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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
August-2009 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.C. No. 7399 - Antero J. Pobre v. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago

  • A.M. No. 08-6-352-RTC - Query of Atty. Karen M. Silverio-Buffe, former Clerk of Court, Branch 81, Romblon, Romblon, on the prohibition from engaging in the private practice of law

  • A.M. No. 08-11-7-SC - Re: Request of National Committee on Legal Aid to exempt legal aid clients from paying filing, docket and other fees.

  • A.M. No. 09-6-9-SC - Query of Mr. Roger C. Prioreschi re exemption from legal and filing fees of the Good Shperd Foundation, Inc.

  • A.M. No. P-06-2282 - Lolita S. Regir v. Joel Regir

  • A.M. No. P-07-2390 - Office of the Court Administrator v. Lyndon L. Isip, Sheriff IV, RTC, OCC, City of San Fernando, Pampanga

  • A.M. No. P-08-2436 Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 06-2394-P - Teopicio Tan v. Salvacion D. Sermonia, Clerk IV, MTCC, Iloilo City

  • A.M. No. P-08-2501 - Wilson B. Tan v. Jesus F. Hernando

  • A.M. No. P-08-2553 Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 98-455-P - Leo Mendoza v. Prospero V. Tablizo

  • A.M. No. P-08-2571 Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 07-2651-P - Simeon Guari o, et al. v. Cesar F. Ragsac, et al.

  • A.M. No. P-09-2610 Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 09-3072-P - Hector P. Teodosio v. Rolando R. Somosa, et al.

  • A.M. No. P-09-2665 - Judge Alma Crispina B. Collado-Lacorte v. Eduardo Rabena

  • A.M. No. RTJ-07-2031 Formerly OCA IPI No. 06-2484-RTJ - Adelpha E. Malabed v. Judge Enrique C. Asis, RTC, Br. 16, Naval Biliran

  • A.M. No. RTJ-08-2124 Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 07-2631-RTJ and A.M. NO. RTJ-08-2125 Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 07-2632-RTJ - Judge Rizalina T. Capco-Umali, RTC, Br. 212, Mandaluyong City v. Judge Paulita B. Acosta-Villarante, RTC, Br. 211, Mandaluyong City

  • A.M. No. RTJ-08-2138 - Olga M. Samson v. Judge Virgilio G. Caballero

  • G.R. No. 130223 - Rural Bank of Sta. Barbara (Pangasinan), Inc. v. The Manila mission of the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 130371 & G.R. No. 130855 - Repbulic of the Philippines v. Ferdinand R. Marcos II and Imelda R. Marcos

  • G.R. No. 149241 - Dart Philippines, Inc. v. Spouses Francisco and Erlinda Calogcog

  • G.R. No. 149988 - Ramie Velenzuela v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 150887 - Francisco Madrid and Edgardo Bernardo v. Spouses Bonifacio Mapoy and Felicidad Martinez

  • G.R. No. 151932 - Henry Ching Tiu, et al. v. Philippine Bank of Communications

  • G.R. No. 152579 - Sameer Overseas Placement Agency, Inc. v. Mildred R. Santos, etc. et al.

  • G.R. No. 153690, G.R. No. 157381 and G.R. No. 170889 - David Lu v. Paterno Lu Ym, Sr., et al.

  • G.R. No. 154652 - Prudencio M. Reyes, Jr. v. Simplicio C. Belisario and Emmanuel S. Malicdem

  • G.R. No. 155174 - D.M. Consunji, Inc. v. Duvaz Corporation

  • G.R. No. 156660 - Ormoc Sugarcane Planters' Association, Inc. (OSPA), Occidental Leyte Farmer's Multi-Purpose Cooperative Inc., et al. v. The Court of Appeals (Special Former Sixth Division), et al.

  • G.R. No. 157374 - Heirs of Cayetano Pangan and Consuelo Pangan v. Spouses Rogelio Perreras and Priscilla G. Perreras

  • G.R. No. 160346 - Purita A. Pahud, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al.

  • G.R. No. 160379 - Republic of the Philippines through the Department of Public Works and Highways v. Court of Appeals and Rosario Rodriguez Reyes

  • G.R. No. 160610 - Judelio Cobarrubias v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 160743 - Cornelia Baladad (Represented by Heinrich M. Angeles and Rex Aaron A. Baladad) v. Sergio A. Rublico and Spouses Laureano E. Yupano

  • G.R. No. 161042 - Republic of the Philippines v. Agripina Dela Raga

  • G.R. No. 161419 - Eugenio Encinares v. Dominga Achero

  • G.R. No. 162355 - Sta. Lucia East Commercial Corporation v. Hon. Secretary of Labor and Employment, et al.

