Criminal Law Digests – February 2001
PEOPLE V. REYNALDO DE VILLA
GR 124639; Feb1, 2001
Accused was charged of raping a 12yr old minor who is his niece by affinity.
Nature of Rape: Penalty; Whether the death penalty should be imposed
SIMPLE RAPE! RECLUSION PERPETUA! Although, art. 335, RPC says, death penalty shall be imposed when the victim is under 18 and the offender…is a relative by affinity within the third civil degree… such circumstances (minority and relationship) are in the nature of qualifying circumstances which should be alleged in the information and proved at the trial (Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, Dec1, 2000). IN THIS CASE, the prosecution failed to allege the relationship of the accused with the victim, Thus the accused cannot be convicted of qualified rape punishable by death but only simple rape punishable by reclusion perpetua.
PEOPLE V. FERNANDEZ
GR 137647; Feb.1, 2001
Accused was charged of raping the 15yr old daughter of his common law spouse.
SIMPLE RAPE! RECLUSION PERPETUA! Although art.335 of the RPC says that death penalty shall be imposed when the victim is under 18 and the offender is …the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim… having been charged only of simple rape in the information, the accused is held guilty only of simple rape with the penalty of reclusion perpetua
PEOPLE V. LAUT, ET AL.
GR 137751; Feb1, 2001
The three accused were charged of murder.
GUILTY! The Defense of self-defense and alibi was outweighed by the positive and categorical eyewitness accounts corroborated by the extent of hack wounds on the victim; MURDER! The killing was qualified by abuse of superior strength.
PEOPLE V. BAYOD
GR 122664; Feb 5, 2001
Accused was charged with murder and frustrated homicide
Accused is GUILTY of MURDER and FRUSTRATED MURDER not frustrated HOMICIDE. There was intent to kill and treachery, accused and his companions ganged up with advantage in number and strength, in both instances; a felony is frustrated when the offender performs all the acts of execution which would produce the felony as a consequence which nevertheless, do not produce it by reason or causes independent of the will of the perpetrator. In this case, timely medical attention.
PEOPLE V. BAYANG
GR 134402; Feb 5, 2001
Accused was charged of robbery with homicide
GUILTY and sentenced to reclusion perpetua under art. 294, RPC. Although there were NO eyewitness accounts of the robbery with homicide, the circumstantial evidence presented was sufficient to convict. Under the revised rules on evidence, circumstantial evidence is sufficient, when a) there is more than one circumstance; b) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and c) the combination of all circumstances is such as to produce conviction beyond reasonable doubt. In affirming convictions beyond reasonable doubt the degree of proof required is NOT proof that excludes all possibility of error but only moral, not absolute certainty, is what the fundamental law requires.
PEOPLE V. PABILLANO
GR 108618; Feb.6, 2001
Accused was found guilty of the complex crime of robbery with homicide by the trial court.
Accused are guilty or robbery with homicide and were sentenced to reclusion perpetua; Alibi is a weak defense. It should be rejected when the identity of the accused is sufficiently and positively established by eyewitnesses to the offense. Note there is no law that a police line-up is an essential requisite to proper identification.
PEOPLE V. LOYOLA
GR 126026; Feb.6, 2001
The trial court sentenced the accused to reclusion perpetua for the
rape of a 16yr old girl while aboard a bus.
Accused is guilty and was sentenced to reclusion perpetua. The defenses of alibi and denial by the accused were found unavailing in the face of positive and credible testimony of prosecution witnesses. Note, no young Filipina of decent repute even in modern times, would publicly admit she had been raped unless that was the truth. Accused was not able to prove that he and the victim were indeed lovers. Likewise, the claim of lack of force or intimidation cannot prevail. The TEST is whether the threat or intimidation produces a reasonable fear in the mind of the victim that is she resists or does not yield to the desires of the accused, the threat would be carried out. Where resistance would be futile, offering none at all does not amount to consent to sexual assault. Lastly, an offer of marriage which occurred in this case is an admission of guilt.
PEOPLE V. RAYOS
GR 133823; Feb.7,2001
Accused was charged of raping a 9yr. old girl
Accused is guilty and sentenced to DEATH in accordance with art 335 of the RPC (as amended by RA 7659) or where on the occasion of a rape homicide was committed, the penalty is death. ! The guilt of the accused was established through circumstantial evidence, taken in entirety unmistakably pointing to guilt. Circumstantial evidence may be resorted in the absence of eyewitnesses and is sufficient for conviction if, a)there is more than one circumstance; b) the facts from which that inferences were derived are proven; and c) the combination of all circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.
PEOPLE V. FRANCISCO
GR 135200; Feb.7,2001
The trial court found the accused guilty of qualified rape sentencing him to death for raping his daughter.
SIMPLE RAPE with the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua; The prosecution failed to allege the qualifying circumstance of relationship between the accused and the victim in the information. This is not a mere technicality but a concept of due process as provided in the Constitution.
PEOPLE V. CORDERO
GR 136894-96; Feb.7, 2001
Accused, a 63-yr-old was charged of 3 counts of rape of the Nana sisters, one was 13 and the other 15.
