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370 Phil. 128


[ G.R. No. 126096, July 26, 1999 ]




Once again, we are given the heavy task of reviewing a judgment of conviction imposing the death penalty in a crime so dastardly and repulsive ­ incestuous rape. Considering that a person's life is at stake, we are burdened to come up with an error-free judgment amidst our frailties and imperfections, lest our conscience be bothered for rendering an irrevocable and irreversible error.

In the case under review, three separate complaints were filed against accused-appellant charging him with rape committed on October 20, 1994 and sometime on November, 1994 and December, 1994, against his daughter, Julia Ratunil Javier. The first complaint charged:

The undersigned complainant, who is a minor of 16 years of age, single, herein assisted by her grandmother, Mrs. Librada Ratunil, after being duly sworn to law, hereby accuses her father AMADO SANDRIAS JAVIER, who is detained under Illegal Possession of Firearm charge, of the crime of RAPE, committed as follows:
That in or about October 20, 1994, at more or less 1 o'clock in the afternoon, at Zone 5, Baikingon, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the above-named accused, as father of herein complainant, by means of force, violence, and intimidation, while inside our dwelling house at the afore-mentioned place, and when said accused and herein aggrieved party were alone in their said dwelling house as the undersigned aggrieved-party-complainant's mother was out doing laundry work as a laundry woman, held and pulled undersigned complainant to accused's bedroom in said dwelling house and as the undersigned refused, wrestled and shouted for help, accused boxed and hit undersigned's stomach to unconsciousness and did then and there, against complainant's will and consent, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of the undersigned who noticed upon regaining consciousness that she was already stripped of her pairs of panty and pants and feeling extreme pain of her private parts, and then and there accused threatened the undersigned of death if undersigned complainant would reveal the incident to undersigned's mother or to anybody else, thus, resulting to undersigned's pregnancy as examined and found out by the doctor, all against the will and consent of the undersigned, to her great damage and prejudice.

Contrary to and in Violation of Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7659.
(p. 7, Rollo.)
The two other complaints were identically worded as the above complaint except that they respectively charged that the rape therein alleged occurred in November and December 1994.

Upon arraignment, accused-appellant pleaded not guilty. Thereafter, the cases were jointly tried.

As principal witness for the prosecution, Julia recounted her harrowing experience at the hands of her father. Her testimony was capsulized by the trial court in this wise:
At about 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon of October 20, 1994, while her mother was out doing some laundry for neighbors, thus she and the accused were left alone in their house at Zone 5, Baikingon, Cagayan de Oro City, and while she was at the porch of their house, accused called for her to the conjugal room and while thereat grabbed her right hand. She shouted for help but nobody came to her rescue from neighbors, the nearest of whom was about 60 meters away. Accused continued his sexual assault on her by boxing her abdomen resulting to her unconsciousness. When she regained consciousness, she felt pain in her vagina which was bleeding and wet with some sticky fluids. She cried but was warned by the accused that should she make an outcry and report the incident to her mother, he will kill her. Out of fear, and knowing that accused has a handgun, she held her outcry.

Parenthetically, the accused was also charged of Illegal Possession of Firearm in Criminal Case No. 95-141 committed on March 20, 1995 also raffled to this branch, to which he pleaded guilty and was sentenced accordingly on May 8, 1996.

Complainant further declared that applying practically the same force and intimidation and about the same time (1:00 P.M.) and again while complainant's mother was out doing some laundry for neighbors, accused repeated the sexual assault on her on November 18, 1994 and December 19, 1994.

Complainant testifying further declared that she has three older brothers and a sister. That she is the youngest and the only one who lived with her parents. Her three older brothers lived in Manila, Cotabato and the last one with her grandmother, Vda. De Librada Ratunil.

Out of fear, she kept the incident to herself until she felt some unusual pain in her body and when she can no longer manage said situation, she finally broke her silence by going to her grandmother, Librada Vda. De Ratunil at 165 Capistrano Street, Cagayan de Oro City in the evening of March 15, 1995. She was asked by her grandmother about the author of her pregnancy, she answered that it was her father, the herein accused.