  • G.R. No. 162518 - Rodrigo Sumiran v. Spouses Generoso Damaso and Eva Damaso

  • G.R. No. 163505 - Gualberto Aguanza v. Asian Terminal, Inc., et al.

  • G.R. No. 163788 - Ester B. Maralit v. Philippine National Bank

  • G.R. No. 164324 - Tanduay Distillers, Inc. v. Ginebra San Miguel, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 164789 - Christian Assembly, Inc. v. Sps. Avelino C. Ignacio and Priscilla R. Ignacio

  • G.R. NOS. 164813 & G.R. No. 174590 - Lowe, Inc., et al. v. Court of Appeals and Irma Mutuc

  • G.R. No. 165116 - Maria Soledad Tomimbang v. Atty. Jose Tomimbang

  • G.R. No. 165450 and G.R. No. 165452 - Francis F. Yenko, et al., (etc.) v. Raul Nestor C. Gungon

  • G.R. No. 165697 & G.R. No. 166481 - Antonio Navarro v. Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company

  • G.R. No. 166470 & G.R. No. 169217 - Cecilio C. Hernandez, Ma, Victoria C. Hernandez-Sagun, Teresa C. Hernandez-Villa Abrille and Natividad Cruz-Hernandez v. Jovita San Juan-Santos

  • G.R. No. 166738 - Rowena Padilla-Rumbaua v. Eduardo Rumbaua

  • G.R. No. 166879 - A. Soriano Aviation v. Employees Association of A. Soriano Aviation, et al.

  • G.R. No. 167230 - Spouses Dante and Ma. Teresa Galura v. Math-Agro Corporation

  • G.R. No. 167304 - People of the Philippines v. Sandiganbayan (Third Division) and Victoria Amante

  • G.R. No. 168910 - Republic Cement Corporation v. Peter Guinmapang

  • G.R. No. 168982 - People of the Philippines v. Dir. Cesar P. Nazareno, Dir. Evelino Nartatez, Dir. Nicasio Ma. S. Custodio and The Sandiganbayan

  • G.R. No. 169870 - People of the Philippines v. Elegio An

  • G.R. No. 170137 - People of the Philippines v. Randy Magbanua alias "Boyung" and Wilson Magbanua.

  • G.R. No. 170672 - Judge Felimon Abelita, III v. P/Supt. German Doria and SPO3 Cesar Ramirez

  • G.R. No. 170674 - Foundation Specialist, Inc. v. Betonval Ready Concrete, Inc., et al.

  • G.R. No. 171035 - William Ong Genato v. Benjamin Bayhon, et al.

  • G.R. No. 171169 - GC Dalton Industries, Inc. v. Equitable PCI Bank

  • G.R. No. 171313 - People of the Philippines v. Edgar Trayco y Masola

  • G.R. No. 171674 - Department of Agrarian Reform (etc.) v. Carmen S. Tongson

  • G.R. No. 171732 - People of the Philippines v. Edgar Denoman y Acurda

  • G.R. No. 171951 - Amado Alvarado Garcia v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 172537 - Jethro Intelligence & Security Corporation and Yakult, Inc. v. The Hon. Secretary of Labor and Employment, et al.

  • G.R. No. 172680 - The Heirs of the Late Fernando S. Falcasantos, etc., et al. v. Spouses Fidel Yeo Tan and Sy Soc Tiu, et al.

  • G.R. No. 174209 - Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company v. Rizalina Raut, et al.

  • G.R. No. 175345 - Baltazar L. Payno v. Orizon Trading Corp./ Orata Trading and Flordeliza Legaspi

  • G.R. No. 175605 - People of the Philippines v. Arnold Garchitorena Y Camba a.k.a. Junior, Joey Pamplona a.k.a. Nato, and Jessie Garcia y Adorino

  • G.R. No. 176487 - Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Department of Public Works and Highways v. Far East Enterprises, Inc., et al.

  • G.R. No. 176511 - Spouses Obdulia H. Espejo and Hildelberto T. Espejo v. Geraldine Coloma Ito

  • G.R. No. 176906 - Andrew B. Nudo v. Hon. Amado S. Caguioa, et al.