GUILTY and sentenced to reclusion perpetua on each information charged. The assertions of the accused cannot stand against the testimonies and positive identification of the two rape victims. Alibi is weak and age is not a determinant of the inability to have carnal knowledge rather it is impotency, which nonetheless should be proven by the defense.
PEOPLE V. RONDILLA
GR 134368; Feb.8,2001
The accused was sentenced to death by the trial court in accordance with art 335 of the RPC for raping his own daughter.
The accused is guilty but only of simple rape for the prosecution merely charged him of simple rape. Nonetheless he is guilty and was sentenced to reclusion perpetua. Hardly can any defense stand a chance against the unimpeached testimony of the young victim in great detail the sexual assault. The testimony is even given greater weight when the victim accuses a close relative.
PEOPLE V. NAVARRO
GR 132696 Feb.12,2001
Accused was convicted by the trial court for the crime of murder with the use of an unlicensed firearm.
GUILTY! Trial court Affirmed and the accused was sentenced to reclusion perpetua. The crime was murder because the killing was attended with treachery. There was no opportunity for the deceased to retaliate or defend himself, the particular means employed which was the use of a motor vehicle, and, the circumstance of nighttime, all point to the nature of the killing. On the issue of the firearm, there can be no separate conviction for the illegal use of a firearm. As the law now stands, this is merely considered as an aggravating circumstance (P.D. 1866 as amended by RA 8294). Since the death penalty was not yet effective at the time of the offense, the penalty is reclusion perpetua. The original penalty for murder was reclusion temporal but since there was an aggravating circumstance of the use of an unlicensed firearm, the penalty was raised to reclusion perpetua.
PEOPLE. V. OPTANA
GR 133922; Feb.12,2001
4 information for the violation of the sec. 5 RA7610 (Special Protection of Children against Child Abuse) and 4 informations for rape were filed against the accused.
The SC affirms the decision of the trial court convicting the accused for one incident of rape, sentencing him to reclusion perpetua and one charge violating RA7610, sentencing him to suffer 8yrs and 1 day of prison mayor as minimum to 17 yrs. and 4mos of reclusion temporal as maximum. The other informations failed to be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Likewise, charging the accused with two different offenses for the same act committed on the same date against the same victim is erroneous and illegal except where the law itself so allows. This is not allowed by RA7610. It specifically provides that in instances where the victim is under 12, the
case should fall under art. 335 of the RPC, thus only cases where the victim is over 12 but under 18 can fall under this law. In the case at bar, where the accused was charged for several occasions of rape and abuse the conviction or acquittal on the informations was based on the age of the child, the concept of non-multiplicity of suits, and the evidence presented. Thus, only one rape case prospered (incident when the child was below 12) and one violation of RA7610 (when the child was above 12 but below 18).
PEOPLE V. VELASCO
GR 128089; Feb13,2001
The accused was indicted for parricide under art 246 of the RPC for the killing of his wife.
The accused is guilty of parricide and was sentenced to reclusion perpetua. Parricide is committed when 1) a person is killed; 2)the deceased is killed by the accused; 3)the deceased is the…or the legitimate spouse of the accused. The key element is the relation of the offender to the victim. In case of a marital relationship the best evidence is the marriage certificate. The own testimony of the accused as married to the victim may also be taken as an admission against penal interest. The case was proved through circumstantial evidence sufficiently establishing the malefactor, destroying the presumption of innocence, and fulfilling the standard of moral certainty. Circumstantial evidence may be resorted in the absence of eyewitnesses and is sufficient for conviction if, a)there is more than one circumstance; b) the facts from which that inferences were derived are proven; and c) the combination of all circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. Further, a conviction based on such can be upheld if the circumstances established would lead to a fair and reasonable conclusion pointing to the accused, to the exclusion of all others, as the author of the crime.
PEOPLE V. PEREZ
GR 134756; Feb.13,2001
Accused was found guilty of murder and sentenced to reclusion perpetua by the trial court.
Accused is guilty of murder. A frontal attack does not necessarily rule out treachery. Although the shots were taken facing the accused, according to witnesses, the victim was eating merienda with her back turned to the accused when he came; the victim only stood and faced him after he cursed her. The accused deliberately sought the manner of the attack, going to the victim’s barangay, armed with a pistol, approaching the victim from behind and shooting her at close range. Treachery was present. The attack was sudden and the victim was defenseless, had no opportunity to escape, and lastly, there was no risk to the accused when he fired his gun.
PEOPLE V. GUZMAN
GR 117952-53; Feb.14,2001
The accused was found guilty by the trial court of violating RA 6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972).
The accused is GUILTY. The accused was caught in flagrante delicto, possessing an unlicensed firearm. The search conducted thereafter was valid. It was within the immediate control of the arrested person. Likewise, the drugs and paraphernalia obtained where in plain view of the police when the accused was arrested. Quoting PEOPLE v. Khor, the elements of illegal possession of dangerous drugs are: 1) the accused is in possession of an item or object which is identified as a prohibited drug; 2) such possession is not authorized by law; and 3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug. All elements concurring, the accused is thus guilty. Lastly, the accused failed to quash the information against him before arraignment thus he is estopped from questioning the legality of his arrest.
