G. R. No. 130684 - February 5, 2004
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee
D E C I S I O N
This is an appeal from the Decision1 dated August 27, 1997 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 95, Quezon City in Criminal Cases Nos. Q-97-69584-85 convicting Arturo Manambay y Diamson, appellant, of two counts of rape and sentencing him to reclusion perpetua in each case.
The criminal complaints against appellant are quoted as follows:
Criminal Case No. Q-97-69585
"That on or about the 8th day of December 1996, in Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused by means of force and intimidation, to wit: by then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously undress one JOVITA SALAS Y YONSON and, at the point of a bolo, put himself on top of her and thereafter have carnal knowledge of the undersigned complainant against her will and without her consent.
"Contrary to law."
Criminal Case No. Q-97-69584
"That on or about the 9th day of December 1996, in Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused by means of force and intimidation, to wit: by then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously undress one JOVITA SALAS Y YONSON and, at the point of a bolo, put himself on top of her and thereafter have carnal knowledge of the undersigned complainant against her will and without her consent.
"Contrary to law."
Upon arraignment, appellant, assisted by counsel, pleaded not guilty to both charges. Trial ensued thereafter.
The evidence for the prosecution, consisting of the testimonies of private complainant Jovita Salas and Dr. Ma. Cristina B. Freyra, discloses that in 1996, appellant was living with his common-law spouse, Anita Salas, in a rented house located at No. 11 Capri Street, Villa Nova Subdivision, Novaliches, Quezon City. Anitas younger sister, Jovita Salas, and a lady boarder named Lourdes, also stayed with them in the same house.2
On December 8, 1996, at around 8:00 oclock in the evening, Jovita was alone in the house watching television when appellant, whom she identified in court, arrived. Visibly drunk, he approached Jovita, pointed a bolo at her breast and ordered her to follow him to the room. Extremely scared he might kill her, Jovita followed him. Once inside the room, appellant commanded her to remove her clothes and to lie down on the bed. Still afraid, Jovita obliged. Appellant then hurriedly removed his short pants and brief and placed himself on top of her, with his right hand holding the bolo still pointed at her. While in that position, appellant forcibly inserted his penis into her vagina. She felt pain. (At this juncture, the trial court noted that Jovita was crying while narrating such harrowing experience.)3 When appellant withdrew his penis, Jovita noticed some blood oozing from her vagina. Then he stood and told her to dress up and to act as if nothing wrong has happened. He warned her not to tell anyone about it, or else he would kill her sister Anita. That was the first time Jovita had a sexual experience.4
The following day, December 9, 1996, at around 9:00 oclock in the morning, Anita left the house and went to her place of work. Jovita also tried to leave, but appellant blocked her way by closing the door. With a bolo pointed at her, he told her to "accommodate him again" ("Pagbigyan ko siya uli."). He then ordered her to go to her room. Due to extreme fear, she complied. While inside, he ordered her to remove her clothes and lie down. Thereupon, he undressed himself, went on top of her and inserted his penis into her vagina. At that time, his right hand was holding the bolo pointed at her, while his left hand was holding her right hand. After satisfying his lust, he warned her not to reveal the incident to anyone, especially to her sister, or else he would kill both of them.5
After a few days, Jovita mustered enough courage to reveal the rape incidents to her elder brother who immediately accompanied her to the police. On December 27, 1996, Jovita was physically examined by Dr. Rosaline O. Cosidon, Medico-Legal Officer of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Central Crime Laboratory, Kamuning, Quezon City.6 Her Medico-Legal Report No. M-1872-96,7 issued on the same day, states:
"PURPOSE OF LABORATORY EXAMINATION:
To determine physical signs of sexual abuse.
x x x
"Genital: There is moderate growth of pubic hair. Labia majora are full, convex and coaptated with the pinkish brown labia minora presenting in between. On separating the same, disclosed an elastic fleshy-type hymen with deep, healed lacerations at 3 and 9 oclock position. External vaginal orifice offers moderate resistance to the introduction of the examining index finger and the virgin-sized vaginal speculum. Vaginal canal is narrow with prominent rugosities. Cervix is normal in size, color and consistency.
"Subject is in non-virgin state physically. There are no external signs of recent application of any form of trauma at the time of examination.
"Vaginal and peri-urethral smears are negative for gram-negative diplococci and spermatozoa."