  • G.R. No. 176917 & G.R. No. 176919 - Continental Cement Corp., v. Filipinas (PREFAB) Systems, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 177134 - People of the Philippines v. Rachel Angeles y Naval Alias Russel Angeles y Cabal

  • G.R. No. 177508 - Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) Partylist represented by Salvador B. Britanico v. Commission on Elections

  • G.R. No. 177741 - People of the Philippines v. Willie Rivera

  • G.R. NOS. 178188, 181141, 181141 and 183527 - Olympic Mines and Development Corp., v. Platinum Group Metals Corporation

  • G.R. No. 178797 - Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co., v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

  • G.R. No. 178984 - Erlinda Mapagay v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 179280 - People of the Philippines v. Pedro Calangi alias Haplas

  • G.R. No. 179293 - Eden Llamas v. Ocean Gateway Maritime and Management, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 179905 - Republic of the Philippines v. Neptuna G. Javier

  • G.R. No. 179941 - People of the Philippines v. Lito Macabare y Lopez

  • G.R. No. 180357 - Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corporation v. Heirs of Vicente Coronado, et al.

  • G.R. No. 180380 - Raymund Madali and Rodel Madali v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 180594 - People of the Philippines v. Ismael Mokammad, et al.

  • G.R. No. 180824 - Urban Consolidated Constructors Philippines, Inc. v. The Insular Life Assurance Co., Inc.

  • G.R. No. 180921 - People of the Philippines v. Bernardo Rimando, Jr. y Basilio alias "JOJO"

  • G.R. No. 180988 - Julie's Franchise Corporation, et al. v. Hon. Chandler O. Ruiz, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 10, Dipolog City, et al.

  • G.R. No. 181516 - Cesario L. Del Rosario v. Philippine Journalists, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 181845 - The City of Manila, Liberty M. Toledo in her capacity as the Treasurer of Manila, et al. v. Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 181972 - Philippine Hoteliers, Inc./Dusit Hotel Nikko-Manila v. National Union of Workers in Hotel, Restaurant, and Allied Industries (NUWHARAIN-APL-IUF) Dusit Hotel Nikko Chapter

  • G.R. No. 182267 - Pagayanan R. Hadji-Sirad v. Civil Service Commission

  • G.R. No. 182311 - Fidel O. Chua and Filiden Realty and Development Corporation v. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, et al.

  • G.R. No. 182380 - Robert P. Guzman v. Commission on Elections, Mayor Randolph S. Ting and Salvacion Garcia

  • G.R. No. 182528 - People of the Philippines v. Marian Coroche y Caber

  • G.R. No. 182792 - People of the Philippines v. Pepito Neverio

  • G.R. No. 183059 - Ely Quilatan & Rosvida Quilatan-Elias v. Heirs of Lorenzo Quilatan, et al.

  • G.R. No. 183196 - Chona Estacio and Leopoldo Manliclic v. Pampanga I, Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Loliano E. Allas

  • G.R. No. 183329 - Rufino C. Montoya v. Transmed Manila Corporation Mr. Edilberto Ellena and Great Lake Navigation Co., Ltd.

  • G.R. No. 183366 - Ricardo C. Duco v. The Hon. Commission on Elections, First Division, and Narciso B. Avelino

  • G.R. No. 183526 - Violeta R. Lalican v. The Insular Life Assurance Company Limited, as represented by the President Vicente R. Avilon

  • G.R. No. 184005 - Top Art Shirt Manufacturing Inc., Maximo Arejola and Tan Shu Keng v. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Inc., and the Court of the Appeals

  • G.R. No. 184337 - Heirs of Federico C. Delgado and Annalisa Pesico v. Luisito Q. Gonzales and Antonio T. Buenaflor

  • G.R. No. 184905 - Lambert S. Ramos v. C.O.L. Realty Corporation

  • G.R. No. 185004 - People of the Philippines v. Armando Ferasol

  • G.R. No. 185711 - People of the Philippines v. Reynaldo Sanz Laboa

  • G.R. No. 185712 - People of the Philippines v. Lilio U. Achas

  • G.R .No. 185723 - People of the Philippines v. Edwin Mejia

  • G.R .No. 185841 - People of the Philippines v. Ismael Diaz @ Maeng and Rodolfo Diaz @ Nanding

  • G.R. No. 186080 - Julius Amanquiton v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 186129 - People of the Philippines v. Jesus Paragas Cruz

  • G.R. No. 186224 - Constancio D. Pacanan, Jr. v. Commission on Elections and Francisco M. Langi, Sr.