Complainant on cross examination, admitted having a sweetheart and were engaged for one year already prior to the incident. Her sweetheart, whom she identified as Michael Apduhan pays her a visit at times but on Saturday afternoon only with her mother around. Consequently, there was no occasion that she met her sweetheart alone for either her mother is around in the house or went out with her sweetheart with her "barkada" during disco dances on the eve of fiestas.

(pp. 24-26, Rollo.)
Julia's grandmother, Librada Vda. De Ratunil, corroborated Julia's story and narrated that on March 15, 1995, Julia arrived at her house and upon knowing the things that happened to her granddaughter, she wrote Julia's mother, Emma, her daughter, and informed her of the matter. They decided to report the matter to the police authorities at the Bulua Police Station in Cagayan de Oro City where they executed the complaints (tsn, October 11, 1995, pp. 19-20).

Dr. Tammy Uy of the National Bureau of Investigation, Region 10, examined the victim and made the following findings:

Pubic hairs, fully grown, abundant. Labiae mejora and minor, both gaping. Fourchete, moderately lax. Vestibular mucusae, violaceous and with engorded veins. Hymen, tall, thick, fleshy, with old healed complete laceration at 9:00 o'clock position, and an old healed deep incomplete lacerations at 6:00 non-coaptable. Hymenal orifice, originally annular, admits a glass tube of 2.5 cms. Diameter with slight resistance. Vaginal walls, lax; rugosities obliterated. Uterus, enlarged with palpable fundus and with a fundic height of 12 cms. (between the umbilicus and sumphysis pubs). Cervix, soft, non-tender, enlarged, bluish-purpole. Light yellow muccoid cervical discharge is noted.

  1. Genital findings present, compatible with sexual intercourse with man on or about 20 October 1994 as alleged and subsequently thereafter.

  2. Probable signs of pregnancy present, consistent with the early part of the second trimester of pregnancy,

Pregnancy Test gave + sign.

(pp. 23-24, Rollo.)
Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) took custody of Julia who gave birth to a baby boy on August 22, 1995 but whom she would like to put up for adoption because he is a reminder of what her father did to her (tsn, Oct. 11, 1995, pp. 14-15).

Likewise, Julia was examined by DSWD Psychologist Ma. Lavern Labitad Jabien who found her to be suffering from inferiority complex and exhibiting feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. Julia was also said to "lack security in human relations because of her experience and the brutal treatment she received from her father," and "mentally deficient" as a result of "poor parenting or parental deprivation" (tsn, October 18, 1995, pp. 7-9).

Accused-appellant vehemently disputed the charges against him, alleging that the same were engineered by his mother-in-law, Librada Vda. De Ratunil, who despises him for being a drunkard. He further declared that Julia is an errant daughter, who after reaching the age of 14, started attending dances and acquired several sweethearts but only one of them paid visits at their house. Thus, he beat her, especially when he discovered her to be pregnant (tsn, December 6, 1995, pp. 14-18, 26).

Accused-appellant claimed that from October to November, 1994, he was working as a mason in the house of Bernabe Granada which is about 200 meters from his house. Among his co-workers were a certain Bermon, Dayata, and Dudong Granada, the son of Bernabe Granada. His working hours were from 6 A.M. to 6 P.M. Likewise, from December 1994 to February 1995, he said he was working at Carlito Caudor's house, also spending the same working hours therein. At the same time, he was also a member of the Barangay Tanod of Baikingon (tsn, supra, pp. 9-13).

To bolster accused-appellant's contention that he was working at the time the rape incidents happened, the defense presented his employers, Bernabe Granada and Carlito Caudor. Granada testified that in October 1994, he engaged accused-appellant for masonry work in the lay-outing of his house. Accused-appellant worked from 8 to 11:30 o'clock in the morning and from 1 to 4 o'clock in the afternoon and oftentimes took his lunch at the workplace. His house is located in Zone 6 while that of accused-appellant is in Zone 5. Accused-appellant stopped working for Granada on January 20, 1995 (tsn, March 13, 1996, pp. 4-5). On the other hand, Caudor testified that he had known accused-appellant for 15 years and that for the months of October and November, accused-appellant worked in Caudor's house from 8 to 11:30 o'clock in the morning and from 1 to 4:30 o'clock in the afternoon. Among his co-workers were Matias Remerane, Julieto Dayata, and Danilo Caudor (tsn, January 31, 1996, pp. 3-6).

