G.R. No. 118027 - January 29, 2004 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, v. RICARDO BALATAZO, Appellant.
[G.R. No. 118027 : January
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, v. RICARDO BALATAZO, Appellant.
D E C I S I O N
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
Before the Court is an appeal from the Decision1 of the Regional Trial Court of Gumaca, Quezon, Branch 61, convicting the
appellant, Ricardo Dado Balatazo, of rape, under paragraph 2 of Article 335
of the Revised Penal Code and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
On July 31, 1991, a criminal complaint for rape under paragraph
1, Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, was filed with the
Regional Trial Court of Gumaca, Quezon, Branch 61.The accusatory portion of the complaint reads:
That on or about the 16th day of February 1991, at Sitio
Mainit na Tubig, Barangay Mainit Norte, Municipality of Perez, Province of
Quezon, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused, with lewd design, by means of force, violence, threats and
intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have
carnal knowledge of the undersigned complainant, against her will.
Contrary to law.2
On August 29, 1991, the appellant, assisted by counsel, was duly
arraigned and entered a plea of not guilty.
The Case for the Prosecution
The prosecution presented four witnesses, namely, Adelaida Cao
Dapo, the victim Marina Cao Dapo, Barangay Captain Felino Temporas, and
Barangay Councilor Florentino Calvario.
Adelaida Cao Dapo testified that her daughter, Marina Cao Dapo,
was already 24 years old but had the mentality of a child.
She played with children and narrated her
problems to them.
The appellant was
her first cousin and was one of their neighbors in Barangay Mainit Norte,
Perez, Quezon Province.
He was also a
barangay councilman of Barangay Mainit Norte and frequented their house.
On February 16, 1991, a Saturday, Adelaida noticed that Marina
had contusions on the knees.
asked her daughter about it, Marina replied that the appellant went up to the
house earlier and made her lie down.
The appellant kissed and undressed her, and then pulled her
yellow-colored pants down to her knees.
He then mounted her and inserted his private organ into her vagina.
He put his clothes back on and left the
Adelaida and her husband Pablo
reported the matter to Barangay Captain Felino Temporas at the barangay
The appellant was summoned, but
when confronted with the charges, denied having raped Marina.
The couple also reported the matter to
Barangay Councilmen Damian Guerrero and Florentino Calvario.
Calvario took Marinas statement by
propounding questions on her.
down his questions and Marinas answers thereto.3 In her statement, Marina declared, inter
alia, that the appellant threatened her before she was raped, and that when
he mounted her, he pinned her knees with his legs; as a result, her knees
Before presenting Marina as witness, the prosecutor asked the
Court that he be allowed to ask leading questions since Marina was mentally-retarded.
The appellants counsel objected, but the
court overruled the objection stating that leading questions are allowed if the
witness is a child of tender age or a person whose mental capacity is that of a
Marina testified that, except for her name, she did not know how
to read nor write.
On February 16,
1991, the appellant went up to their house and made her lie down.
He then undressed her, pulled her panties down
to her knees and mounted her, inserting his penis into her vagina.
The appellant later left their house.
The prosecution offered the testimony of Barangay Captain Felino
Temporas to prove that Marina was a mental retardate and that it was of common
knowledge in the barangay.
appellants counsel did not object to the testimony of Temporas.
The latter testified that the Dapo Spouses
and their daughter Marina were among his constituents in the barangay.
When Marina was around nine years old, she
was afflicted with typhoid fever.
has acted like a child ever since,5 and had to stop going to school altogether.
Dr. Cheres Almagro-Daquilanea testified that on March 6, 1991,
Adelaida and Marina arrived at the Doa Marta Memorial Hospital in Atimonan,
Quezon. She conducted a genital examination of Marina and prepared and signed a
Certification which contained the following findings:
a.) With old hymenal laceration on 6 oclock, 9 oclock and 3
b.) Vaginal vaults admits 2 fingers with ease;
c.) Pregnancy Test Negative Result (--). 6
Florentino Cavalrio testified that he and Barangay Councilman
Guerrero took Marinas statement at the Dapo residence.
