July 1984 - Philippine Supreme Court Decisions/Resolutions
[G.R. No. L-40462. July 31, 1984.]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. GIL MUNAR, Defendant-Appellant.
The Solicitor General for Plaintiff-Appellee.
Geronimo F. Abellera, for Defendant-Appellant.
D E C I S I O N
The accused, Gil Munar, appeals his conviction for the crime of Rape by the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, Branch IX, on August 20, 1971, which sentenced him to an indeterminate penalty of ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision mayor as minimum to seventeen (17) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal as maximum, to indemnify the offended party, a mentally retarded girl of 19 years of age, in the sum of P5,000.00, and to pay the costs of suit. 1
In a Resolution, dated December 23, 1974, the Court of Appeals (now Intermediate Appellate Court) where the appeal was initially brought, certified the case to this Tribunal on the ground that since the lowest penalty prescribed for rape is reclusion perpetua, the same is within our exclusive appellate jurisdiction. 2 However, on January 30, 1984, in conformity with our ruling in People v. Daniel, 3 we returned the records of the case to the Intermediate Appellate Court for the determination of the proper penalty as the circumstances warrant, with a comprehensive written analysis of the evidence and discussion of the law involved, but the Intermediate Appellate Court shall refrain from entering judgment, and shall thereafter certify the case and elevate the entire records thereof to this Court for review.cralawnad
Conformably to that directive, on March 21, 1984, the Appellate Court, in a Decision penned by Justice Lorna S. Lombos-de la Fuente and concurred in by Justices Emilio A. Gancayco and Isidro C. Borromeo, found that the appealed judgment should be modified such that the imposable penalty shall be reclusion perpetua inasmuch as the rape was committed with the use of a deadly weapon, and its commission was not attended by any modifying circumstances. 4 The case is with us now for review, without any judgment having been entered in the Appellate Court.
Upon a careful review of the evidence, we sustain the factual findings and conclusions of law embodied in the Appellate Court’s judgment, and, therefore, adopt the same and append it as an integral part of this Decision (Annex "A").
The fact that complainant was feeble-minded, whose actual age at the time of the incident was 19 years but whose mental age was that of a 5-year-old child, does not affect her credibility. As stated by the Trial Court, her answers were intelligible enough to be understood. 5 She could convey her thoughts by words and signs. And, as the examining physician of the National Mental Hospital testified, the mental deficiency does not prevent her from recalling painful experiences. 6 She is a competent witness. 7 There may have been inconsistencies in her testimony, but the same are minor and do not detract from the vital fact that she had, in fact, been abused by the accused in the manner that she had narrated. Neither the Trial Court nor the Appellate Court, therefore, erred in giving weight and credence to her testimony, there being no improper motive shown. 8
The denials by the accused, specifically, that the complainant did not go to his store on the day the incident allegedly took place, and that he never had sexual intercourse with the complainant 9 do not deserve credence in the face of the positive and unwavering identification of the accused by the complainant. She testified that on March 2, 1967 when she went to buy starch from the accused in his store, the latter asked her to go inside and then with a knife in hand, forced her to lie down, then raised her dress, threw her panty away and had sexual intercourse with her. 10 That the carnal assault did take place is corroborated by the genital examination made by the Municipal Health Officer on the complainant. 11
The accused’s testimony that the motive of the complainant’s family in filing the trumped-up case against him was that the mother owes him P133.00 while the brother owes him P250.00 for goods taken on credit, for which he demanded payment, 12 was belied by complainant’s mother, who declared that they do not owe money to the accused. 13 In fact, the accused himself testified that he stopped extending credit to complainant’s family since 1964 and did not collect the debt anymore. 14
Considering that the rape was committed with the use of a knife, a deadly weapon, and in the absence of any modifying circumstances attending its commission, the penalty of reclusion perpetua conforms to Article 335 in relation to Article 63(2) of the Revised Penal Code.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary
WHEREFORE, we affirm the judgment of conviction imposed upon the accused, Gil Munar, and sentence him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, with the modification that the indemnification to the offended party is hereby increased to P15,000.00. Costs against the Accused-Appellant.
Plana, Relova and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.
Teehankee, J., concurs in the result.
De la Fuente, J., took no part.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT
FIRST CRIMINAL CASES DIVISION
(G.R. No. L-40462 — People of the Philippines v. Gil Munar)
AC-G.R. CR No. 12903 March 21, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. GIL MUNAR, Accused-Appellant.
