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472 Phil. 853


[ G.R. No. 155415, May 20, 2004 ]




The case before this Court relates to an affirmance by the Court of Appeals of the joint decision, dated 20 October 1999, rendered by the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 138, in Criminal Cases No. 99-299 to No. 99-310, inclusive, convicting petitioner Geronimo Ordinario, on twelve (12) counts, of having committed punishable acts under Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code. The indictments, under twelve (12) separate Informations filed by the City Prosecutor of Makati City on 26 February 1999, were uniformly worded, except with regard to the date of commission of the offenses, thusly:
“That in or about and sometime during the month of November, 1998, in the City of Makati, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously commit an act of sexual assault upon the person of one JAYSON RAMOS y MAGLAQUE, a ten (10) year old male person by then and there inserting his penis into complainant’s mouth.”[1]
Petitioner entered a plea of not guilty to all the charges. A joint trial on the merits ensued.

On 20 October 1999, following the conclusion of the hearings, a decision was rendered convicting petitioner in all twelve (12) criminal cases and sentencing him for each count of rape to imprisonment ranging from five (5) years of prision correccional, as minimum, to eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as maximum, as well as ordering him, in each of the twelve (12) cases, to indemnify complainant P100,000.00 moral damages and P50,000.00 exemplary damages.

Petitioner interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals, particularly faulting the trial court for giving full credence to the testimony of private complainant on the alleged sexual abuses and for discrediting the version testified to by petitioner and his witnesses.

The appellate court, in its now assailed decision, affirmed in toto the decision of the trial court. It gave a synthesis of its factual findings.
“Complainant Jayson Ramos and accused-appellant were student and teacher, respectively, at Nicanor Garcia Elementary School during the time the alleged crime was perpetrated. Jayson was then a fourth-grader and accused-appellant was his teacher in Boy Scout.

“On November 9, 1998, at around 6:00 o’clock in the evening, accused-appellant summoned Jayson to his office at the Boys Scout headquarters while the latter was about to go home. Therein, accused-appellant ordered Jayson to strip off which the latter complied unwary of the perverse intentions of accused-appellant. Bare to the skin, accused- appellant approached Jayson and started kissing him all over his body including his male organ. Thereafter, accused-appellant inserted his private part into the mouth of Jayson but the latter could not hold on for long as he felt vomiting prompting accused-appellant to remove his penis and ordered Jayson to dress up. Before they parted ways, accused- appellant told Jayson `pag nagsumbong ka sa mga magulang mo, may masamang mangyayari sa iyo.’ Interpreting the same to mean an immediate bodily harm, Jayson kept mum on the incident for fear of accused appellant’s reprisal. The following day, Jayson was absent from school as he got sick. (TSN, May 17, 1999, pp. 2-26.)

“On November 26, 1998, the same sexual molestation recurred, and several more thereafter, four of them during the succeeding month of December; four in the month of January, 1999; and two more in February 1999. As in the first instance, accused-appellant made sure that Jayson realized that something bad might befall him if he tells the incident to his parents. (Id. at 40-41.)

“On February 15, 1999, Jayson, together with his parents, went for a leisurely walk at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. It was during this occasion that Jayson was able to summon enough strength to confide to his parents the sexual assault perpetrated to him by accused-appellant. Thus, on February 17, 1999, a complaint was lodged against accused- appellant before the Makati Police Station.

“Accused-appellant vehemently denied the accusations against him. He claimed that his class schedule at Nicanor Garcia Elementary School starts in the morning and ends at 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon so it would have been impossible for him to have molested the child at 6:00 in the evening. Occasionally, however, he goes back to the school late in the afternoon to feed the chicken as part of his duty as overseer of the school’s poultry project.

“On February 9, 1999, the date when the alleged last molestation was committed, accused- appellant claimed to have not reported for work on that day because he went to the office of Philippine Asia Association at Balic-Balic, Manila to secure a loan of P50,000.00. As proof of such fact, accused-appellant presented the cash voucher (Record, p. 114.) of his loan and a logbook entry (Records, pp. 197-198.) showing that he was absent from school on that day.

“In addition, the following witnesses were presented by the defense:


Michael Eleccion, then a 13-year old pupil at Nicanor Garcia Elementary School, testified that he knew the complainant for about two (2) years. Although he was in Grade VII at that time and complainant was in Grade III, he saw the complainant every schoolday. During the time that complainant was allegedly molested by accused, he did not notice any change in the attitude of the complainant, nor in his appearance, as in fact he found him to be happy. He, likewise, testified that he, like complainant, frequented the headquarters of the Boy Scouts but normally went there at 12:00 noon and only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (TSN, July 19, 1999, pp. 15-28.);


Michael Malonda, a 10-year old pupil of the same school, was a classmate of the complainant in Boy Scout at the time the incident of molestation happened. He testified that he normally went home at 6:30 in the evening and he never saw the complainant going in or coming out of the Boy Scout Headquarters. He saw the complainant only once (TSN, July 26, 1999, pp. 9-14.);

Miguel Paolo Abad, a classmate of complainant in all subjects, testified that their class schedule was from 12:30 to 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon, and if assigned as a cleaner, they stayed until 6:00 o’clock in the evening. He noticed no change in the behavior of the complainant during the time that he was allegedly molested by the accused (TSN, Aug. 2, 1999, pp. 4-18.)