Marina affixed her signature thereto, above
her handwritten name.
signed the statement as a witness.
appellant also gave a statement in which he denied raping Marina.7
After the prosecution rested its case, the appellant filed a
Demurrer to Evidence, claiming that Marina failed to prove by her testimony
that he threatened, forced or intimidated her into having sexual intercourse
Hence, he could not be
convicted of rape under paragraph 1, Article 335 of the Revised Penal
In his Comment on the appellants
Demurrer to Evidence, the public prosecutor contended that there was no need to
prove that the appellant forced, threatened or intimidated the victim, as the
evidence on record showed that she was a mental retardate.
Sexual intercourse with a woman who is a
mental retardate is rape under paragraph 2, Article 335 of the Revised Penal
Code; thus, the appellant could be convicted of rape.In his Reply, however, the appellant insisted that:
It is respectfully submitted that the accused cannot be convicted
of the crime not alleged nor included in the complaint, the use of force,
violence, threat or intimidation is different and distinct from mental
retardation, victim being below 12 years old etc., the accused was charged
under Article 335, paragraph 1 and not under Article 335 paragraphs 2 and 3;8
On July 21, 1994, the trial court rendered judgment convicting
the appellant of rape under paragraph 2, Article 335 of the Revised Penal
The decretal portion of the
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused, Ricardo
Balatazo, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape, committed
against Marina Cao, defined and punished under Article 335(2) of the Revised
Penal Code, and he is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, with its accessory
penalties, and to pay the offended party, an indemnity in the amount of
The trial court declared that Marina was feeble-minded or
mentally ill, incapable of giving consent to sexual intercourse.
Accordingly, the absence of an allegation in
the criminal complaint that the victim was a mental retardate was merely a
The appellant appealed the decision to this Court contending
The trial court erred in convicting the accused for a crime to
which he was not charged for a crime not included and different from the crime
he was charged.10
The appellant asserts that under the criminal complaint, he was
charged of rape under paragraph 1, Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as
However, the prosecution,
through the victim herself, failed to prove that the appellant forced,
threatened or intimidated her into having sexual intercourse with him.
The prosecutor cannot rely on the
testimonies of Adelaida Cao Dapo and Florentino Calvario because the said
testimonies are mere hearsay.
Furthermore, according to the appellant, the prosecutor merely proved
that the victim was a mental retardate and that he had sexual intercourse with
He cannot be convicted of rape
under paragraph 2, Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code; otherwise, he would
be deprived of his right to be informed of the nature of the crime charged
Despite the trial courts
findings that the prosecution failed to prove rape as charged in the criminal
complaint under paragraph 1, Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, the court
still convicted him of rape under the second paragraph of the said Article.11 Besides, Marina was merely coached by her mother Adelaida.
The Office of the Solicitor General admits that, indeed, the
prosecution failed to prove that the appellant raped the victim under paragraph
1, Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, but contends that the appellant may
still be convicted of the said crime under paragraph 2 of the same
The failure of the complaint
to allege that the victim was a mental retardate was, as held by the trial
court, merely a procedural defect, which the appellant waived when he failed to
object to the evidence of the prosecution proving that the victim was so
It is true that appellant was charged with having sexual
intercourse with the victim under paragraph one of Article 335, Revised Penal
Code which requires the use of force and intimidation.
It is also true that the victim did not
testify that force and intimidation were used by appellant when he had sexual
intercourse with her.
This, however, does not mean that appellant cannot be convicted of
the crime of rape under the said provision of the law.
The rationale behind the constitutional
right of an accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the charges
against him is to give him the opportunity to properly refute the charges
against him and prepare for his defense.
This, he can only do if he knows exactly what he is being accused of.
In the present case, appellant knew that he was being charged with
raping a retardate who had the mental faculties of a child.
He, however, opted not to rebut the evidence
presented by the prosecution in regard to the crime and the victims mental
state, and not to present any evidence on his defense.
Since he did not even prepare for his
defense, appellant cannot therefore say that his constitutional right to do so
has been violated.