The record shows that the accused Gil Munar was charged in the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, Branch IX, with the crime of Rape allegedly committed as follows, according to the corresponding Information:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"That on or about the 2nd day of March 1967, in Barrio Batakil, municipality of Pozorrubio, province of Pangasinan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused by the use of force and intimidation, did, then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have sexual intercourses with one Espirita Mapanao, a feeble-minded woman against the will and consent of the above-named victim; that the offense was committed with attendant aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation and craft was employed by the accused."cralaw virtua1aw library
and that after trial, the trial court found the accused guilty of the crime of rape in its decision dated August 20, 1971, the dispositive portion of which reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"WHEREFORE, the Court, finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape charged in the information, and there being no mitigating or aggravating circumstance present in the commission of the offense, hereby sentences him to an indeterminate sentence of TEN (10) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of prision mayor in its maximum period as minimum to SEVENTEEN (17) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY of reclusion temporal in its maximum period as maximum, and to indemnify the offended party in the sum of P5,000.00, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs of this suit."cralaw virtua1aw library
It also appears from the record that accused elevated aforesaid decision to the then Court of Appeals on appeal; that in a Resolution dated December 23, 1974, the Court of Appeals declared itself without jurisdiction over the appeal and forwarded the records of the case to the Supreme Court because under Republic Act No. 4111 which became effective on June 20, 1964, the lowest penalty prescribed for rape is reclusion perpetua
and all offenses where the penalty imposed by law is death or life imprisonment are under the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
However, the Supreme Court has, by letter dated January 30, 1984, returned the case to this Court "for the imposition of the proper penalty as the circumstances warrant, with a comprehensive written analysis of the evidence and discussion of the law involved, but the Intermediate Appellate Court refraining from entering judgment, and forthwith certifying the case[s] and elevating the entire records thereof to the Supreme Court for review." In compliance with abovestated directive, this Court submits the discussion of the case hereunder set forth.chanrobles.com.ph : virtual law library
The facts of the case as established by the evidence on record are as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
On March 2, 1967 at about noon (p. 13, tsn, March 18, 1969) Espirita Mapanao, a feeble-minded woman about nineteen years of age (p. 9, t.s.n., Sept. 10, 1969) with a mental age of five years (Exh. "B"), went to the store owned by the accused to buy starch as requested by her sister Siony (pp. 2, 11, 15, t.s.n. March 18, 1969). When Espirita was at the store, Accused
asked her to go inside the storeroom adjoining the store (p. 16, t.s.n., March 18, 1969) where he held her, forced her to lie down on the bed, raised her dress, threw her panty away, took out his penis and had sexual intercourse with her (pp. 3 & 4, t.s.n., March 18, 1969). Espirita wanted to shout but the accused held a knife about five inches in length (pp. 3, 16 and 17, t.s.n., March 18, 1969). The accused told her not to cry or tell anybody about the incident, warning her that if she did, he would get mad at her (pp. 18, 19 and 24, t.s.n., March 28, 1969). After the sexual intercourse, the accused gave Espirita four tablets with the order that she take the tablets in order to prevent her from becoming pregnant, and stating that if she did not take the tablets he would kill her (pp. 12, 16, t.s.n., Sept. 10, 1969); and she took two of the tablets (p. 5, t.s.n., March 18, 1969).
Appellant attributes to the trial court a single error, namely, "The lower court erred in convicting the accused on evidence which has not proven his guilt beyond reasonable doubt." Under this assignment of error, appellant assails Espirita’s competence as a witness. Appellant contends that Espirita’s testimony is shot through with inconsistencies in material points, thus making the said testimony highly unreliable, particularly referring to Espirita’s testimony that accused held a knife about 5 inches in length in threatening her before she was raped which she later changed to a bolo about 1 foot and 4 inches in length; and to her testimony that she was made to lie down on a bed under the house of the accused which she later changed to the floor of the storeroom. Appellant also refers to certain statements of Espirita which constitute grounds for discrediting her trustworthiness, such as her testimony that accused had carnal knowledge with her for one hour; that an hour after the intercourse she spat blood; that the complaint was filed at the instance of her brother and mother who owed the accused money; that the rape took place five years ago; that the head of a baby was more than five days old when it was removed from her womb by the physician; and that her mother and brother had approached the accused for a settlement of the case and demanded P2,000.00 from the accused and P300.00 "also for us." Appellant also points out that Espirita’s mother herself admits that Espirita does not remember things and sometimes does not know what she is talking about. Appellant likewise alludes to the testimony of Dr. Tomas Quinto that the vaginal orifice of the offended party admits one finger with resistance and that pain is evident when the finger is inserted, implying that her genital organ had not been penetrated by a male penis, as, for instance, by that of the 55-year old appellant. Appellant concludes that the testimonies of the abovementioned three witnesses engender grave doubt as to the commission by the accused of the crime of rape on the offended party.
