements must be proven beyond reasonable doubt: (1) that the accused had
carnal knowledge of the victim; and (2) that said act was accomplished (a)
through the use of force or intimidation; or (b) when the victim is deprived of
reason or otherwise unconscious; or (c) when the victim is twelve years of age,
or is demented.53 It is settled that the foregoing elements may be established by the sole
testimony of the victim, provided it is credible, natural, convincing, and
consistent with human nature and the normal course of things.54
Furthermore, in rape through force or intimidation the force
employed by the guilty party need not be irresistible. It is only necessary
that such force is sufficient to consummate the purpose for which it was
inflicted. Similarly, intimidation should be evaluated in light of the victims
perception at the time of the commission of the crime. It is enough that it
produced the fear in the mind of the victim that if she did not yield to the
bestial demands of her ravisher, some evil would happen to her at that moment
or even thereafter. Hence, what is important is that because of force and
intimidation, the victim was made to submit to the will of appellant.55
In the first and third cases, as the following testimony of
Romela clearly establishes, she was raped by the accused, through force and
intimidation, on the second week of November 1992 and on April 2, 1993:
QYou also charged your
father that on the second week of November, 1992 in the afternoon thereof you
were again assaulted and abused by your father in that apartment where you
live. Is that correct?
QAnd how did your father
did that to you on the second week of November, 1992?
AI was inside the
bathroom of our house when he went inside the bathroom and took me outside
and forced me to lie down but I kept on struggling. He would even boxed my
thigh if I will not spread my legs. He forced himself on me. He was also
masturbating. He was kissing my private organ. He was forcing himself on me.
It was very painful. He was even pointing his gun to me and told me not to
shout. He was covering my mouth.
QAt about what time more
or less did this thing happen to you on that second week of November, 1992?
A3:00 oclock un the
QWas your father Romeo
Valdez able to force himself on you?
AYes, sir. It penetrated
because it is painful.
Q And for how long this sexual abuse on you on that particular date
lasted where your father was on top of you?
A About 30 minutes.
Q You mean that whole incident from the start, from the bathroom up
to the time that you were brought to the bed?
A Yes, sir. While I was still in the bathroom he kept pulling me
to the bed and he was carrying that gun.
QWhy did you not shout? It
was 3:00 oclock in the afternoon and there were residents nearby?
AI cannot shout because
he was pointing his gun to me.
x x x
QAfter that incident when
your father was through with you, what did you do?
ANothing, sir because he
kept on telling me not to report it to anybody because he will kill me and the
person to whom I will report the matter and I believed that he will really kill
QWhy do you believe your
father? Is your father a bad man?
ABecause he is a powerful
man and everybody in Mabini is afraid of him.
x x x
Q Again you charged your father of another rape and this allegedly
happened on April 2, 1993 on the same apartment where you are residing with
your father. Will you please tell the court what happened on April 2, 1993?
AThat day I was inside
the apartment and about to leave. When he saw me he again get his gun under the
bed and poked it on me and told me to undress. When I did not undress myself he
pulled me to the bed. The gun was placed on top of the bed. I was struggling
hard because he was pulling my dress. He was again forcing himself on me. He
was masturbating and even told me to hold his testicles but I would not look at
it. If he is not satisfied he would kissed my private organ and breast whenever
my legs are spread.
Q But did you hold his bayag or testicles?
A Yes, sir and he even told me to do it faster while he was
holding the gun.
Q Let us clarify that thing. What did you hold, is it the testicles
A His testicles to have it masturbate.
Q You are referring to the penis not testicles?
A His penis.
Q And on that date on April
2, 1993 was your father able again to sexually abuse you?
A Yes, sir because I felt
pain and he was able to lie on top of me.
Q While he was on top of you
that date after you were told to masturbate him, did he again make that push
and pull motion?
A Yes, sir.
Q And this push and pull motion of your father while he was lying
on top of you how long did it last more or less?
A I cannot estimate but it lasted long.
Q What did you feel while
your father was on top of you making that push and pull motion?
A It is painful and I have
difficulty in breathing because he is big and I kept on struggling.