The public prosecutors failure to allege in the Information that
the victim was a retardate, is a mere procedural defect.
Any attack on the same can be waived by the
defense when it fails to object to the introduction of evidence on this matter
during the trial.
appellant himself in effect admitted the victims mental condition when he
objected to her presentation as a witness claiming that being mentally
retarded, she was incompetent to testify.12
We do not agree with the appellant.
The appellant does not dispute the trial courts finding that
Marina was suffering from a mental deficiency; that she was a mental
In People v. Dalandas ,13 we held that:
And the observation of the trial court, its impression of the
demeanor and deportment of the victim and its conclusions anchored thereon are
accorded high respect if not conclusive effect on the appellate court.
In State vs. Haner, the Supreme Court of Iowa declared:
Her answers to questions show that she is almost an imbecile, unless she was feigning imbecility.
and jury saw and heard her on the witness stand, and we cannot put ourselves in
the place of the judge and jury.
appearance and demeanor while testifying were most important considerations in
determining her mental capacity, and, under the circumstance, we think it is
not proper to interfere with the verdict.
Another consideration, which, no doubt, had its influence with the court
and jury, was that the complainant was a mere child when this calamity came
She was but little past the
age of consent.
If she had been under
the age of 13 years, mere carnal knowledge would have constituted the crime of
rape without any evidence of mental weakness or imbecility.
And in People vs. Moreno,
we likewise held that:
Dr. Cecilia Albaran herself stated that she could conclude, simply
on the basis of her observation of the victim, that the latter had low
In People v. Rosare, the Court also noted that complainants mental
deficiency was so obvious that it was easily observable during preliminary
Her deficient mentality stuck out like a sore thumb at the
Her behavior as a mental
retardate was so obvious that even the investigating fiscal, who is not a man
of science was able to observe it during preliminary investigation.14
We do not agree with the trial court and the Solicitor General that
the prosecution failed to prove that the appellant forced the victim to have
sexual intercourse with him.
stressing that force or intimidation may be actual or constructive.
In this case, the victim is a mental
The appellant took advantage
of her condition and succeeded in having sexual intercourse with her.
Hence, he is guilty of forcible rape:
In the case of Commonwealth vs. Stephens, the issue involved was whether the carnal knowledge of a
woman who was insane at the time of the commission of the act constitutes rape
where there is no proof that the act was accomplished with physical force and
such insanity was not alleged in the information.The court held that:
Appellant also contends that there cannot be a conviction because
the indictment charged the commission of the act forcibly and against the will
of the alleged victim, while the evidence at most proved carnal knowledge of a
woman who was insane.
There is no merit
in this objection. x x x
Common-law rape may be committed in one of several ways, and it
is not necessary to set out in the indictment the means or the method
It was not required that the
indictment allege that the victim was insane and incapable of giving her
A forcible ravishment
is one done against a womans will; if it is done against her will, it is of
necessity without her consent; if she is insane or too weak of mind to give a
rational consent, then it follows that she has been forcibly ravished. x x x
x x x(C) arnal knowledge of an insane woman, knowing her to be
insane, is rape.
There is a lack of
capacity to consent, and it is presumed that the act was done without her
consent, hence it is against the females will; the force required may be in
the wrongful act itself.
that such act is done forcibly and against her will. In an indictment the
office of the words against her will is merely to negative consent.(Italics supplied)15
The use of force by the appellant in achieving his lust is belied
by the testimony of Adelaida that when she hurried home on the day that the
appellant abused Marina, she noticed contusions on her daughters knees.
When Adelaida asked her about it, Marina
recounted how the appellant succeeded in raping her.
We are not convinced by the appellants assertion that Marina was
merely coached by her mother into implicating him as the perpetrator of the
Marina clearly narrated to the
court how the appellant raped her:
QWhen he went to your
house, do you remember of anything he did to you?
At this juncture of the proceeding may we
request that...I would like to reiterate my continuing objection to the sort of
Enter that into the record.
Let the witness answer.
AHe went upstairs, Mam,
in our house.
QWhen he went upstairs in
your house, what did he do if he did anything?