We find appellant’s foregoing claims devoid of merit.
It bears emphasis, at the outset, that in many cases of rape, because of the nature of the offense, the only evidence that can be given to sustain the charge is the testimony of the offended party; and it has been held that if said testimony is credible, this testimony alone is sufficient to sustain the conviction of the accused (People v. Gan, 46 SCRA 667; People v. Selfaison, 110 Phil. 839).
In the present case, the trial court relied on the testimony of the offended party Espirita Mapanao, corroborated by the testimonies of Maria Caspillan Mapanao, Espirita’s mother, Dr. Tomas Quinto, the municipal health officer of Pozorrubio, Pangasinan, and Dr. Reynaldo Robles, a resident physician of the National Mental Hospital.
First of all, the offended party is a competent witness. The evidence shows that she is merely feeble-minded or mentally retarded whose actual age at the time when the crime was committed was 19 years but whose mental age was that of a five-year old child. The record shows that she was not insane and she could convey her ideas by words and signs. Therefore, she is not disqualified from becoming a witness pursuant to Section 19, Rule 130, of the Rules of Court, which disqualifies from being witnesses those "who are of unsound mind at the time of their production for examination, to such a degree as to be incapable of perceiving and making known their perception to others." Furthermore, the evidence shows that the offended party made sufficiently intelligent answers to the questions propounded to her as to how, where and by whom the crime of rape had been committed. Exactly in point is the case of People v. Daing, 49 O.G. 2336, which involved the crime of rape committed on a feeble-minded girl, 14 years of age, and wherein the court held that the offended party was a competent witness because, although it was shown during the trial that her mental capacities were not normally developed, she was able, through mumbled speech, signs and movements of her lips, to identify the appellant and to convey the general idea that she used to run errands for her mother; that she had been raped by the accused, her uncle, who covered her mouth before having carnal knowledge with her; and that she was mad at appellant because he forced her.cralawnad
In the case now before this Court, We find that notwithstanding her mental handicap, Espirita was able to give a clear and consistent narrative of how she was raped, declaring that she was told by the accused to go to the storeroom as the "gaw-gaw" was there; that she was forced to lie down by the accused, the accused holding a bladed instrument, which she referred to as a knife or a bolo and that accused had sexual intercourse with her. Throughout her testimony, she steadfastly stuck to her statement that the accused had sexual intercourse with her when she bought starch from him (pp. 7 & 13, tsn, March 18, 1969).
We find insignificant the inconsistencies between Espirita’s declaration that the accused held a bolo, contained in her sworn statement (Exh. "1") made before the municipal judge of Pozorrubio, Pangasinan, on the one hand, and her testimony in court, on the other hand, that accused held a knife 5 inches in length, and between the declaration in the same sworn statement that she was made to lie down on a mat on the floor and her testimony in court that she was forced to lie down on the bed. These are mere matters of insignificant details which do not pertain to facts of substance and value and would not affect the result of the case. For Espirita, as already stated, had been consistent and steadfast in her declaration that she had been the subject of sexual intercourse by the accused-appellant when she bought starch from the store of the latter and that she was threatened with a bladed instrument on that occasion.
The other statement made by Espirita — and referred to by appellant as indicative of her untrustworthiness as a witness — that the accused had carnal knowledge with her for one hour and she spat blood thereafter; that the rape took place five years ago; that the head of a baby was removed from her womb by a physician likewise must be dismissed as undeserving of serious consideration. Statements of such nature may be attributed to the mental retardation of the offended party and lapses such as these may be naturally expected of someone in her mental condition. At any rate, the statements refer merely to inconsequential matters which cannot defeat or negate her steadfast declarations on the fact that on the occasion of her buying starch from appellant’s store, she was the victim of sexual intercourse committed by appellant who held a bladed instrument and which took place in the storeroom beside the store.