Q Can you say with certainty
that the penis was inside your private organ when he made that push and pull
A Yes, sir.
Q Why did you not kick him
while he was on top of you?
A I cannot because he was
very big and strong and he kept on pointing that gun to me.56 (Emphasis supplied)
While conceding that the crime of rape is consummated upon the
slightest penetration of the labia of the womans pudendum,57 appellant contends that Romelas claim that there was repeated painful
penetration of her vagina is belied by the findings contained in the
medico-legal certificate issued by the NBI, particularly that which found her
hymen still intact and no extragenital injuries on her body.
Appellants contention does not lie. On cross-examination, Dr.
Reyes patiently explained that, medically, the laceration or non-laceration of
a womans hymen is not, by itself, determinative of whether she has experienced
sexual intercourse. Citing the books of Solis and Taylor, Dr. Reyes explained
that the laceration of the hymen may be caused by other factors such as
horseback riding, instrumentation as a result of a disease, riding on a
bicycle, or passage of dark-clotted blood during menstruation. Conversely, the
doctor declared that it is also possible for a woman with a distensible or
elastic hymen to have engaged in sexual intercourse several times without
laceration of her hymen.58
Dr. Reyess medical opinion is not new. In People v. Llanto,
59 this Court had occasion to take note of instances when penetration was
shown to have occurred even though the victims hymen remained intact:
That Cristy was allegedly raped by the accused in many instances
other than on November 12, 1999 and her hymen remained intact do not lend
support to the cause of the accused. In People v. Caballes [199 SCRA 152
(1991) ], the fourteen year-old victim was raped nine times by her father in a
span of four months.
x x x A
medical examination upon the victim showed that the victims hymen was thick
and very elastic. It had no lacerations and remained intact. The examining
physician presented by the prosecution opined that it is possible for a
womans hymen to remain intact even after having been raped if it is lax, thick
and elastic. x x x
x x x
In People v. Santos, [343 SCRA 503 (2000) ], the accused was charged
of raping the helpless eight-year old complainant. He assailed the credibility
of the victim as according to him it was impossible for her to have been raped
up to twenty times, but her hymen remained intact. The Court found no merit in
the accuseds contention, viz:
We find no merit in the contention of accused-appellant. Dr.
Cenido thoroughly discussed these intriguing hymenal qualities, but the
accused-appellant would, understandably so, pretend to find the whole concept
as obscure. He said that, as a general rule, a hymen that is intact would negate
prior sexual intercourse but that the rule was not absolute as penetration
can happen with or without rupturing the hymen. He confirmed that there
were women whose hymens remained intact even after giving birth owing to the
fact that their hymens must be very elastic. x x x
x x x
Applying these rulings to the case at bar, it is possible for
the victims hymen to remain intact despite repeated sexual intercourse. Dr.
Soliman testified that during the examination on Cristy, a tube 2.5 centimeters
in diameter was inserted into her hymenal opening without any injury. Her
hymenal opening is wide at 2.5 centimeters in diameter so as to allow complete
penetration by an average-sized adult Filipino male organ in full erection,
about 2.5 centimeters, without producing genital/hymenal injury. Likewise,
whether the accuseds penis fully or only partially penetrated the victims
genitalia, it is still possible that her hymen would remain intact because it
was thick and distensible or elastic. We stated in People v. Aguinaldo [316 SCRA 819 (1999) ] that the strength and
dilability of the hymen varies from one woman to another such that it may be so
elastic as to stretch without laceration during intercourse, or on the other
hand, may be so resistant that its surgical removal is necessary before
intercourse can ensue. In some cases even, the hymen is still intact even after
the woman has given birth [citing People v. Almaden, 305 SCRA 157
In view of Dr. Solimans medical examination and opinion and the
foregoing rulings of this Court that support the finding that a thick and
elastic hymen can remain intact despite several instances of sexual intercourse,
we find that the trial court was not in error in not admitting the expert
testimonies of the defense witnesses who did not examine Cristy.60 (Emphasis and underscoring
More importantly, Dr. Reyes testified that from his medical
examination of Romela, particularly his finding that her vaginal walls were lax
and the rugosities (the vaginal lining) were shallow, she had indeed
experienced sexual intercourse several times.61 Again on cross-examination, he stated:
When the hymen is still intact, can you
possibly determine whether there was intercourse or not? Yes or no?