QObjection Your Honor,
The witness may answer the question.
AHe caused me to lie
Enter into the record, Itinihaya po
QWhen he caused you to lie
down, did you lie down?
AHe caused me to lie
QWhen he caused you to lie
down, what did he do?
AHe removed his brief,
QWhen he removed his underwear,
what did you see?
AHe removed his
Naghubo po si Cado.
QWhen he removed his
underwear, what did he do if he did anything?
AHis penis was shown,
QAfter his penis was
shown, what did he do if he did anything?
AInikot po ako, Mam.
QNow, during that time
when he put out his penis and fucked you, do (sic) you have your panty?
AI was wearing a yellow
QDid he remove your panty?
AYes, Mam, which was
pulled down until here.
(Witness pointing down to her feet)
QWhen he fucked you, did
you feel any pain?
QDid you know after he
fucked you, what else happened, if any?
AHe again showed out his
QDo (sic) you have any
companion then in your house?
QWhy, where is (sic) your
companion in your house?
AThey were loitering
QDid this Cado Balatazo
leave you after he fucked you?
The witness nods her head.16
There is no evidence on record that Adelaida coached Marina into
testifying as she did.
stressing that Adelaida and the appellant were cousins.
As we ruled in People v. Rosare:
It is inconceivable that a mother would draw her daughter, a mental
retardate at that, into a rape scam with all its attendant scandal and
humiliation just because of a supposed dispute over property.
No mother in her right mind could possibly
wish to stamp her daughter falsely with the stigma that follows a heinous crime
that is rape.
And considering that in
this case the victim is suffering from a mental abnormality, we cannot fathom
how Rosalinas mother could be so heartless as to expose her daughter to public
ridicule just to get even with the family of appellant.
That would be senseless truculence at its
peak.. .. 17
Marina was subjected to intense cross-examination by the
appellants counsel, but the latter failed to dent the substance thereof.
We do not believe that given her mental deficiency, Marina
fabricated the charge against the appellant.
As we held in People v. Rosare:
As insightfully observed by the Solicitor General:
Given the low I.Q. of the victim, it is impossible to believe that
she could have fabricated her charges against appellant.
She definitely lacked the gift of
articulation and inventiveness.
with intense coaching, assuming this happened as appellant insists that the
victims mother merely coached her on what to say in court (pp. 6-7,
on the witness stand where she was alone, it would
eventually show with her testimony falling into irretrievable pieces.
But this did not happen.
During her testimony, she proceeded, though
with much difficulty, to describe the sexual assault in such a detailed manner
(tsn., R. Orubia, Apr. 6, 1994). Certainly, the victims testimony deserves utmost credit.18
The appellant even failed to adduce any controverting
He opted to merely file a
Demurrer to Evidence.
In sum then, we find the appellant Ricardo Balatazo guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of rape as charged under Article 335, paragraph 1 of the
Revised Penal Code, punishable by reclusion
The trial court awarded
P30,000.00 as indemnity to the
victim but failed to award moral damages.
The decision of the trial court has to be modified.
The appellant is ordered to pay to the
victim the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity19 and P50,000.00 as moral damages,20 conformably to current jurisprudence.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE
FOREGOING, the Court finds the appellant Ricardo Balatazo GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of rape
under Article 335, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code and is hereby
sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion
He is ordered to pay to
the victim Marina Cao Dapo
P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and P50,000.00
as moral damages.
Puno, (Chairman), Quisumbing, Austria-Martinez, andTinga, JJ., concur.
1 Penned by Judge Proceso K. De Gala.
4 TSN, 12 February 1992, p. 5.
5 TSN, 27 June 1992, pp. 2-5.
11 Article 335, as amended by RA 7659, paragraphs 1, 2 and 3, read as follows:
335. When and how rape is committed.
Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the
By using force or intimidation;
When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise
When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.
13 G.R. No. 140209, December 27, 2002.
15 People v. Rosare, 264 SCRA 398
16 TSN, 12 February 1992, pp. 7-9.
Back to Home | Back to Main