PEOPLE V. YBANEZ
GR 136257; Feb.14, 2001
Accused was charged of raping a 10yr old girl who is the daughter of his common law spouse. He was sentenced to death by the trial court.
Accused was sentenced by the SC to reclusion perpetua convicting him only of simple rape. The prosecution failed to indicate the relationship of the accused to the victim in the information thus merely charging Ybanez of simple rape. Convicting the accused of an offense not specifically charged in the complaint is a violation of his right to due process.
PEOPLE V. AVECILLA
GR117033; Feb.15, 2001
Accused was charged of qualified illegal possession of a firearm; accused willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously with intent to kill, and actually killing a victim as a consequence, possess and carry an unlicensed firearm.
Conviction and Retroactivity of RA8294 (An act Amending the Provisions of PD 1866)
SC dismissed the case. Originally he could have been convicted of illegally possessing a firearm separately from his conviction on the killing that occurred as a consequence thereof, which happened in 1991. With the passage of RA 8294 in 1997 amending PD1866, the possession of an unlicensed firearm has become merely an aggravating circumstance to a murder or homicide charge. As a general rule, penal laws have prospective effect EXCEPT where the new law will be advantageous to the accused, as in this case, sparing him of two separate convictions.
PEOPLE V. PAGDAYAWON
GR 130522; Feb.15,2001
Accused, a police officer was charged of raping his 11yr. Old stepdaughter. Both circumstances, minority and relationship was indicated in the complaint. The trial court sentenced the accused to death.
The accused is guilty. The witness is credible and there was indeed force and intimidation in the act. The penalty prescribed by the trial court was also correct. Under art335 of the RPC, death penalty shall be imposed when the victim is under 18 and the offender is the stepparent of the victim. Such information was formally included in the charge.
PEOPLE V. B. TUMANON
GR 135066, Feb.15, 2001
The accused were charged on murder.
The accused are guilty of murder. There was abuse of superior strength shown through superiority in number and the use of arms. To take advantage of superior strength is to use force out of proportion to the means available to the person attacked to defend himself. Conspiracy was also present. It is not necessary that there be a previous plan or agreement to commit the assault. It is sufficient that at the time of the aggression, all the accused, by their acts, gave evidence of common intent to kill the victim, so that the act of one becomes the act of all and all of them will thus be liable as principals.
PEOPLE v. NAAG
GR No. 136394; Feb. 15, 2001
Accused was charged and found guilty by the lower court of the special complex crime of robbery with rape.
Was there rape? Was he guilty of the special complex crime of robbery with rape?
There was rape. In rape cases, what is material is that there is penetration no matter how slight. The only essential point is to prove the entrance or at least the introduction of the male organ into the labia of the pudendum. The moment the accused¹s penis knocks at the door of the of the pudenda it suffices to constitute the crime of rape. Accused is guilty of separate crimes of rape and theft. Facts show that the primary intent of accused was to rape the victim and not to rob her. Moreover, the crime of taking away the property is theft and not robbery because of the absence of violence and intimidation.
PEOPLE v. MACAYA
GR No. 137185-86; Feb 15, 2001
Accused was charged of raping the two children of his common-law spouse in two separate complaints and was found guilty in both cases and was sentenced to reclusion perpetua in one case and death in the other.
NO. The accused was charged only with simple rape. Under Art. 355 of the Revised Penal Code, the death penalty shall be imposed when rape is committed against a victim who is under 18 years of age, and the offender among other circumstances, is the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim. But these circumstances must be alleged in the complaint or information. Otherwise, even if the minority of the victim and the relationship of the victim and the accused are established during the trial, he cannot be punished for a graver offense than that with which he is charged. He can only be convicted of simple rape the imposable penalty for which is reclusion perpetua.
PEOPLE v. ALBIOR
GR No. 115079; Feb 19, 2001
Accused was charged and found guilty by the lower court of rape and was sentenced to a penalty of reclusion perpetua.
Is the absence of spermatozoa in the victim¹s genitalia negate rape? Do minor inconsistencies in victim¹s testimonies destroy credibility?
Absence of spermatozoa in the victim¹s genitalia does not negate rape. Further, as for appellant¹s claim that the victim did not suffer complete lacerations and other signs of physical violence, suffice it to say that even the absence of hymenal laceration does not rule out sexual abuse, especially when the victim is of tender age. Nor is it necessary for the victim to suffer external injuries in order for the crime of rape to be established. As for the minor inconsistencies, these are badges of truthfulness and candor for they erase the suspicion the testimony was
rehearsed. Also, victims are not expected to have a total recall of the incident.
PEOPLE v. NAVARRA
GR No. 119361, Feb 19, 2001
The accused-appellants were charged and found guilty by the RTC of illegal recruitment committed in a large scale resulting to economic sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Did the RTC err in disregarding their defense of denial and in finding them guilty of the offense charged.