  • G.R. No. 186379 - People of the Philippines v. Bienvenido Lazaro @ Bening

  • G.R. No. 186381 - People of the Philippines v. Clemencia Arguelles y Talacay

  • G.R. No. 186420 - People of the Philippines v. Samuel Anod

  • G.R. No. 186496 - People of the Philippines v. Dante Gragasin Y Par

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    G.R. No. 169870 - People of the Philippines v. Elegio An

      G.R. No. 169870 - People of the Philippines v. Elegio An

    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    THIRD DIVISION

    [G.R. NO. 169870 : August 4, 2009]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, v. ELEGIO AN, Appellant.

    D E C I S I O N

    PERALTA, J.:

    This is an appeal from the Decision1 dated August 15, 2005 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00223, affirming the Decision2 dated January 7, 2004 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Calauag, Branch 63, in Criminal Case No. 3024-C, finding appellant Elegio An guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of simple rape.

    The facts, as culled from the records, are the following:

    Around 5 o'clock in the afternoon of March 8, 1998, Conchita Maranan, a 21-year-old woman with no formal education, right after taking a bath in the river, saw appellant enter the house of her Ate Dominga. When Conchita entered her Ate Dominga's house, appellant pushed her towards a room. Thereafter, appellant started undressing Conchita before undressing himself. It was then that appellant placed himself on top of Conchita. Appellant proceeded to forcibly insert his penis into the vagina of Conchita causing the latter to feel an excruciating pain. After appellant succeeded in defiling Conchita, the former told the latter that he will do it again and that he will kill her should she divulge what just happened. Appellant left after the said incident.3

    Immediately after appellant fled from the scene, Conchita went to her Ate Zenaida Andallon, who was at that time working in the ricefield. When her sister saw that Conchita was crying, the former asked the latter as to the reason. Instead of answering, Conchita asked her sister to be brought home in Barangay Munting Parang. Zenaida asked Conchita again as to why the latter was crying. It was then that Conchita told Zenaida that she felt pain in her body and was afraid to see appellant, to which Zenaida queried as to the reason why her sister was frightened of said appellant. Conchita confided to her sister that she was inasawa by appellant. This prompted Zenaida to ask what appellant did to her sister. Conchita told her sister that appellant kissed her lips, rolled up her dress, removed her bra and sinusuhan or sucked her breast, laid her forcibly, inserted his penis in her vagina and niyugyugan or made pumping motions. Zenaida then brought Conchita to Dominga's house, where she was able to see Conchita's bloodied underwear. A white spot was also present in the said underwear. When Zenaida looked at Conchita's vagina, she noticed that it was bleeding. Thereafter, Zenaida accompanied Conchita to the Lupon ng Barangay of Bukal and afterwards to Barangay Captain Celso Razon who looked for appellant. After finding appellant, Barangay Captain Razon brought him, Conchita and Zenaida to the municipal hall where an investigation was conducted. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, appellant was taken to the municipal jail, while Zenaida was given instructions to go back to said municipal hall the following day and have Conchita medically examined.4

    The next day, Conchita went to the Municipal Health Office of Tagkawayan, Quezon and underwent a laboratory examination. She was examined by a medical technologist, Rodelo V. Teopy. The laboratory report showed that Conchita's vagina was positive for the presence of spermatozoa. Consequently, on March 12, 1998, the Municipal Health Officer of Tagkawayan, Quezon, Dr. Arnel I. Artos, examined Conchita and, later on, issued a Medico-Legal Certificate5 containing the following findings:

    x x x

    Internal Examination:

    1. Multiple lacerations noted with no discharged noticed at the time of examination.

    2. Admits two (2) fingers with ease.

    Please see attached Laboratory Result.

    x x x

    Upon securing the medico-legal certificate and the laboratory report, Conchita and Zenaida went back to the police station. Zenaida executed a Sinumpaang Salaysay and, subsequently, filed a criminal complaint with the Municipal Trial Court of Tagkawayan, Quezon, in behalf of Conchita.6

    Consequently, an Information7 was filed against appellant for the crime of rape, stating:

    That on or about the 8th day of March 1998, at Barangay Bukal, in the Municipality of Tagkawayan, Province of Quezon, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with lewd design, by means of force, threats and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of one Conchita Maranan, a mental retardate, against her will.