Dr. Cosidon could not testify as she was transferred to the far-flung province of Cagayan Valley. It was Dr. Ma. Cristina B. Freyra, the PNP Medico-Legal Officer in Kamuning, Quezon City, who took the witness stand and confirmed the findings and results of Dr. Cosidons Report. Appellants counsel, Atty. Trebonian C. Tabang, admitted the competency of Dr. Freyra.8 She testified that the deep-healed lacerations at 3:00 oclock and 9:00 oclock positions in Jovitas hymen were sustained about 20 days before the examination, and that such lacerations were caused by the insertion of a hard blunt object like an erect penis. She further declared that Jovita could have been a virgin before her hymen sustained lacerations.9
The appellant denied the charges. He testified that on the night of December 8, 1996, he was not drunk as he was merely watching television with his brother, Jovita herself and Lourdes in their house from 5:00 to 10:00 PM. At 10:30, Anita, his common-law wife, arrived.10 He noticed that Jovita went out of the house twice that night. The following day, December 9, at 7:30 AM, he left the house and went to work in Project 6, Quezon City. Jovita was alone in the house that day. Appellant contends that the charges were filed against him because (1) Jovita wants him to be separated from her sister Anita as they are not married; and (2) he reported to Anita that he saw Jovita and her boyfriend having sex in his house on November 19, 1996. Still, he and Jovita have remained "in good terms."11
The defense also presented Anita who testified that on December 8, 1996, she reported for work in Diliman, Quezon City at 8:00 oclock in the morning and returned home at around 10:00 oclock in the evening of that same day. The following day (December 9) at 8:00 oclock in the morning, she again left for work (leaving appellant and Jovita in the house) and returned home at 8:00 oclock that evening. Anita recalled that during those two days, she did not notice any unusual incident that happened in their house.12
Upon cross-examination, Anita confessed that in December 1996 during Christmas time, she and appellant pleaded with Jovita not to file any complaint for rape against him. Appellant even "walked with his knees asking for forgiveness" from Jovitas elder brother.13
Romulo A. de Jesus, the last defense witness, testified that since 1993, appellant has been one of his trusted and hardworking employees in the International Distillers Philippines, Quezon City. Appellant was assigned to wash and clean bottles and deliver them to their clients, collect payments, issue sales invoices, and withdraw cash from the bank. He works from Monday through Friday and goes home Saturday. On December 9, 1996 (Monday), he reported for work. He (witness de Jesus) visited appellant at his detention cell in Novaliches Police Station, Quezon City, and came to know of the rape charge against him.
Upon cross-examination, de Jesus admitted that he did not maintain any daily time record of his employees attendance, and that when this case was investigated before the Fiscals Office, he did not execute any affidavit in favor of appellant.14
On August 27, 1997, the trial court rendered a Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
"WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in the following:
"The period during which the accused was detained at the City Jail of Quezon City shall be credited to the said accused in full provided that he agrees in writing to abide by and comply strictly with the rules and regulations of the said institution.
"With costs against the accused.
"IT IS SO ORDERED."15
Appellant, in his brief, ascribes to the trial court the following of errors:
The basic issue for our resolution is whether the prosecution has proved appellants guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
The law applicable to the cases at bar is Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, the pertinent portions of which provide:
"Art. 335. When and how rape is committed. Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:
"The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.
"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.
x x x." (Underscoring ours)
The elements of rape under the above provisions are: (1) the offender had carnal knowledge of the victim, and (2) such act was accomplished by using force or intimidation; or when the victim is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; or when the victim is under 12 years of age.
Jovita testified that appellant had carnal knowledge of her through force and intimidation, thus:
"PROSECUTOR RIO ESPIRITU on Direct Examination:
x x x
The trial court gave full faith and credence to Jovitas testimony, holding that she narrated her harrowing sexual ordeal at the hands of appellant "in a categorical, forthright, straightforward and clear manner without any pretensions that would tarnish the credibility of her testimony."18 It is doctrinally settled that the factual findings of the trial court which are supported by the records, especially on the credibility of the rape victim, are accorded great weight and respect and will not be disturbed on appeal in view of its advantage of having directly observed the demeanor of the witness while testifying.19
In fact, as carefully noted by the trial court, Jovita wept in shame and disgust while recounting how appellant sexually ravished her through force and intimidation. It is jurisprudentially recognized that when the victim cries while testifying in court, such act is an indication of truth born out of human nature and experience.20 Indeed, a Filipina with nary an evidence of loose morals, like the victim in this case, would not dare put her honor at stake by unraveling her tragic rape experience before a public trial and by having her sex organ examined by a doctor, if her story of defloration were not true.21
Moreover, Jovitas testimony that appellant sexually assaulted her on December 8 and 9, 1996 is sustained by the Medico-Legal Officers findings that the deep-healed lacerations at 3:00 and 9:00 oclock positions found in her hymen could have been inflicted about 20 days before the genital examination on December 27, 1996; and that they could have been caused by the insertion of a hard blunt object like an erect penis. The victims credible testimony, corroborated by the medical findings, is more than sufficient to establish the essential requisite of carnal knowledge.22
Significantly, Jovita positively identified the appellant as the one who sexually desecrated her womanhood on December 8 and 9, 1996. The well-established doctrine is that the victims positive identification of the accused as her rapist prevails over his unsubstantiated denials, which are merely negative and self-serving allegations that cannot be given any weight on the scale of justice.23
The appellant, in his brief, insists that Jovitas testimony is doubtful. He contends that her failure to immediately report the incidents to her sister and to the authorities, or to flee from the appellant despite her opportunity to do so, belie her allegations of rape.24
We are not persuaded.