Denials, without clear and convincing evidence to support them, can not sway judgement. They are self-serving statements and are inherently weak. Decision of lower court affirmed. Illegal recruitment has 2 essential elements: first, the offender has no valid license or authority required by law to enable him to lawfully engage in recruitment or placement of workers; second, the offender undertakes any activity within the meaning of recruitment and placement defined under Article 13 (b), or any prohibited practices enumerated under Art 34 of the Labor Code. A non-licensee or non-holder of authority means any person, corporation or entity without a valid license or authority to engage in recruitment or placement from the Secretary of Labor, or whose license or authority has been suspended, revoked or cancelled by the POEA or the Sec. of Labor.
Under Article 13 (b) of the Labor Code, recruitment and placement refer to, any
act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring, or procuring workers, and includes referrals, contract services, promising, or advertising for employment, locally or abroad, for profit or not: Provided, that any person or entity which in any manner, offers or promises for a fee employment to 2 or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment or placement. Accused-appellants committed acts of recruitment and placement, such as promises to the complainants of profitable employment abroad and acceptance of placement fees. They were also not authorized to recruit workers for overseas employment as certified by the DOLE. Art. 38 (b) of the Labor Code provides that illegal recruitment shall be considered an offense involving economic sabotage if any of the following qualifying circumstances exists: first, when illegal recruitment is committed by a syndicate; second when it is committed in a large scale, committed against three or more persons individually or as a group.
PEOPLE v. BLAZO
GR No. 127111; Feb 19, 2001
Accused was charged and found guilty of rape and was sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
Whether the prosecution proved the accused¹s guilt beyond reasonable doubt?
Delay in criminal accusation is not an indication of a fabricated charge, if such charge is satisfactorily explained. A young girl, such as the victim in this case, cannot be expected to have the courage and intelligence of a mature woman to immediately report her defilement, especially when accompanied by a death threat. A medical examination and a medical certificate are merely corroborative and are not indispensable to the prosecution of a rape case. Lacerations of the hymen, while considered as the most telling and irrefutable physical evidence of a penile invasion, are not always necessary to establish the commission of rape, where other evidence is available to show consummation
PEOPLE v. MURILLO
GR No. 128851-56; Feb 19, 2001
Accused were charge and found guilty of rape and were sentenced to death.
Whether the penalty of death was correct?
NO. The death sentence given to the accused was based on the following attendant circumstances: first, the victim is under the custody of the police or military officers, and second, when committed by and member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the Philippine National Police or any law enforcement agency. To merit the punishment of death, these circumstances must be properly alleged in the information. For the prosecution¹s failure to do so, these circumstances cannot be appreciated as aggravating circumstances, therefore the proper penalty is reclusion perpetua.
PEOPLE v. MOLINA
GR No. 133917; Feb 19, 2001
Accused were charged and found guilty of violating the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 for having in their possession 946.9 grams of marijuana and were sentenced to death.
NO. Accused-appellants manifested no outward indication that would justify their arrest. In holding a bag on board a trisikad, accused-appellants could not be said to be committing, attempting to commit, or have committed a crime. There was no probable cause in arresting the accused thus making the arrest illegal. Because the arrest was illegal, so was the search made by the police officers. This being the case, the evidence is inadmissible and the accused are found not guilty of the alleged offense.
PEOPLE vs AWING
GR No. 133919-20; Feb 19, 2001
Accused was charged and found guilty of 2 counts of rape against his stepdaughter.
Whether the lower court gave him the correct sentence of death?
NO. Sec. 11 of R.A. No. 7659 imposes the death penalty when the rape victim is under 18 years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, stepparent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the victim¹s parent. Both the age of the offended party and the filiation or kinship with the accused must be alleged in the information as part of the constitutional right of the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. In this case, complainant¹s age n the accusatory portion of the informations were omitted, hence appellant was only charged of simple rape and not qualified rape. The proper penalty to be imposed to the appellant is reclusion perpetua and not death.
PEOPLE v. TOLENTINO
GR No. 139834; Feb 19, 2001
Accused was charged and convicted for committing the crime of rape.
Victim will not go through the humiliation if it is not to seek justice, hence her testimony is credible. Also, there was no showing that the victim was impelled by ill motive to testify against the accused. Conviction for rape may be based on circumstantial evidence when the victim cannot testify on the actual commission of the rape because she was unconscious when the act was committed, provided that one circumstance is duly proved and the totality or the unbroken chain of the circumstances proven lead to no other logical conclusion than accused¹s guilt.
PEOPLE v. MUSTAPA
GR No. 141244; Feb. 19, 2001
Accused was charged and found guilty of violating Sec. 16 of RA No 6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act) and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
Whether the court erred in not appreciating the accused¹s testimony denying ownership of bag containing shabu?