    Contrary to law.

    Appellant, assisted by counsel de oficio, pleaded not guilty during the arraignment8 on February 2, 1999. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued.

    The prosecution presented the testimonies of Dr. Arnel Artos, Zenaida Andallon, Celso Razon, and Conchita Maranan. The said witnesses testified as to the facts narrated above.

    The defense, on the other hand, presented the testimonies of Leoncio Zamora, Nilo de Torres and appellant. Appellant raised the defense of denial and alibi by stating that he did not rape Conchita and that he was at a baptismal celebration or buhos tubig when the incident occurred. According to him, on March 8, 1998, he and Leoncio Zamora went to Barangay Mansilay to attend the baptism of Nilo de Torres' son. Appellant narrated that he and Leoncio arrived at the said place at around 11 a.m. and helped in the slaughtering of the pig and in attending to the guests. He added that, after eating lunch, they proceeded to drink and then left the said place at around 8 p.m. They were able to reach Barangay Bukal at around 10 p.m., or approximately two hours after they left Barangay Mansilay. Shortly thereafter, appellant was arrested and accosted to the police station.9 The said testimony of appellant was corroborated by Leoncio Zamora and Nilo de Torres.

    The RTC found appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged, the dispositive portion of which reads:

    WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations, this Court hereby finds accused Elegio An GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of RAPE and hereby sentences said accused to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA and to pay the private offended party Conchita Maranan the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) as civil indemnity plus the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) as moral damages.

    SO ORDERED.

    Due to the penalty imposed, which is Reclusion Perpetua, the case was elevated to this Court on appeal. However, per Resolution10 of this Court dated September 6, 2004, the case was transferred to the CA in conformity with the Decision of this Court, dated July 7, 2004, in People v. Mateo,11 modifying the pertinent provisions of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, particularly Sections 3 and 10 of Rule 122, Section 13 of Rule 124, Section 3 of Rule 125, and any other rule insofar as they provide for direct appeals from the RTC to this Court in cases where the penalty imposed is death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, as well as the resolution of this Court en banc, dated September 19, 1995, in Internal Rules of the Supreme Court, in cases similarly involving death penalty, pursuant to this Court's power to promulgate rules of procedure in all courts under Section 5, Article VIII of the Constitution, and allowing an intermediate review by the CA before such cases are elevated to this Court.

    The CA, in its Decision dated August 15, 2005, affirmed the conviction of appellant, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:

    WHEREFORE, premises considered, the January 7, 2004 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Calauag, Quezon, Branch 63, in Criminal Case No. 3024-C, finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of simple rape and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua is hereby AFFIRMED.

    SO ORDERED.

    Appellant, in his Brief,12 ascribed a lone assignment of error which reads:

    THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF RAPE.

    Appellant questioned the credibility of Conchita due to inconsistencies in her testimony. He also assailed the finding of the trial court that Conchita was a mental retardate. He argued that the prosecution was not able to prove beyond reasonable doubt the fact of Conchita's mental ratardation. Finally, appellant contended that due to the weakness of the prosecution's evidence, his defense of alibi should have been given more weight as it was corroborated by two disinterested witnesses.

    The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), in its Brief,13 stated the following arguments:

    I. THE RAPE VICTIM'S CATEGORICAL AND SPONTANEOUS TESTIMONY IS SUFFICIENT TO CONVICT APPELLANT OF THE CRIME CHARGED.

    II. APPELLANT'S ALIBI AND DENIAL CANNOT PREVAIL OVER HIS POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION BY THE VICTIM.

    According to the OSG, the trial court was correct in its observation that Conchita's testimony was credible as it was categorical, straightforward, spontaneous and frank. It stated that Conchita's narration of the incident was simple and direct, and that her testimony was able to withstand the rigorous cross-examination. The OSG also contended that appellant's defense of alibi was not strong because the element that there must be physical impossibility for the latter to be at the situs criminis at the time the incident took place was lacking. Finally, the OSG argued that Conchita could not have been mistaken in positively identifying appellant whom she knew since her childhood; hence, such positive identification must prevail over appellant's defense of denial and alibi.

    The appeal is bereft of merit.

