G. R. Nos. 128159-62 - July 14, 2003
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. HIPOLITO PASCUA, appellant.
Before us is an appeal from the decision dated November 14, 1996 of the Regional Trial Court of Pangasinan, Branch 38, finding the appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of four counts of rape and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua in each case.
The appellant was charged with four counts of rape in separate informations which read:
On arraignment, appellant pleaded "not guilty" to all charges. Thereupon, joint trial of the cases ensued.
The facts, as culled from the records, follow.
Private complainants Liza and Anna, both surnamed Paragas, are twins born on July 12, 1983. The appellant was their neighbor in Calvo, Mangatarem, Pangasinan. Liza and Anna considered appellant as their grandfather although he was not related to them.
On August 6, 1995, private complainants were playing near the house of the appellant when the latter called Liza and instructed her to buy juice at the store. Liza obeyed. After she returned from the store, the appellant ordered Liza to go inside his house and lie down on the floor. Appellant then removed Lizas pants and underwear, went on top of her, inserted his penis into her vagina and made push and pull movements. Liza tried to scream but appellant threatened to kill her.
After the sexual intercourse, the appellant gave Liza
The same thing happened on January 27, 1996 when Liza was called by the appellant as she was passing by his house. Once Liza was inside, she was forced to lie down by the appellant who then removed her pants and underwear. Appellant went on top of Liza and inserted his penis into her vagina before making push and pull movements. Liza was not able to shout because appellant again threatened to kill her. After her ordeal, the appellant gave Liza
Lizas twin sister, Anna, suffered the same fate at the hands of the appellant. Sometime in August 1995, while Anna was playing with her cousins, the appellant called her and asked her to go inside his house. As soon as Anna entered his house, the appellant closed the door, removed Annas pants and underwear, and made her lie down on the floor. Thereafter, the appellant inserted his penis into Annas vagina and ravished her. Anna felt pain but could not shout as appellant threatened to kill her. The appellant also warned her not to tell her mother about the incident. Thus, when Anna went home, she did not tell her mother what appellant had done to her.
On January 20, 1996, Anna was on her way home after buying charcoal from the store when the appellant called her anew. As soon as Anna was inside appellants house, the latter told her to remove her pants and underwear but Anna refused. So appellant himself forcibly removed Annas clothes and went on top of her before inserting his penis into her vagina. Again, Anna was not able to shout because she was afraid that the appellant would kill her. As in the prior incident, Anna did not tell her mother that the appellant molested her.
Private complainants mother, Leticia Paragas, learned of her daughters ordeal through her older daughter, Rosalina, who, in turn, came to know of the rape incidents from the appellants granddaughter. Apparently the granddaughter witnessed the appellant as he was raping Liza and told Rosalina about it.
Upon learning what the appellant had done to her daughters, Leticia confronted them. Liza and Anna were initially reluctant to talk but upon further questioning, they finally revealed that the appellant had sexually abused them. Leticia wasted no time in reporting the matter to their barangay chairman and to the police before whom she filed criminal complaints against the appellant. Thereafter, they proceeded to the Mangatarem District Hospital where the victims were examined by Dr. Athena Merrera.
The medico-legal examination conducted on Liza disclosed that she had lacerations at the 3, 4, 5 and 9 oclock positions which were caused by the insertion of a hard object like the erect penis of a man. On the other hand, the medical findings on Anna showed that she had lacerations at the 2, 3, 7, 8, 9 and 10 oclock positions which were also caused by the insertion of a hard object such as an erect penis. These lacerations suffered by both victims were determined to have been inflicted several weeks or months before the examination on February 14, 1996.
At the trial, appellant Hipolito Pascua and his granddaughter, Joy Javier, testified for the defense. The appellant admitted having sexual intercourse with private complainants but insisted that Liza and Anna freely consented to the repeated sexual acts in exchange for money ranging from
Joy Javier declared that she often saw private complainants at the house of the appellant. At one time, she asked Anna if she had sexual intercourse with the appellant to which Anna nodded. She even warned both Liza and Anna that if they continued to go to appellants house, their mother would know about it. However, despite said warning, she still saw private complainants at the house of the appellant almost everyday.