AThat, the doctor will not
be able to answer categorically. It needs a lot of explanation, Your Honor.
QI will reform my question
for your satisfaction. You examined the subject, now, you found her hymen to
be intact. Can you determine from the appearance of the hymen which you found
to be intact whether she has intercourse or not?
AYes, not with the
hymen alone but I will have to go on with other procedures because [as] what
I have stated, an intact hymen does not necessarily mean that she did not have
any sexual intercourse. She could have multiple sexual intercourse with an
QMy question is very
simple. You are making it complicated with your answer. I will repeat my
question. You examine[d] the subject. Now, you found the hymen of the subject
to be intact. With the hymen alone, can you determine whether that subject has
intercourse or not?
QWhat do you mean by no?
AThat is why I am telling
you. It is not only the hymen that is
accounted for in case of virginity or sexual act. You have to determine first
whether that particular hymen will admit only the examining finger of a
physician. If ever it admits or barely admits the examining finger of a
physician and the rugosities is obliterate and the vaginal walls is tight then
the doctor can presume that this is a virgin hymen untouched by human hand. But of the doctor finds out during the
examination that the hymen is intact and yet it accommodates a tube of 2.5 with
a vaginal wall that is lax and it admits a tube of 2.5 cm. then, with the
rugosities that is shallow, then, it only means one thing, that she had
multiple intercourses despite of the fact that the hymen is still intact.
x x x62 (Emphasis and underscoring
And further on re-direct and re-cross:
ON RE-DIRECT EXAMINATION BY PROS. CASTILLO
Q You said the hymen did not break. Now, is it possible doctor
that even if the hymen did not break if there was penetration the woman would
A Yes, sir.
QOf your own knowledge
doctor, what part of the organ would bleed?
A Vaginal walls and the rugosities would bleed because bleeding
will not necessarily come from the hymen.
QIf the hymen is broken
doctor, will the woman bleed?
That is all, Your Honor.
ON RE-CROSS EXAMINATION BY ATTY. MANLAPAZ
Q In the re-direct examination you admitted Dr. Reyes that the
bleeding could have resulted from the injury of the vaginal walls?
QYou did not mention this
in your medical certificate that there were injuries in the vaginal walls.
x x x
from the Court.
Q Why did you not mention that in the medical certificate that
there were injuries in the vaginal walls?
A It was included, sir. Vaginal wall is laxed.63 (Emphasis supplied)
In sum, Dr. Reyess medical findings and expert opinions are
fully supportive of Romelas testimony as to her sexual violation at the hands
In contrast, appellant did not present an expert witness of his
own to rebut Dr. Reyess testimony. Neither did he present any proof of his
claim that the diameter of his sexual organ exceeded the Filipino average of
2.5 to 2.7 centimeters in full erection.
Where a rape victims testimony is corroborated by the physical
findings of penetration, there is sufficient basis for concluding that sexual
intercourse did take place.64
Appellant zeroes in on Romelas failure to immediately flee the
Mabini Street apartment and report her harrowing experience to her mother and
the police as giving rise to reasonable doubt as to the truth of her testimony.
Contrary to appellants simplistic reasoning, there can be no
hard and fast rule with respect to a victims reaction to the physical and
psychological trauma attendant to the crime of rape. In People v. Silvano,
65 cited by the Solicitor General and involving similar factual
circumstances, this Court stated:
Appellant further contends that her
daughters acts after the alleged rape, such as going to school the next
day, leaving their home after more than two weeks had lapsed since the incident
and reporting the same only when confronted by her mother are inconsistent with
the behavior of a rape victim. The contention is without merit. The behavior
and reaction of every person cannot be predicted with accuracy. It is a time-honored
precept that different people react differently to a given situation or type
of situation and there is no standard form of behavioral response when one is
confronted with a strange or startling or frightful experience. Not every
rape victim can be expected to act conformably to the usual expectations of
every one. Some may shout; some may faint; and some may be shocked into
insensibility; while others may openly welcome the intrusion.