Lower Court¹s decision affirmed. Denial is a weak form of defense, particularly when it is not substantiated by clear and convincing evidence. The defense of denial or frame-up, like alibi, has been viewed by courts with disfavor for it can easily be concocted and is a common and standard defense ploy in most prosecutions for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act. Also, issues raised by the defense are factual and involves credibility of witnesses, a matter addressed to the trial court because it is in a better position to decide such questions. It is a well-entrenched doctrine that the trial court¹s findings are entitled to the highest degree of respect and will not be disturbed on appeal. Also, minor inconsistencies or discrepancies in the testimony of prosecution witnesses refer merely to minor details and does not impair the credibility of witnesses. Witnesses are not expected to remember everything that happened in exact detail, since a long time has already lapsed.
PEOPLE v. CONSEJERO
GR No. 118334; Feb 20, 2001
Accused-appellant was charged and found guilty of the crime of robbery with homicide and was sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
Whether accused-appellant was guilty beyond reasonable doubt?
The circumstances proved constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair conclusion, that the appellant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The circumstances or a combination thereof should point to overt acts of the appellant that would logically lead to the conclusion that the appellant is guilty. Rule 113, Sec 4 of the Rules of Court provides the requisites for the sufficiency of circumstantial evidence: a) there is more than one circumstance; b) facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and c) combination of all the circumstances is such to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. However, the crime committed was not robbery with homicide; in this case, the primary purpose of the accused was not to rob but to take the life of the victim, the taking of property came only as an afterthought subsequent to the killings. The crimes committed are separate offenses of homicide, murder, and theft.
PEOPLE v. TIO
GR Nos. 132482-83; Feb 20, 2001
Accused was charged and found guilty of committing the crime of murder qualified by treachery and with the aggravating circumstance of use of unlicensed firearm and sentenced him to reclusion perpetua.
Whether relationship of witnesses to the victim affects their credibility?
NO. Relationship per se does no give rise to a presumption of bias or ulterior motive, nor does it ipso facto impair the credibility or tarnish the testimony of the witnesses. The eyewitnesses were not shown to have any ill feeling or resentment against the appellant as to prevaricate and impute upon him a heinous crime. Besides, there is also a mere chance witness that pointed to the appellant as the assailant and whose account of the incident coincided with the accounts of the other witnesses. Moreover, the eyewitness accounts of the prosecution witnesses not only reinforced and corroborated each other but were also confirmed by the physical evidence.
PEOPLE v. ENDINO
GR. No. 133026; Feb 20, 2001
The crime of murder was charged against accused Endino and accused-appellant Galgarin. Galgarin was arrested and convicted for the crime of murder qualified by treachery, while on the other hand Endino remained at large.
Admission of videotaped confessions is proper. The interview was recorded on video and it showed accused-appellant unburdening his guilt willingly, openly and publicly in the presence of newsmen. Such confession does not form part of custodial investigation, as it was not given to police officers but to media men in an attempt to elicit sympathy and forgiveness from the public.
PEOPLE v. DE LEON
GR No. 124297; Feb 21, 2001
Accused-appellant was charge and convicted of several counts of the crime of rape and was sentenced to suffer the penalty of death.
GUILTY. Rule 110, Sec. 11 provides that it is not necessary for the information to allege the exact date and the time of the commission of the crime is such is not an essential ingredient of the offense. In the crime of rape, the date of the commission is not an essential element. The delay in reporting the crime committed can also be attributed to the tender age of the victim and the moral ascendancy of the accused over the victim. Oftentimes, a rape victim’s actions are moved by fear rather than by reason, and because of this, failure of the victim to report the crime immediately is not indicative of fabrication. Also, victims are not expected to recall the exact and accurate account of their traumatic experiences. However, accused cannot be sentenced to death because the information against him failed to allege victim¹s minority and her relationship to the accused. RA 7659 enumerates the circumstances that justify the imposition of the death penalty. Consistent with the accused¹s right to be informed of the nature and the cause of the accusation against him, these circumstances must be specifically pleaded or alleged with certainty in the information and proven during the trial. Accused is guilty only of simple rape and sentenced only to reclusion perpetua on each count of rape.
PEOPLE V. ZUNIEGA
GR 126117; Feb. 21,2001
Accused was charged for the murder of a certain Aujero.
Accused is guilty of murder and sentenced to reclusion perpetua (since the accused was found guilty by the trial court prior to the effectivity of the death penalty law the proper penalty is reclusion perpetua). The facts show that the accused perpetrated the crime in such a way that he easily rendered his victim totally defenseless, with no opportunity to escape or defend himself, and without the slightest provocation. NOTE: 1)The circumstance that the judge who penned the decision did not personally hear the testimonies of witnesses does not disturb the decision more so when the judgment is supported by evidence on record such as the transcript of stenographic notes. 2) Failure of a witness to reveal at once the identity of the perpetrator of a felony does not impair the credibility of the witness more so if the delay has been adequately explained, such as due to fear of a great danger to his life and/or his family.
PEOPLE V. BOLIVAR
GR130597; Feb. 21, 2001
Three accused were charged of murder.