On November 14, 1996, the trial court rendered its assailed decision, the dispositive portion of which states:
Insisting on his innocence, the appellant claims in his appeal that he is not guilty of rape because private complainants voluntarily submitted to his sexual desires. The appellant even postulates that, if there should at all be any liability on his part, it should only be for simple seduction.
After an exhaustive review, we find ourselves unable to agree with appellants reasoning. The appellants defense that the victims consented to his lascivious desires is simply too preposterous to deserve serious consideration. The same is not only revolting but goes against established norms. No young child in her right mind will consent to have sexual intercourse with a 65-year-old man, specially one whom she considers her grandfather. The appellant desperately tries to portray private complainants as sex-starved maniacs who, at the tender age of 12, persistently demanded sex with him. Further, his story that private complainants would even go naked on top of him was nothing but a yarn that offends sensibilities and Filipino values. Indeed, after admitting that he had carnal knowledge of private complainants on several occasions, the appellant assumed the burden of proving his defense by substantial evidence. The record shows that, other than his self-serving assertions, the appellant had nothing to support his claim that private complainants were teenagers of loose morals and that the repeated acts of sexual intercourse were consensual.
It is culturally instinctive for young and decent Filipinas to protect their honor and obtain justice for the wicked acts committed on them. Thus, it is difficult to believe that private complainants would fabricate a tale of defloration, allow the embarrassing examination of their private parts, reveal the shame to the small rural town where they grew up and permit themselves to be subjected to a humiliating public trial if they had not in fact been really ravished. When the offended parties are young and immature girls from 12 to 16, as in this case, courts are inclined to lend credence to their version of what transpired, considering not only their relative vulnerability but also the public humiliation to which they would be exposed by court trial if their accusation were not true.3
We entertain no doubt that Liza and Anna told the truth. Their testimony was clear that they never consented to the rape. Their declarations during the trial were simple, straightforward and unflawed by any inconsistency or contradiction. A candid and honest narration by the victim of how she was abused must be given full faith and credit for they contain earmarks of credibility.4 In this case, the trial court found these badges of truth to be present in the following testimony of Liza Paragas:
It is clear from the foregoing testimony that private complainants tried to scream but the appellant prevented them by threatening to kill them. Also, after each rape incident, private complainants were warned by the appellant not to tell their mother what happened to them. It is settled that a rape victim is not required to resist her attacker unto death. Force, as an element of rape, need not be irresistible; it need only be present and so long as it brings about the desired result, all considerations of whether it was more or less irresistible is beside the point.6 Indeed, physical resistance need not be established in rape when, as in this case, intimidation was used on the victim and she submitted to the rapists lust for fear of her life or her personal safety. Jurisprudence holds that even though a man lays no hand on a woman, yet, if by an array of physical forces, he so overpowers her mind that she does not resist or she ceases resistance through fear of greater harm, the consummation of unlawful intercourse by the man is rape.7 Without question, the prosecution was able to prove that force or intimidation was actually employed by the appellant on the two victims to satisfy his lust.
Equally untenable is the argument of the appellant that, if he is at all liable for anything, it should only be for simple seduction. Under Article 338 of the Revised Penal Code, to constitute seduction, there must in all cases be some deceitful promise or inducement. The woman should have yielded because of this promise or inducement. In this case, the appellant claims that the acts of sexual intercourse with the private complainants were in exchange for money. He declared that, prior to every sexual intercourse with Liza and Anna, he would promise them
The Court finds the penalty of reclusion perpetua imposed on the appellant for each count of rape committed against private complainants to be in accord with law. The award of moral damages in the amount of
WHEREFORE, except for the MODIFICATION awarding private complainants an additional amount of
Puno, Panganiban, and Carpio-Morales, JJ., concur.
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