After trial, on June 8, 1996, the Regional Trial Court of the 10th Judicial Region, Branch 21, in Cagayan de Oro City, presided over by the Honorable Arcadio D. Fabria rendered judgment finding accused-appellant Amado Sandrias Javier guilty of Rape under Criminal Case No. 95-136 and of Qualified Seduction in Criminal Cases No. 95-147 and 95-148, and disposed as follows:
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby finds the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of RAPE in Criminal Case No. 95-136 defined and penalized by Art. 335 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by R.A. No. 7659, and hereby sentences him to death and in Criminal Cases Nos. 95-147 and 95-148 finds him guilty of Qualified Seduction under Article 337 of Paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code and sentences him to an indeterminate penalty in each case of (5) years, (5) months and (11) days of Prision Correccional as minimum to (6) years, (8) Months and 20 days of Prision Mayor as maximum and to indemnify the offended party the sum of P50,000 as moral and exemplary damages, to support the child until he shall have reached the age of majority and to pay the costs.

The accused is further ordered to recognize and acknowledge the said child as his son.


(p. 35, Rollo.)
Accused-appellant assails said judgment and anchors his appeal on the general and catch-all argument that the trial court erred in convicting him despite the failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Accused-appellant questions the credibility of complainant mainly because she has a sweetheart and used to attend discos and benefit dances which lasted until midnight. He vainly tries to portray a picture of complainant as an unchaste and impure woman who was impregnated by her sweetheart at the tender age of 16. However, this Court believes that vilifying aspersion need not necessarily cast doubt on complainant's credibility nor would it negate conclusively the existence of rape. It should be pointed out that the moral character of the victim is immaterial in the prosecution and conviction of the accused. The Court has ruled that even a prostitute can be the victim of rape (People vs. Edualino, 271 SCRA 189 [1997]) for she can still refuse a man's lustful advances (People vs. Iglanes, 272 SCRA 113 [1997]). In the case at bench, complainant is certainly not a prostitute. She even clarified on cross-examination that she was always in the company of friends whenever she attended discos and fiesta celebrations and that she never went out alone with her sweetheart. She likewise stressed that whenever her sweetheart visited her at their house on Saturdays, her mother and father were always present (tsn, October 4, 1995, pp. 5-11). Indeed, accused-appellant's self-serving and unsubstantiated slur that his daughter is a woman of loose morals betrays his desperation to exculpate himself from liability. Against complainant's positive testimony, accused-appellant's self-exculpatory aspersion that complainant may have had sexual intercourse with other males simply cannot prevail.

Likewise, accused-appellant's contention that the filing of the case was instigated by complainant's grandmother fails to sway the Court from lending full credence to the testimony of complainant who remained steadfast throughout her direct and cross-examination. Even in these trying times of poverty and greed, it is difficult to believe that the grandparents of a child would allow her to be subjected to the ordeal and embarrassment of a public trial and to expose her private parts to examination just because they do not approve of accused-appellant as their daughter's husband (People vs. Perez, 270 SCRA 526 [1997]). On the contrary, accused-appellant admitted that his relationship with complainant's grandmother is not strained, as in fact, his mother-in-law used to extend assistance to his family (tsn, December 6, 1995, pp. 23-24).

Accused-appellant also claims that complainant was merely impelled by revenge in filing the case as he used to scold and beat her for her disobedience, especially after coming to know of her pregnancy. It is highly inconceivable that complainant would impute a crime so serious as rape against her own father, if this were not the plain truth. The Court has oft repeated that "it takes a certain amount of psychological depravity for a young woman to concoct a story which would put her own father to jail for the rest of his remaining life and drag the rest of the family including herself to a lifetime of shame" (People vs. Sangil, Sr., 276 SCRA 532 [1997]; People vs. Fuensalida, 281 SCRA 452 [1997]).

Complainant cannot be faulted for her delay in reporting the three instances of rape. Delay in reporting rape does not undermine the charge where it is grounded on the accused's death threats (People vs. Talabac, 256 SCRA 441 [1996]; People vs. Gecomo, 254 SCRA 82 [1996]).