The accused were guilty of murder and were sentenced to reclusion perpetua. The accused alibi cannot prosper against positive identification of prosecution witnesses. For alibi to prosper 2 requisites must concur: 1) accused must prove that he was at another place at the time of the crime; and 2)the accused must demonstrate that it would be physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime at the time it was committed. The court also found that there was conspiracy, as inferred from the acts of the accused before, during and after the crime, which are indicative of a joint purpose, concerted action, and concurrence of sentiments.
PEOPLE V. VELASQUEZ
GR132635 & 143872-75; Feb. 21, 2001
Accused was found guilty by the trial court of Acts of Lasciviousness against his 2 yr. old granddaughter and the crime of Rape against his alleged stepdaughter who is a minor. He was sentenced to death for the rape.
SC found the accused guilty of acts of lasciviousness and simple rape which modified his sentence for the rape to reclusion perpetua. NOTE: (A)On the 1st charge: acts of lasciviousness… 1)By failing to invoke the lack of a preliminary investigation during the trial, the court deems that the accused has waived the same; 2)The testimony of the mother of the 2 yr. Old child/victim is sufficient considering the victim’s age and the medical examination conducted. B) On 2nd charge: rape of his alleged minor stepdaughter…1)The sole testimony of the victim is sufficient; 2) The three yr. delay in the filing of a complaint does not necessarily mean that the charge was fabricated. The delay was due to fear; 3) The penalty for the rape is reclusion perpetua since the court found the marriage of the accused to the victim’s mother as doubtful, the information against the accused being different from what was actually proven, that the relationship of the accused to the victim is one of daughter of a common law spouse, the crime was considered as only simple rape punishable by reclusion perpetua.
PEOPLE V. MANALO
GR 135964-71; Feb. 21, 2001
Accused was charged of 8 counts of rape of two minors (4 counts of rape for each child). One was 6 yrs. old and the other 7.
The accused is guilty and is sentenced to death. According to art.335 of the RPC, the death penalty shall be imposed if rape is committed on a child below seven yrs. of age.
PEOPLE v. FERNANDO SABALAN
G.R. No. 134529. February 26, 2001.
Accused was convicted of incestuous rape (raped 12-yr old daughter), and meted out with the supreme penalty of death.
The SC affirmed the decision of the lower court, but lowered the penalty to reclusion perpetua. The settled rule is that when the issue involves the credibility of a witness, the trial court’s assessment is entitled to great weight, even finality, unless it is shown that it was tainted with arbitrariness or there was an oversight of some fact or circumstance of weight and influence.
It must be stressed that the law does not impose upon a rape victim the burden of proving resistance, particularly when intimidation is exercised upon the victim and the latter submits herself to the rapist’s will for fear for life or personal safety. It suffices that the threat or intimidation produces a reasonable fear in the mind of the victim that if she resists or does not yield to the desires of the accused-appellant, the threat would be carried out.
Accused was meted out with the penalty of reclusion perpetua, since the special circumstance of minority of the victim and her relationship to the offender was not alleged and proven. In the case at bar, the information alleged the special qualifying circumstance of relationship and minority. The prosecution evidence, however, is insufficient to prove the minority of the victim. Besides the bare declaration of the victim as to her age, there was no independent evidence presented by the prosecution that could accurately show her age. We have held that the minority of the victim must be proved with equal certainty and clearness as the crime itself. Failure to sufficiently establish the victim’s age will bar any finding of rape in its qualified form.
PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. RAYMUNDO VISAYA
G.R. No. 136967 February 26, 2001
Accused was convicted of murder (with circumstances of treachery and conspiracy), and meted out with the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
The SC affirmed the decision of the lower court. It is well settled that conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a crime and decide to commit it. The presence of the element of conspiracy among the accused can be proven by their conduct before, during or after the commission of the crime showing that they acted in unison with each other, evincing a common purpose or design. In such case, the act of one becomes the act of all, and each of the accused will thereby be deemed equally guilty of the crime committed. The prosecution was able to establish that accused and the other suspects, by their acts at the time of the aggression, manifested a common intent or desire to kill the victim, so that the act of Visaya became also the act of appellant Ocampo. Moreover, their coordinated escape from the crime scene when somebody shouted “sibat na” confirmed the existence of conspiracy.
With regard to the circumstance of treachery, it exists when the offender employs means, methods, or forms in the execution of the offense which tend directly and specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make. In the case at bar, the evidence showed that the unsuspecting victim was completely unprepared for the unexpected attack as he was facing a wall and totally deprived of a chance to ward off or escape from the criminal assault.
THE PEOPLE v. EDGAR CAWAYAN y CRUZ
G.R. No. 128117. February 28, 2001.
Accused was found guilty of murder attended by the generic aggravating circumstance that the crime was committed in the dwelling of the offended party (morada), but offset by the alternative mitigating circumstance of intoxication. He was sentenced to the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua.