The failure of the victim to immediately reveal his fathers incestuous
acts is not indicative of fabricated charges. It should be noted that:
Many victims of rape never
complain or file criminal charges against their rapists. They prefer to bear
the ignominy and pain rather than reveal their shame to the world or risk
rapists making good their threats to kill or hurt their victims. [citing People
v. Silvafan, 151 SCRA 617, 629 (1987); and People v. Cabreras, 314
Phil. 250 (1995),
244 SCRA 362]
The victim herein is in no case different.
Her shame and genuine fear of what appellant might do to her or her brothers
had temporarily sealed her lips. This is why she left their home, the scene of
her defilement where her appellant father resides and went to her maternal
grandmothers place. Only when confronted why she would not come back to their
house did she reveal the avalanche of shame and degradation that had befallen
her at that tender age of 16 years from her very own father. It is not
uncommon for a young girl at such age to be intimidated into silence and
conceal for sometime the violation of her honor, even by the mildest threat
against her life. Silence is not an odd behavior of rape victims who do not
always immediately go to the rooftop and denounce their assailants. This
natural reticence or aversion of the victims to reveal the humiliation
attaching to the crime is a stigma they will have to bear indefinitely
thereafter. The fear of these young victims of reprisals upon them or
their families easily cows them into submission and silence. Worse, in
incestuous rape, that fear which compels non-revelation is further reinforced
by the moral ascendancy of the rapist over his ravished relative. As the father
of the victim, appellant whom she called Daddy had assumed parental authority
over her during her formative years. Undisputedly, he exerts strong moral
influence over complainant.66 (Emphasis supplied)
In Romelas case, her testimony with respect to the first and
third case clearly conveys, in no uncertain terms, not only the fear and ordeal
she was subjected to during each rape, but the abiding feelings of
hopelessness, anxiety, shame and disgrace which continued to distress her
QWhy did you not go out
and report this incident to the police?
ABecause I know
nothing will happened and wherever I go he is always there and follows me
besides I was also afraid and ashamed.
QYou said you were
ashamed. Why were you ashamed?
AI was ashamed because
everybody in that place know us and they will tell me that it is my own father
who made that dastardly act to me.67 (Emphasis supplied)
Indeed, it was only the fear that
appellants repeated acts of lechery had resulted in her pregnancy, coupled
with the persistent questioning by her cousin, that finally drove Romela to
disclose the truth to her grandmother and ultimately the NBI.
Under these circumstances, the delay in the filing of the rape
complaints against the appellant is readily understandable, and the trial court
cannot be faulted for considering Romelas testimony as credible, convincing
and consistent with the normal course of things.
Significantly, appellant failed to substantiate his claim that
the charges against him were motivated by the desire of Romelas mother, Nora
Mercaida, to extort money from him. Nowhere does the record show that Romela,
or any of her maternal relatives for that matter, demanded money or property in
exchange for the withdrawal of the charges against appellant. In the words of
the trial court:
Accused unabash[ed]ly claims that the mother, Nora Mercaida
motivates and/or manipulates the mind of Romela to file this instant case
because of anger coupled with the fact that he will be receiving as inheritance
a cool sum of Five Million (P5,000,000.00) Pesos. This contention is utterly
baseless. If at all, his testimony is self-serving. It is inconceivable that a
mother would draw her daughter, into a rape scam with all its attendant scandal
and humiliation just because of a supposed dispute over an admittedly inchoate
inheritance. x x x68
And the trial court correctly gave little weight to appellants
assertions that the alleged falsities contained in Romelas permanent high
school record proves that she is inherently untrustworthy. As it correctly
pointed out, these pertain to [c]ollateral or minor matters which do not at
all touch upon the commission of the crime itself nor affect Romelas
All told, this Court finds and affirms that appellants guilt was
indeed proven with moral certainty.
Under Art. 335 of the Revised Penal Code, which was in force at
the dates of the commission of the felonies, the penalty for rape with the use
of a deadly weapon was reclusion perpetua to death. However, the
penalty of death may not be imposed since the aggravating circumstance of
Romelas relationship to appellant was not proven beyond reasonable doubt.