There is no standard human behavioral response when one is confronted with a shocking, startling or horrifying event, such as the one experienced by Jovita. People react differently to such situation because the workings of a human mind are unpredictable. The innate differences in man make each one unique by himself. Mans actions and reactions cannot be stereotyped.25 Thus, a woman, despite real threats to her life, may instinctively flee from her lecherous captor, or resist vehemently the bestial attack against her person, or instantly call for help, or report the intrusion of her womanhood to the authorities and her relatives without delay.26 In the case at bar, Jovita reacted differently. During her cross-examination, she explained her reaction in the following manner:
Clearly, Jovita was overwhelmed with fear before, during and immediately after the two traumatic events. She was extremely afraid that appellant might kill her and her sister Anita should she report the incidents to the authorities. We hold that her delay in divulging what transpired is reasonably justified and, therefore, cannot by itself diminish the probative value of her testimony.28
Appellant also claims that Jovita concocted these rape charges in order to force him to separate from Anita; and because he reported to Anita that he saw her (Jovita) and her boyfriend engaging in sex.
It is easily discernible that such claims are concoctions in appellants desperate attempt to exculpate himself from the present charges.
We fully agree with the trial courts finding that "Jovita was motivated to come to court in order to vindicate her honor and seek justice so that the accused may be made to answer for his misdeeds."29 For, as we have consistently held, a rape victim would not come out in the open and go through the humiliation of a public trial if her motive is not to seek redress and obtain justice.30
But what finally shatters appellants defense is the testimony of Anita, his very own witness and live-in partner, that few days after the rape incidents, or in "December 1996, during Christmas time," he walked on bended knees and asked forgiveness from her brother for molesting Jovita.31 Appellant did not dispute such testimony. He thus sealed his own fate by his virtual admission of guilt. Evidently, no one would ask for forgiveness unless he committed some wrong. And a plea for forgiveness by herein appellant may be considered as analogous to an attempt to compromise.32 In criminal cases, except those involving quasi-offenses or those allowed by law to be settled through mutual concessions, an offer of compromise by the accused may be received in evidence as an implied admission of guilt.33
Considering that appellant committed the crime with a qualifying circumstance, the use of a bolo, a deadly weapon,34 the prescribed penalty is reclusion perpetua to death, pursuant to Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, quoted earlier. Corollarily, Article 63 of the same Code provides:
"Art. 63. Rules for the application of indivisible penalties. In all cases in which the law prescribes a single indivisible penalty, it shall be applied by the courts regardless of any mitigating or aggravating circumstances that may have attended the commission of the deed.
"In all cases in which the law prescribes a penalty composed of two indivisible penalties, the following rules shall be observed in the application thereof:
Here, the prosecution failed to allege in the Informations and prove during the trial any aggravating or mitigating circumstance that attended the commission of the crime. The use of a deadly weapon was alleged in the Informations merely as a qualifying circumstance. Hence, pursuant to the above provisions, the lesser penalty of reclusion perpetua should be imposed upon appellant for each count of rape.35 In People vs. Joel Ayuda,36 we held: "Where no aggravating circumstance is alleged in the Information and proven during the trial, the crime of rape through the use of a deadly weapon may be penalized only with reclusion perpetua, not death."
With respect to appellants civil liability, we observed that the trial court awarded the victim only moral damages of
Additionally, we award the victim exemplary damages because the rapes were committed with the use of a deadly weapon.38 In People vs. Silverio Montemayor39 we declared: "x x x exemplary damages are justified under Article 2230 of the Civil Code if there is an aggravating circumstance, whether ordinary or qualifying." Since the qualifying circumstance of the use of a deadly weapon was present in the commission of the rapes subject of these cases, exemplary damages in the amount of
WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 95, Quezon City in Criminal Cases Nos. Q-97-69584-85 is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in the sense that appellant ARTURO MANAMBAY Y DIAMSON is ordered to pay complainant Jovita Salas, aside from moral damages,
Costs de oficio.
Vitug (Chairman), Corona, and Carpio-Morales, JJ., concur.
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