    In reviewing rape cases, this Court has constantly been guided by three principles, to wit: (1) an accusation of rape can be made with facility; it is difficult to prove but more difficult for the person accused, though innocent, to disprove; (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 draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense. And as a result of these guiding principles, credibility of the complainant becomes the single most important issue. If the testimony of the victim is credible, convincing and consistent with human nature, and the normal course of things, the accused may be convicted solely on the basis thereof.14

    In connection therewith, this Court has always been consistent in ruling that the duty to ascertain the competence and credibility of a witness rests primarily with the trial court,15 because it has the unique position of observing the witness's deportment on the stand while testifying. Absent any compelling reason to justify the reversal of the evaluations and conclusions of the trial court, the reviewing court is generally bound by the former's findings.16

    A review of the testimony of Conchita clearly shows its consistency and straightforwardness, a matter which the trial court correctly appreciated. In narrating the incident, Conchita said:

    (Prosecutor Florido) Q Now, on March 8, 1998 while you were at your house at about 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon, do you recall what happened to you?cralawred

    (Conchita) A Yes, sir.

    Q What happened to you if you can recall?cralawred

    A He pushed me to the floor, sir.

    Q Who pushed you?cralawred

    A Elegio An, sir.

    Q The person you pointed to a while ago before this Hon. Court?cralawred

    A Yes, sir.

    Q And where were you then when he pushed you to the floor?cralawred

    A From the river I took a bath, then he suddenly entered our house, sir.

    Q And he pushed you inside your house or inside the room?cralawred

    A In a room, sir.

    Q When the accused Elegio An pushed you to the floor inside the room, what happened to you?cralawred

    A Ako po ay inasawa niya.

    Q What do you mean by inasawa?cralawred

    A He removed his clothes in front of me, sir.

    Q What about you, did he remove your clothes?cralawred

    ATTY. FULLANTE:

    Objection Your Honor, no basis.

    PROS. FLORIDO:

    If Your Honor please, at this juncture, we want to make of record that we be allowed to ask leading questions, because of the defect of the witness so we will make that kind of question.

    COURT:

    Witness may answer.

    (Conchita) A The removing of my clothes came first, sir.

    (Pros. Florido) Q After he removed his clothes, what did he do?cralawred

    A Inasawa po niya ako.

    Q When you said inasawa, he kissed you?cralawred

    A Yes, sir.

    Q After that what else?cralawred

    A He put himself on top of me, sir.

    Q What do you mean he put himself on top of you?cralawred

    A Inasawa niya ako, sir.

    Q Did he insert anything to . . .

    ATTY. FULLANTE:

    Objection Your Honor.

    COURT:

    What do you mean by inasawa?cralawred

    (Conchita) A He removed his clothes in front of me, Your Honor.

    Q When you said inasawa, what did you feel if you felt anything?cralawred

    A He inserted his penis in my private part and it was painful, sir.

    Q It is now clear when you said inasawa he inserted his penis to your private part or to your vagina?cralawred

    A Yes, sir.

    Q When he inserted his penis to your vagina, what did you feel if you felt anything?cralawred

    A It was painful, sir.

    Q Why?cralawred

    A Because he inserted it binigla, sir.

    PROS. FLORIDO:

    Q What happened to your vagina, did you notice anything?cralawred

    A Yes, sir.

    Q When you said inasawa, did he say anything after while (sic) he was doing inasawa ka?cralawred

    A Yes, sir.

    Q What was that?cralawred

    A That he will do it again and he told me not to tell anybody or else he will kill me, sir.

    PROS. FLORIDO:

    We want to make of record Your Honor that the witness is now crying and wiping her eye.

    Q When he said to you that he will kill you if you reveal it to anybody, did you believe him?cralawred

    A Yes, sir.

    Q Did you fight back when you were inaasawa?cralawred

    A I am a woman and I cannot fight him because he is stronger than me, sir.