While during the trial Romela testified that appellant is her father and
appellant, in turn, repeatedly admitted that Romela is his daughter, this Court
has held that, because of the serious and irrevocable nature of the death
penalty, the bare testimony of the complainant and the admission of the accused
are not sufficient for its imposition; the relationship between the
victim and the accused must be sufficiently established by competent and independent
Moreover, conformably with prevailing jurisprudence, the damages
awarded by the trial court must be modified such that Romela is entitled to
civil indemnity of P50,000.00 for each count of rape and moral damages of
P50,000.00 also for each count.
WHEREFORE, the judgment on review is hereby AFFIRMED with
MODIFICATION. Appellant Romeo Valdez is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of
two counts of RAPE and is hereby sentenced to the penalty of reclusion
perpetua for each. He is also hereby ORDERED to pay private complainant
Romela Valdez P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages.
Vitug, (Chairman), Sandoval-Gutierrez, andCorona, JJ., concur.
1 Art. 335. When and how rape is committed. - Rape is committed by having
carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances.
By using force
When the woman
is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and
3. When the woman is under twelve years of age, even though
neither of the circumstances mentioned in the two next preceding paragraphs
shall be present.
The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion
Whenever the crime of rape is committed with the use of a
deadly weapon or by two or more persons, the penalty shall be reclusion
perpetua to death.
When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, the victim
has become insane, the penalty shall be death.
When the rape is attempted or frustrated and a homicide is
committed by reason or on the occasion thereof, the penalty shall be likewise
When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, a homicide is
committed, the penalty shall be death.
2 AN ACT TO IMPOSE THE DEATH PENALTY FOR CERTAIN HEINOUS CRIMES which took effect
on December 31, 1993; Vide: People v. Simon,234 SCRA
555, 569 (1994).
3 AN ACT EXPANDING THE DEFINITION OF THE CRIME OF RAPE RECLASSIFYING THE SAME AS
A CRIME AGAINST PERSONS, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE ACT NO. 3815, AS AMENDED,
OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE REVISED PENAL CODE, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES which took
effect on October 22, 1997.
7 Transcript of Stenographic Notes (TSN),
April 26, 1994 at 2-4.
8 The information in Criminal Case No. 7177 alleged the offense to have been
committed in 1993.
21 Exhibit A, Rolloat 22-41.
22 Exhibits A-4 and A-5, Records Vol. III at 72.
23 TSN, October 12, 1994 at 5.
24 TSN, January 26, 1996 at 2.
26 Id.at 2; TSN, October 17, 1996 at 16.
27 TSN, January 26, 1996 at 2-3; TSN, October 17, 1996 at 16.
28 TSN, January 26, 1996 at 2-3; TSN, October 17, 1996 at 17.
29 TSN, October 17, 1996 at 16.
32 TSN, Janaury 26, 1996 at 7-8.
37 Exhibit 1, Records Vol. II at 6.
38 TSN, Janaury 26, 1996 at 12-19.
39 Exhibits 8 to 8-C, Records Vol. III at 121-122.
40 Exhibit 9, Records Vol. III at 123.
41 Exhibit 10, Records Vol. III at 124.
42 Exhibits 11 to 11-C, Records Vol. III at 125-127.
43 Exhibit 12, Records Vol. III at 128.
44 TSN, January 26, 1996 at 23-26.
50 Appellants Brief, Rolloat 131.
56 TSN, April 26, 1994 at 10-15.
57 Rolloat 139 citing People v. Navarro, 221 SCRA 684 (1993); People
v. Hernandez, 49 Phil. 980 (1925).
58 TSN, October 12, 1994 at 15-21.
59 G.R. No. 146458 : January
61 TSN, October 12, 1994 at 5.
63 TSN, October 12, 1994 (PM) at 11-13.
66 Id.at 392-393, citations omitted.
67 TSN, April 26, 1994 at 15.
69 Id.at 37 citing People v. Jones, 137 SCRA 166 (1985); People v. Rosario, 159 SCRA 192 (1988).
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