Complainant satisfactorily explained her hesitation in reporting the incidents, thus:

Prosecutor Tagarda
x x x x
Q: And you said you cried, what happened?
A: I kept on crying and he came to me and admonished me that he will kill me if I will report the matter to my mother.
Q: And when he warned you that he will kill you if you report the matter to your mother, what did you feel?
A: I was not able to reveal to my mother because I know that he has pistola in his possession.
x x x x
(tsn, September 27, 1995, p. 10)
More importantly, the aggressor was none other than her father with whom she lived. Thus, not much explanation is needed to understand the prolonged silence of the victim.

Accused-appellant's defense of alibi was properly rejected by the trial court. He insisted that at the time the rape incidents happened, he was in his working place. However, considering that the place where he supposedly was is merely 200 meters from his own house (tsn, December 6, 1995; p. 10; January 31, 1996, p. 8), a distance which could be covered by a 5-minute leisurely walk, this defense cannot prevail over complainant's positive identification of accused-appellant (People vs. Escober, 281 SCRA 498 [1997]; People vs. Parrazo, 272 SCRA 512 [1997]).

Courts have always looked upon the defense of alibi with suspicion and have invariably received it with caution not only because it is inherently weak and unreliable but also because it is easily fabricated. For alibi to serve as basis for acquittal, it must be established with clear and convincing evidence. The requisites of time and place must be strictly met (People vs. Cañada, 253 SCRA 277 [1996]). Where the accused fails to convincingly demonstrate that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission, as in this case, the defense of alibi must be rejected.

The trial court correctly convicted accused-appellant of the crime of rape in Criminal Case No. 95-136. However, we cannot agree with its judgment insofar as Criminal Cases No. 95-147 and 95-148 are concerned.

The trial court concluded:
While the court is convinced that there was sufficient force and intimidation employed by the accused in committing sexual intercourse on complainant in the October 20, 1994 incident, it entertains some doubts about the degree of force and intimidation as would warrant a finding of rape for the sexual intercourses committed on November 18 and December 19, 1994.

(p. 34, Rollo.)
The trial court proceeded to convict accused-appellant merely of qualified seduction under Article 337 of the Revised Penal Code in the aforementioned cases.

A careful perusal of the record would disclose that accused-appellant employed practically the same force and intimidation in committing the crime on October 20, 1994, November 18, 1994 and December 19, 1994. The commission of rape with force and intimidation under Article 335 (par. 2) of the Revised Penal Code is clearly established by the testimony of complainant herself, thus:

Prosecutor Tagada

Q: After you shouted, what happened?

My father boxed my stomach or abdomen "kuto-kuto."

Q: After your stomach or abdomen was boxed by your father the accused in this case, what happened to you?
A: I lost consciousness.
Q: Now when you regain(ed) consciousness what happened?
A: I noticed that I have no more short pants and panty.
Q: What else did you notice?
A: I felt pain at my vagina.
Q: What else?
A: And my vagina was bleeding.
Q: What else did you observe?

I cried.

Q: Aside from the bleeding oozing from your vagina, what else did you observe?
A: I noticed that there was something when I touched - there is sticky fluids.
Q: And you said you cried, what happened?
A: I kept on crying and he came to me and admonished me that he will kill me if I will report the matter to my mother.
Q: And when he warned you that he will kill you if you report the matter to your mother, what did you feel?
A: I was not able to reveal to my mother because I know that he has pistol in his possession.
Q: Did you report when your mother came, did you report the incident?

I did not.

Q: Now that happened on October 20, 1994 after same date, what happened next?
A: There was something that happened to me after October 20, 1994 to December.
Q: December of 19?
A: 1994.
Q: What did your father do to you after that incident of October 20, 1994 to December 19, 1994?
A: He again raped me.

And what time your father raped you again?

A: At 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon more or less.
Q: Why, do you know the reason?
A: Because that was the schedule when my mother wash(es) clothes.
Q: How about in the month of November 1994?
A: He again raped me.
Q: What date in November?
A: November 18.
Q: The time is?
A: 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon.
Q: And the place is ?

At Baikingon.

Q: Where at Baikingon?
A: At Zone 5 in our house.
Q: Will you please narrate to the Honorable Court how did your father rape you on November 18, 1994?
A: He again called me at their conjugal bedroom of my mother.
Q: What happened when he called you?
A: I refused to do so but there is nothing I could do because nobody heard my shout.
Q: After you shouted?