The SC affirmed the decision of the lower court. Two witnesses, Vilma and Maricris, positively identified accused-appellant as the assailant. Accused’s alibi cannot overcome the eyeball testimonies, especially since it has not been shown that it was impossible for him to be physically at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission. For the defense of alibi to prosper, it is not enough that the accused can prove his being at another place at the time of its commission; it is likewise essential that he can show physical impossibility for him to be at the locus delicti.
PEOPLE v. DANIEL MAURICIO Y PEREZ
G.R. No. 133695. February 28, 2001.
The trial court found accused guilty of raping his 11-yr old daughter and sentenced him to death. He was also found guilty of attempted rape in the other case, and sentenced to seventeen (17) years, four (4) months, and one (1) day to twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal maximum.
With regard to the first criminal case, the SC convicted the accused of simple rape, punishable by reclusion perpetua. In the case at bar, although the Information did properly allege the complainant’s minority, it failed to specify the relationship between the complainant and accused-appellant. It is not enough that the relationship was subsequently proved during the trial. Both relationship and minority must be alleged in the Information to qualify the crime as punishable by death.
With regard to the second criminal case, the SC ruled that the evidence on record cannot sustain a conviction for attempted rape. There is an attempt when the offender commences the commission of a felony directly by overt acts, and does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the felony by reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance. Applying the above definition to the facts of the case, it would be stretching the imagination to construe the act of the accused of throwing the victim to her bed as an overt act that will “logically and necessarily ripen” into rape. The external act must have a direct and necessary connection with the crime that the accused intended to commit. Whether accused indeed intended to commit the crime of rape cannot be seen merely from this particular act. Thus, accused should be acquitted of the charge of attempted rape.
PEOPLE v. CASTANITO GANO
G.R. No. 134373 February 28, 2001
Accused was convicted of the crime of robbery with homicide, and sentenced to the penalty of death. The core issue now before us is whether the three (3) killings should be appreciated as separate aggravating circumstances to warrant the imposition of the penalty of death.
The SC found the accused guilty of robbery with homicide, but imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua. It should be noted that there is no law providing that the additional rape/s or homicide/s should be considered as aggravating circumstance. The enumeration of aggravating circumstances under Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code is exclusive as opposed to the enumeration in Article 13 of the same Code regarding mitigating circumstances where there is specific paragraph (paragraph 10) providing for analogous circumstances.
It is true that the additional rapes (or killings in the case of multiple homicide on the occasion of the robbery) would result in an “anomalous situation” where from the standpoint of the gravity of the offense, robbery with one rape would be on the same level as robbery with multiple rapes. However, the remedy lies with the legislature. A penal law is liberally construed in favor of the offender and no person should be brought within its terms if he is not clearly made so by the statute.
PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. BLESIE VELASCO
G.R. Nos. 135231-33 February 28, 2001
The accused was convicted of 3 counts of rape (rape of his 12-yr old stepdaughter), and sentenced to death for each count.
The SC affirmed the decision of the lower court. In qualified rape, the concurrence of the minority of the victim and her relationship to the offender must both be alleged and proved with certainty, otherwise the death penalty cannot be imposed.
Since the allegation of minority (twelve 12 years old) in the Informations was established by the complainant herself, who is considered competent to testify on her age as it constitutes an assertion of family tradition, 67 and by the open admission of the accused as well as the categorical finding of the trial court, then such fact is deemed established with certainty. In this case, the birth certificate or any other official document proving minority serves no other purpose than to corroborate the testimonies of the competent witnesses and the categorical finding of the trial court.
The second circumstance to be established is the relationship of the accused to the complaining witness. In this case, such a relationship was also shown by the testimonies of witnesses.
PEOPLE v. FILOMENO SERRANO
G.R. No. 137480 February 28, 2001
Accused was convicted for the crime of rape, aggravated by the fact that the victim was the minor daughter of the accused. He was sentenced to suffer the penalty of DEATH.
The SC affirmed the decision of the lower court. In imposing the penalty of death, the trial court took into consideration the testimonial and documentary evidence adduced. The SC agreed that it has been duly established that the victim is the daughter of accused-appellant and that she was only thirteen years old at the time of her sexual assault. Proof of these circumstances are the marriage contract between accused-appellant and Adeluisa (“Adel”) Biato Agos, and the certificate of live birth of victim indicating therein that she was the second child of accused-appellant and Adeluisa (“Adel”) Biato Agos, and that she was born on June 13, 1983. Accused-appellant never disowned this relationship when he was put on the stand during the trial. There was likewise no competent evidence presented by accused-appellant to rebut the documents presented by the prosecution.
PEOPLE v. REFORMADOR VIDAL y BALLADARES
G.R. No. 137946. February 28, 2001.
Accused was found guilty of the crime of rape, and was sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
The SC upheld the decision of the lower court. The issues raised by accused-appellant boil down to a question of the credibility of the complainant’s testimony. The SC found the contentions to be without merit. First. The SC found no reason to reverse the findings of the trial court that complainant was raped. It is settled that the evaluation by the trial court of the testimony of a witness is accorded the highest respect because the trial court had the opportunity to observe the facial expression, gesture, and voice tone of a witness while testifying and, therefore, competent to determine whether or not the witness is telling the truth. Furthermore, the alleged inconsistency is minor and inconsequential in nature and does not detract from the fact that complainant was raped.