    Q And after that what happened?cralawred

    A He left the place, sir.17

    It is apparent from the above testimony that Conchita was able to narrate convincingly to the trial court the incident that happened. Hence, the trial court's assessment of Conchita's credibility must not be disturbed. As ruled by this Court in People of the Philippines v. Nasario Castel:18

    Findings of facts and assessment of credibility of witnesses are matters best left to the trial court. What militates against the claim of appellant is the time-honored rule that the findings of facts and assessment of credibility of witnesses are matters best left to the trial court. The trial court has the unique position of having observed that elusive and incommunicable evidence of the witnesses' deportment on the stand while testifying, which opportunity is denied to the appellate courts. Only the trial judge can observe the furtive glance, blush of conscious shame, hesitation, flippant or sneering tone, calmness, sigh, or the scant or full realization of an oath - all of which are useful aids for an accurate determination of a witness' honesty and sincerity.19

    Unless certain facts of substance and value were overlooked which, if considered, might affect the result of the case, the trial court's assessment must be respected, for it had the opportunity to observe the conduct and demeanor of the witnesses while testifying and to detect if they were lying.20

    As to the contention of appellant that Conchita made inconsistent statements during cross-examination, this Court finds such inconsequential. If at all, the cross-examination brought out more details that would support Conchita's testimony during the direct examination. Thus, during cross-examination:

    (ATTY. FULLANTE) Q What do you mean by hindi naman ako pumayag?cralawred

    (CONCHITA) A He was embracing me and he was inviting me in the manggahan at hindi ako pumayag, sir.

    Q Elegio An did not force you to go to manggahan?cralawred

    A No, sir.

    Q What happened after that Madam Witness?cralawred

    A He touched my breast and my private part, several times, sir.

    PROS. FLORIDO:

    We want to make of record that the witness is again crying.

    COURT:

    Place on the record the observation of the prosecution.

    ATTY. FULLANTE:

    Q And where did this incident took (sic) place Madam Witness?cralawred

    A In the house of Nanay Binyag, sir.

    Q Was this Elegio An holding any weapon when he did that?cralawred

    A None, sir.

    Q Was he shouting Madam Witness?cralawred

    A No, sir.

    Q By what manner was it, Madam Witness?cralawred

    A That he will kill me, sir.

    x x x

    Q Now Madam Witness, did you shout for help?cralawred

    A I did not shout because his mouth was in my mouth.

    x x x

    Q And if you were shouting you will be heard by any person working in the field?cralawred

    A Yes, sir, but I cannot shout because his mouth was in my mouth, sir.

    Q You mean to say you were kissing each other?cralawred

    A Yes, sir.

    Q While he was kissing you, what did you do, Madam Witness?cralawred

    A None, sir, I cannot move because my whole body was painful, sir.

    x x x

    Q How many minutes did he kiss you?cralawred

    A I do not know how many minutes, sir.

    Q What did you do while the accused was kissing you?cralawred

    A Iniipit po niya and paa ko, sir.21

    The above testimony does not diminish Conchita's credibility as a witness because the inconsistencies found by appellant were merely trivial and do not bear on the very fact that Conchita was raped through force and intimidation. Inconsistencies in the testimonies of witnesses which refer to minor and insignificant details do not destroy their credibility.22 More so, the minor inconsistencies signified that the witness was neither coached nor lying on the witness stand. What is important is her complete and vivid narration of the rape itself, which the trial court herein found to be truthful and credible.23

    Appellant further argues that the trial court erred in finding that Conchita was a mental retardate. According to him, the prosecution was not able to prove beyond reasonable doubt the victim's mental retardation citing People v. Dalandas.24 The CA found the said argument meritorious, as with this Court. The CA thus ruled that:

    However, the prosecution failed to present any clinical evidence to establish that private complainant was indeed a mental retardate. It merely relied on the testimony of Zenaida Andallon who stated that private complainant does not know how to read and write, does not know how to cook rice, does not respect anyone and acts like a child. While it is a settled rule that mental retardation can be proved by evidence other than clinical evidence,25 it is, however, an equally settled doctrine that clinical evidence is necessary in borderline cases when it is difficult to ascertain whether the victim is of a normal mind or is suffering from a mild mental retardation.26 To Our mind, such clinical evidence is indispensable in the present case considering that there is a difficulty in ascertaining the mental condition of private complainant. To be sure, the mere fact that private complainant does not know how to read and write, or to cook rice, or that she acts like a child are not conclusive indication that she is a mental retardate. There are people who manifest the same behavior despite being perfectly normal. In fact, even Dr. Artos recommended that private complainant be made to undergo further examination by a psychiatrist in order to come up with a better assessment of her mental condition.27 To reiterate, knowledge by the appellant of the fact that private complainant is a mental retardate would make him liable for qualified rape. Such being the case, the prosecution must likewise prove beyond reasonable doubt that (1) private complainant is a mental retardate, and (2) appellant knew of such mental condition. The failure of the prosecution to establish the first renders the second immaterial. Therefore, in the absence of sufficient evidence to prove that private complainant is a mental retardate, appellant cannot be convicted of qualified rape.