He again boxed my abdomen.

Q: What happened when you were boxed by your father?
A: I was unconscious.
Q: When you regained consciousness, what did you observe?
A: I don't have panty anymore and no short pants.
Q: What else did you discover?
A: I felt pain in my vagina.
Q: And what else happened?
A: Blood was oozing with my vagina.
Q: What happened after that?
A: When I touched my vagina, there was a sticky fluid.
Q: What did you feel, tell us if any?
A: He frightened me that if I will tell everything to (an)other person I will be killed.
Q: And when your father frightened you, what did you feel?
A: I was afraid because I was not able to reveal to my mother, I know that he has a pistola.
Q: Now, in the month of December what happened in December 1994?

About the end of December.

Q: What about in December 1994?
A: He again raped me.
Q: Where did he rape you?
A: In the same place in his bedroom.
Q: Will you please narrate before the Honorable Court what happened before, what time was that?
A: At 1:00 o'clock In the afternoon.
Q: And who were in the house when that incident happened at the end of December 1994, who were the persons in the house?
A: We were only two.
Q: Where was your mother then?
A: She was washing clothes.
Q: Will you narrate before the Honorable court the incident leading to the rape that occurred to you the last portion of December 1994?
A: Almost at the end of December 1994, I was, at around 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon, again I was raped by my father.
Q: What happened at 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon at the end of the last portion of December 1994?
A: At around 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon at the end of December 1994, I was again called by my father to enter his bedroom.
Q: And did you enter his bedroom when you were called by your father?
A: I did not.
Q: What happened?
A: He pulled my right hand.
Q: And then after that?
A: I shouted but nobody answered.
Q: After that?
A: My panty and my short pant were no longer in my body.
Q: What did you observe?
A: I felt the pain in my vagina.
Q: What else did you observe?
A: My whole body feel the pain.
Q: After that, what else happened. Where was your father when you felt that your whole body was aching?
A: My father was already outside the bedroom.
Q: What did he tell you if any?
A: He will kill me if I will report to anybody.
(tsn, September 27, 1995, pp. 9-12)
The above testimony plainly shows how accused-appellant took advantage of his moral ascendancy over complainant despite her struggle and resistance.

The force and violence required in rape cases is relative and need not be overpowering or irresistible when applied (People vs. vs. Errojo, 229 SCRA 49 [1994]). For rape to exist, it is not necessary that the force or intimidation be so great or be of such character as could not be resisted - it is only necessary that the force or intimidation be sufficient to consummate the purpose which the accused had in mind (People vs. Cañada (253 SCRA 277 [1996]; People vs. Antonio, 233 SCRA 283 [1994]). Accused-appellant, being the father, undoubtedly exerted a strong moral influence over complainant. In rape committed by a father against his own daughter, the former's moral ascendancy and influence over the latter may substitute for actual physical violence and intimidation (People vs. Casil, 241 SCRA 285 [1995]; People vs. Burce, 269 SCRA 2293 [1997]).

Well-settled is the rule that physical resistance need not be established in rape when intimidation is exercised upon the victim and the latter submits herself against her will to the rapist's embrace because of fear for life and personal safety (People vs. Dones, 254 SCRA 696 [1996]; People vs. Ramos, 245 SCRA 405 [1996]). Obviously, the use of threat of death by accused-appellant against complainant constituted sufficient intimidation to cow her into obedience. Finally, this Court has also ruled that "if resistance would nevertheless be futile because of a continuing intimidation, then offering none at all would not mean consent to the assault as to make the victim's participation in the sexual act voluntary" (People vs. Pamor, 237 SCRA 462 [1994]).

Moreover, assuming that the prosecution failed to prove the use of force by accused-appellant, the latter cannot be convicted of qualified seduction. It is only when the complaint for rape contains allegations for qualified seduction that the accused may be convicted of the latter in case the prosecution fails to prove the use of force by the accused (People vs. Antido, 278 SCRA 425 [1997]). To do otherwise would be violating the constitutional rights of the accused to due process and to be informed of the accusation against him. The accused charged with rape cannot be convicted of qualified seduction under the same information (People vs. Ramirez, 69 SCRA 144 [1976]). Then, too, rape and qualified seduction are not identical offenses. While the two felonies have one common element which is carnal knowledge of a woman, they significantly vary in all other respects (Gonzales vs. Court of Appeals, 232 SCRA 667 [1994]).