Second. In rape cases, the prosecution is not bound to present witnesses other than complainant herself, as accused-appellant may be convicted solely on the testimony of complainant, provided the same is credible, natural, convincing, and otherwise consistent with human nature and the normal course of things. The testimony of complainant complied with such standards.
Third. The failure of complainant to shout or offer tenacious resistance does not imply her submission to accused-appellant’s desires. To be sure, it is not required that the victim of rape resists her assailant unto death. All that is necessary is that the force or intimidation employed against complainant enabled the assailant to effect sexual penetration.
Fourth. The absence of fresh injuries in complainant’s private part does not negate rape as proof of hymenal lacerations is not an element of rape. Fifth. Accused-appellant’s contention that he and complainant were lovers is not worthy of any consideration at all. He presented no witness to corroborate his claim. Sixth. While it is true that flight raises the presumption of guilt on the part of an accused, the converse does not necessarily mean innocence. There is no rule that, in every instance, the fact that the accused did not flee is a proof of his innocence. It is not unnatural for a criminal, as in this case, to desist from leaving the place where the crime was committed to feign innocence.
THE PEOPLE v. SANDY HINTO y BUENO
G.R. Nos. 138146-91. February 28, 2001.
In the first criminal case, accused was found guilty of the crime of rape, and was sentenced to suffer the penalty of death. He was also found guilty of 45 counts of acts of lasciviousness, there being the presence of the aggravating circumstance of relationship. He was sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of twelve (12) years, as minimum, to fifteen (15) years, both of reclusion temporal, as maximum, in each of the forty-five (45) cases and to pay the costs of the suit.
The SC affirmed the decision of the lower court. With regard to the credibility of witnesses, settled is the rule that the trial court’s evaluation of the credibility of the testimony of witnesses is entitled to great respect. Unless shown that it has overlooked some facts which would affect the result of the case, the trial court’s factual findings will not be disturbed by the appellate court.
With regard to the defense of alibi, it is settled that for the defense of alibi to prosper, there must be proof not only that the accused was at some other place at the time the crime was committed but also that it was physically impossible for him to be at the locus criminis at the time of the alleged crime.
Under Art. 335, par. 7(1) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. 7659, if the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a common-law spouse of the parent of the victim, the imposable penalty is death. In these cases, the information for rape alleges that the victim was under 18 years of age at the time she was raped and that accused-appellant is the common-law spouse of her mother. Her birth certificate was offered as evidence in this case. It was also proven during the trial that accused-appellant is the common-law spouse of the victim’s mother. Considering the foregoing, the SC was constrained to affirm the death sentence imposed by the trial court on accused-appellant.
PEOPLE v. EDGARDO MACEDA
G.R. No. 138805 February 28, 2001
Accused was convicted for the crime of rape of a mental retardate, and sentenced to suffer the penalty of death.
With regard to the contention of accused that the prosecution failed to prove that force or intimidation was used against complainant, the SC found the contention to be unmeritorious. To begin with, under Art. 266-A (1)(a) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, 34 the crime of rape may be committed by a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman through force, threat, or intimidation. The force necessary in rape is relative. The intimidation must be judged in the light of the victim’s perception and judgment at the time of the commission of the crime, and not by any hard and fast rule. It must be stressed that complainant in this case does not possess the intelligence of an average individual. Indisputably, her mental faculties are different from those of a fully-functioning adult; hence, the degree of force or intimidation needed to overwhelm her is less than what it would take to frighten an ordinary woman.
Furthermore, it is erroneous for accused-appellant to contend that no rape was committed because the prosecution failed to prove that the mental age of the victim was equivalent to a girl below 12 years old. It must be emphasized that this requirement is necessary if the charge is statutory rape under Art. 266-A, par. 1(d). In this case, complainant was deprived of reason, and, under Art. 266-A, par. 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code, having sexual intercourse with her, even if accomplished without the use of force or intimidation, constitutes rape.
However, the trial court erred when it imposed the penalty of death on accused-appellant under Art. 266-B (10) of the RPC. True enough, accused-appellant knew of the mental condition of the victim prior to and at the time of the incident, as evidenced by his own admission in open court. Be that as it may, accused-appellant cannot be meted the death penalty. Under Art. 266-B in relation to Art. 266-A, par. (1), of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, simple rape is punishable by reclusion perpetua. When rape is committed by an assailant who has knowledge of the victim’s mental retardation, the penalty is increased to death. This circumstance must, however, be alleged in the information because it is a qualifying circumstance which increases the penalty and changes the nature of the offense. In this case, while accused-appellant admitted that he knew complainant to be a mental retardate, this fact was not alleged in the information. Therefore, even if it was proved, it cannot be appreciated as a qualifying, but only as a generic aggravating, circumstance. Accordingly, accused-appellant must be sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for the crime of simple rape.
Criminal Law Digests
Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001