Anent Espirita’s statements concerning the fact that her brother and mother owed the accused money and that the former had demanded P2,000.00 from the accused for the settlement of the case, suffice it to say that, even if these statements were true, this would not have affected the fact established convincingly by the evidence that Espirita was the victim of the crime of rape committed by the accused.
Neither should the testimony of the mother of Espirita that sometimes her daughter does not remember things nor knows what she is doing discredit Espirita’s testimony. Dr. Reynaldo Robles, the physician who made an examination of the mental condition of Espirita found and testified that Espirita is mentally retarded or deficient but not insane or psychotic; that imbeciles like Espirita can recall the daily or routinary activities which they had been doing and the harmful experiences which they may have gone through before; and that in the condition of mind in which Espirita was, she was in a position to remember what happened two or three years ago, especially those which are painful and shocking. The same physician further testified that it was significant that Espirita was steadfast in her statement that she was abused because, considering her age and intellectual condition, it could be a sign that she was telling the truth (pp. 42, 44, 47, tsn, Sept. 10, 1969).
The testimony of Dr. Tomas Quinto, the municipal health officer of Pozorrubio, Pangasinan, far from engendering doubt as to the commission by the accused of the crime of rape, indeed corroborates the testimonies of the other witnesses already mentioned. The said physician conducted a physical examination on Espirita on March 16, 1967 or about two weeks from the incident and the result of his examination of the victim’s genital organ was that sexual intercourse had indeed taken place with the victim (pp. 2, 3, 5; tsn, March 18, 1969). His statement in the medical certificate (Exh. "A") which he affirmed in court, that the "vaginal orifice admits one finger and with resistance" and that "pain is evident when the finger is inserted" does not militate against the conclusion that the offended party had been abused, considering that the medical examination was performed fourteen days after the offended party was abused and it is highly probable that the laceration had in the meantime healed. As a matter of fact, the same certificate expressly states that "the hymen had already been lacerated or raptured and its edges have already healed." At any rate, for rape to be consummated, proof of entrance of the male organ within the labia of the pudendum is sufficient (People v. Velasco, 73 SCRA 574).chanrobles lawlibrary : rednad
In fine, the trial court is correct in concluding that accused is guilty of the crime of rape. It has been held that sexual intercourse with a thirteen-year old child whose mental capacity is that of a five-year old child is rape (People v. Manlapaz, 88 SCRA 704, 719). A fortiori, sexual intercourse with the offended party in this case who is a 19-year old mental retardate with the mental age of a five-year old child constitutes rape.
Premises considered, We find that the trial court has not committed the error attributed to it by appellant in his sole assignment of error.
Inasmuch as the sexual intercourse by accused on the offended party was committed with the use of a bladed instrument, in other words a deadly weapon, it is, pursuant to Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, punishable by reclusion perpetua
to death. As the crime was not attended by any aggravating circumstance nor any mitigating circumstance, the penalty which should be and is imposed on the defendant-appellant, applying Article 63, paragraph 2, of the same Code, is reclusion perpetua
WHEREFORE, the decision under appeal is hereby affirmed but with the modification of the penalty as set forth in the immediately preceding paragraph.
Pursuant to the directive of the Supreme Court to this Court dated January 30, 1984, supra, We are refraining from entering this judgment and this case and the entire records thereof are herewith certified and elevated to the Supreme Court for review.
We concur:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
(SGD.) ISIDRO C. BORROMEO
(SGD.) EMILIO A. GANCAYCO
1. Original Record, pp. 260 & 261.
2. Rollo, p. 55.
3. 86 SCRA 511 (1978).
4. Rollo, p. 66.
5. Decision, p. 10; Original Record, p. 259.
6. T.s.n., September 10, 1969, pp. 42, 44 & 47.
7. vide People v. De Jesus, G.R. No. L-39087, April 27, 1984.
8. People v. Coderes, 104 SCRA 255 (1981); People v. Blas, 106 SCRA 305 (1981).
9. T.s.n., September 24, 1970, pp. 21 & 22.
10. T.s.n., March 18, 1969, continuation of Hearing pp. 1-4 & 15-17.
11. Exhibit "A", Original Record, p. 3.
12. T.s.n., September 24, 1970, p. 19.
13. T.s.n., September 10, 1969, p. 56.
14. T.s.n., September 24, 1970, pp. 26 & 27.