What the trial court should have done was to dismiss the charges for rape in Criminal Cases No. 95-147 and 95-148, if indeed, in its opinion, the prosecution failed to sufficiently establish the existence of force and intimidation, and order instead the filing of the appropriate information. Be that as it may, this Court believes otherwise and is fully convinced that accused-appellant is guilty as well of these two other counts of rape.

The trial court ordered accused-appellant to recognize the child born to complainant despite the fact that said accused-appellant is a married man. The rule is that if the rapist is a married man, he cannot be compelled to recognize the offspring of the crime as his child, as the character of its origin legally prevents him from doing so (People vs. Guerrero, 242 SCRA 606 [1995], citing People vs. De Guzman, 217 SCRA 395 [1993] and People vs. Rizo, 189 SCRA 265 [1990]). Thus, the order of the court a quo pertaining thereto must be deleted.

Critical and more substantial, however, are certain misgivings we entertain with respect to the propriety of imposition of death penalty as there is one facet of the case which necessitates elucidation. Accused-appellant is being charged under Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7659 which amended Art. 335 of the Revised Penal Code and which reads:
SEC. 11. Article 335 of the same Code (Revised Penal Code, as amended) is hereby amended to read as follows:

ART. 335. When and how rape is committed.- Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:

x x x

x x x

x x x

The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:

1. When the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim.
In the case at hand, the complaints stated that the rape victim is 16 years old which therefore qualified her under the aforequoted provision. However, it is significant to note that the prosecution failed to present the birth certificate of the complainant. Although the victim's age was not contested by the defense, proof of age of the victim is particularly necessary in this case considering that the victim's age which was then 16 years old is just two years less than the majority age of 18. In this age of modernism, there is hardly any difference between a 16-year old girl and an 18-year old one insofar as physical features and attributes are concerned. A physically developed 16-year old lass may be mistaken for an 18-year old young woman, in the same manner that a frail and young looking 18-year old lady may pass as a 16-year old minor. Thus, it is in this context that independent proof of the actual age of a rape victim becomes vital and essential so as to remove an iota of doubt that the victim is indeed under 18 years of age as to fall under the qualifying circumstances enumerated in Republic Act No. 7659. In a criminal prosecution especially of cases involving the extreme penalty of death, nothing but proof beyond reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to constitute the crime with which an accused is charged must be established by the prosecution in order for said penalty to be upheld. We have meticulously examined the records of the case and we are convinced that the evidence for the prosecution falls short of the required quantum of proof for the proper imposition and carrying out of the death penalty. Verily, the minority of the victim must be proved with equal certainty and clearness as the crime itself. Otherwise, failure to sufficiently establish the victim's age is fatal and consequently bars conviction for rape in its qualified form.

In view of the foregoing consideration, we are constrained to hold accused-appellant liable only of simple rape, and to reduce the penalty to the lower indivisible penalty of reclusion perpetua.

Inasmuch as the rape in this case is not qualified by any of the circumstances under which the death penalty is to be imposed, the civil indemnity to be awarded to the offended party should remain to be P50,000.00 for each count. In line with the case of People of the Philippines vs. Senen Prades (293 SCRA 411 [1998]), accused-appellant should indemnify the victim the sum of P50,000.00 as moral damages without need for proof of the basis thereof. Lastly, accused-appellant is liable to pay complainant the sum of P20,000.00 as exemplary damages to deter other fathers with perverse tendencies or aberrant sexual behavior from sexually abusing their own daughters (People vs. Lao, 249 SCRA 137 [1995]; People vs. Sangil, Sr., 276 SCRA 532 [1997]).

WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby MODIFIED, to wit:
  1. Accused-appellant is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of three counts of crime of simple rape, and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for each count.

  2. Accused-appellant shall indemnify the victim for each count of rape the following: (1) P50,000.00 as civil indemnity; (2) P50,000.00 as moral damages; and (3) P20,000.00 as exemplary damages.

  3. The portion of the judgment of the trial court ordering accused-appellant to recognize and acknowledge the child as his son, is deleted.

Romero, Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Purisima, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.
Davide, Jr., C.J., on leave.

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