    Finally, appellant anchored his defense on denial and alibi.ςηαñrοblεš νιr†υαl lαω lιbrαrÿ

    This Court has ruled in various cases that denial is inherently a weak defense as it is negative and self-serving. Corollarily, alibi is the weakest of all defenses for it is easy to contrive and difficult to prove. For alibi to prosper, it is not enough for the accused to prove that he was somewhere else when the crime was committed. He must likewise prove that it was physically impossible for him to be present at the crime scene or its immediate vicinity at the time of its commission.28 However, in this case, appellant was not able to prove that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the place of the crime at the time the latter took place. Appellant and his witnesses testified that Barangay Mansilay, the place where appellant claimed to have been at the time the crime took place is more or less nine (9) kilometers away from Barangay Bukal, the place where the incident occurred. According to them, the travel time from Barangay Bukal to Barangay Mansilay can be approximated to 1-2 hours by walking and 30 minutes by using a tricycle. Such a short distance is not demonstrative of the physical impossibility for the appellant to be at the place of commission of the crime as contemplated by this Court's past decisions. For alibi to prosper, it is not enough for the appellant to prove that he was somewhere else when the crime was committed; he must, likewise, demonstrate that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime at the time.29

    WHEREFORE, the Decision dated August 15, 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00223 finding appellant Elegio An guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of simple rape is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.

    SO ORDERED.

    Endnotes:


    1 Penned by Associate Justice Martin S. Villarama, Jr., with Associate Justices Amelita G. Tolentino and Lucenito N. Tagle, concurring; rollo, pp. 3-18.

    2 Penned by Judge Mariano A. Morales, Jr.; CA rollo, pp. 70-83.

    3 TSN, September 12, 2001, pp. 10-13.

    4 TSN, January 10, 2001, pp. 5-8.

    5 CA Decision, rollo, pp. 5-6.

    6 Id. at 6.

    7 Records, p. 2.

    8 Id. at 28.

    9 TSN, September 18, 2002, pp. 3-5.

    10 Rollo, p. 49.

    11 G.R. NOS. 147678-87, 433 SCRA 640.

    12 CA rollo, p. 57.

    13 Id. at 59.

    14 People v. Arnulfo Aure, G.R. No. 180451, October 17, 2008, citing People v. Mangitngit, 502 SCRA 560, 572 (2006).

    15 People v. Abulon, G.R. No. 174473, August 17, 2007, 530 SCRA 675, 687, citing People v. Biong, 450 Phil. 432, 445 (2003), citing People v. Tadeo, 371 SCRA 303 (2001).

    16 Id., citing People v. Biong, id., citing People v. Glabo, 371 SCRA 567 (2001).

    17 TSN, September 12, 2001, pp. 10-13.

    18 G.R. No. 171164, November 28, 2008.

    19 People v. Dy, 425 Phil. 608, 637 (2002), citing People v. Abacia, 359 SCRA 342 (2001).

    20 Id., citing People v. Belga, 349 SCRA 678 (2001).

    21 TSN, September 12, 2001, pp. 18-20.

    22 People v. Espino, Jr., G.R. No. 176742, June 17, 2008, 554 SCRA 682, 699, citing People v. Villadares, 406 Phil. 530, 540 (2001).

    23 Id., citing People v. Santos, 420 Phil. 620, 631 (2001).

    24 G.R. No. 140209, December 27, 2002, 394 SCRA 433.

    25 People v. Almacin, G.R. No. 113253, February 19, 1999, 303 SCRA 399 and People v. Dumanon, G.R. No. 123096, December 18, 2000, 348 SCRA 461. (2000).

    26 People v. Dalandas, supra note 24, at 441, citing People v. Cartuano, Jr., 255 SCRA 403. (1996).

    27 TSN, May 16, 2001, p. 5.

    28 People v. Aure, supra note 14.

    29 People of the Philippines v. Catalino Mingming, G.R. No. 174195, December 10, 2008, citing People v. Bon, 506 SCRA 185-186. (2006).

    G.R. No. 169870 - People of the Philippines v. Elegio An


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