G. R. No. 146468 - November 13, 2002
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. ROQUE ABELLANO, Accused-Appellant.
D E C I S I O N
Roque Abellano was charged with the rape of his minor daughter, Analyn, in an Information that reads as follows:
"That sometime in the month of September, 1998, at nighttime, at Sitio Inangmaharang, Barangay Nagotgot, Municipality of Manito, Province of Albay, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with lewd and unchaste design, by means of force, threat and intimidation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with his own daughter, Analyn Abellano, 14 years of age, against her will and consent to her damage and prejudice."1
The prosecution's evidence2 shows that one night in September 1998, inside appellant's house at Sitio Inangmaharang, Barangay Nagotgot, Manito, Albay, Analyn Abellano, the fourteen (14) year old daughter of appellant,3 while sleeping beside her two younger sisters, was rudely awakened when she felt the hands of somebody removing her shorts. By the light coming from a kerosene lamp inside the room, she saw that it was her father removing her shorts. Analyn tried to repulse his advances by boxing, elbowing and kicking him. But he subdued her resistance as he was strong and threatened to kill her. He fondled her breast and kissed her. Appellant then shed his short pants, laid on top of her and forced his erect penis inside her vagina. After gratifying his lust, appellant again threatened to kill Analyn if she would report the matter to anybody. Analyn was subjected to the same sex ordeal "almost every night" for the month of September 1998.4 She was able to summon the courage to reveal the rapes to her older sister sometime in October or November 1998.5
Dra. Lily Melrose P. Camara (medico-legal officer) physically examined Analyn. The test results showed that: "The external vagina orifice offers no resistance. The orifice refers to the outer part of the vaginal canal. No resistance was observed, meaning when I inserted my index finger [these was] hardly no resistance. It was easy to insert my index finger and virgin sized vaginal speculum. (sic) x x x."6
The defense evidence came from the lone testimony of the appellant Roque Abellano, 55 years old, widower, farmer and a resident of Inangmaharang, Manito, Albay. He only finished Grade 2 and does not know how to read but can sign his name. His wife died eight (8) years ago. He has seven (7) children, Analyn being the fifth. Analyn, her older brother Arnulfo, and her two other younger sisters lived with him in their house at Inangmaharang. He was the one supporting them.
The appellant admitted living with Analyn and her two other younger sisters the whole month of September, 1998 at their house at Inangmaharang. He denied that he raped Analyn at nighttime in September of 1998. He could not offer any expalanation why Analyn charged him with rape.7 He said he was not cruel to her but kind and loving.8
The trial court convicted the accused and imposed on him the death penalty, viz:
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered sentencing the accused to suffer the extreme penalty of death. Having committed the crime with graver perversity, he is hereby ordered to indemnify the minor victim the amount of P75,000.00 pursuant to recent jurisprudence; to pay the amount of P50,000.00 for moral damages for the trauma and mental sufferings undergone by the minor victim and to pay the minor victim the additional amount of P20,000.00 representing exemplary damages, to serve as an example for the public good."9
Thus, this automatic review. In his Appellant's Brief, appellant posits only one assignment of error, to wit:
"THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF THE CRIME OF RAPE DESPITE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT."
In support of said assignment of error, appellant  points to contradictions in the testimony of Analyn,  bewails her long delay in reporting the rape case, and  demands that the rape victim must show that she has been "bodily violated, forcibly and against her will, and has brought the matter to the authorities out of righteous indignation."10
We affirm the conviction.
"ART. 266-A. Rape; when and how committed. -Rape is committed.
All the elements of the crime charged have been proven:  Appellant, through force and intimidation, had carnal knowledge of Analyn Abellana in September 1998;25  Exhibit "A" for the Prosecution shows Analyn was born on August 19, 1984, thus placing her at 14 when she was raped;26 and  Exhibit "A" likewise shows that appellant is the father of Analyn.27 In fine, the trial court correctly sentenced appellant to suffer the penalty of death.
With respect to the damages awarded, the trial court ordered appellant to pay his minor daughter P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages and an additional amount of P20,000.00 as exemplary damages. In line with recent jurisprudence, we increase the award for exemplary damages to P25,000.00.28
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 1, Legazpi City finding Roque Abellano guilty of rape and sentencing him to death is AFFIRMED29 with the MODIFICATION that the amount of exemplary damages is increased to P25,000.00.
In accordance with Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 25 of Republic Act No. 7659, upon finality of this Decision, let the records of this case be forwarded to the Office of the President for possible exercise of executive clemency.
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, , Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr., and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
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