Nelson Estoso, a janitor at Nicanor Garcia Elementary School, testified that his work schedule was from 6:00 o’clock in the morning to 7:30 in the evening. At about 7:30 to 8:00 o’clock every evening, he, together with the guard on duty, conducts a roving check of the school’s vicinity and found nothing unusual during the time the alleged molestation of accused was perpetrated;

Natividad Pagulayan, a co-teacher of the accused, testified that she accompanied the latter on February 9, 1999 to the office of All Asia in Sampaloc, Manila where he secured a loan. They parted ways at about 4:30 in the afternoon and never knew the whereabouts of the accused thereafter (TSN, Aug. 16, 1999, pp. 3-11.)

Eufemia Mayor, a security assistant of the Makati Protective and Security Agency (MAPSA) detailed at Nicanor Garcia Elementary School, testified that she knows the accused and that on February 9, 1999, she did not see the accused inside the school’s compound. She normally conducts a roving check of the school premises starting at 7:00 o’clock in the evening and did not notice any unusual incident during the time the alleged molestation happened (TSN, Aug. 23, 1999, pp. 3-6.)


Elizabeth Talion, also a MAPSA guard assigned at the same school, testified that she usually saw the accused inside the school’s premises between 6:00 o’clock and 7:00 o’clock in the evening either feeding the chicken or watering the plants (TSN, September 7, 1999, pp. 9-13.)”[2]

In affirming the judgment of conviction, the Court of Appeals held that the precise date of commission of the incidents of rape complained of was not an element of the crime, and neither was it required to be accurately alleged in the Information nor proved with exactitude by the prosecution during trial. The appellate court gave credence to the vivid account of complainant on his harrowing experience, stressing an absence of ill-motive on his part and that of his parents that would have compelled the court to rule otherwise.

The gist of the argument advanced by petitioner before the Court lies in the supposed improbability of the commission of the alleged sexual assaults, in particular that which occurred on 09 February 1999 on the ground of his not being at the place where the molestation was said to have occurred, and the failure of the prosecution to allege in the Information the specific dates of the assaults complained of.

The urgings of petitioner appear to be specious.

The defense of alibi might prosper if it is at least shown (1) that the accused is in another place at the time of the commission of the offense, and (2) that it would have been physically impossible for him to have been at the crime scene[3] or within its immediate vicinity.[4] Alibi cannot be sustained where it is not only without credible corroboration, but it also does not on its face demonstrate the physical impossibility of the accused’s presence at the place and time of the commission of the offense.[5] Appellant himself has admitted that while his class would end at one o’clock in the afternoon, he occasionally would still go back to school late in the afternoon to oversee the school’s poultry project.

A complaint or information is sufficient if it states the name of the accused; the designation of the offense given by the statute; the acts or omissions complained of as being constitutive of the offense; the name of the offended party; the approximate date of the commission of the offense; and the place where the offense is committed.[6] The appellate court is correct in holding that the exact date of the commission of the offense of rape is not an element of the crime.[7] Neither would such impreciseness operate to discredit the vivid account of the 11-year old victim. Most importantly, the evaluation of the credibility of witnesses is addressed to the sound determination by the trial court, whose findings thereon deserve weight and respect.[8]

The definition of the crime of rape has been expanded with the enactment of Republic Act No. 8353, otherwise also known as the Anti-Rape Law of 1997, to include not only “rape by sexual intercourse” but now likewise “rape by sexual assault.” Section 2 of the law provides:
“Sec. 2. Rape as a Crime Against Persons. – The crime of rape shall hereafter be classified as a Crime Against Persons under Title Eight of Act No. 3815, as amended, otherwise known as the Revised Penal Code. Accordingly, there shall be incorporated into Title Eight of the same Code a new chapter to be known as Chapter Three on Rape, to read as follows:
“Article 266-A. Rape; When And How Committed. – Rape Is Committed –

“1) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:

Through force, threat, or intimidation;

When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious;

By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and

When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present.

“2) By any person who, under any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof, shall commit an act of sexual assault by inserting his penis into another person’s mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into the genital or anal orifice of another person.” (Underscoring supplied)
An act of sexual assault under the second paragraph of the article can be committed by any person who, under the circumstances mentioned in the first paragraph of the law, inserts his penis into the mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object into the genital or anal orifice, of another person. The law, unlike rape under the first paragraph of Article 266-A of the Code, has not made any distinction on the sex of either the offender or the victim. Neither must the courts make such distinction. Article 266-B of the Code prescribes the penalty of prision mayor for the crime of rape by sexual assault. The trial court, in all the twelve (12) indictments, has found the elements of rape by sexual assault, under paragraph 2 of Article 266-A, to have all been established by the prosecution and thereupon uniformly imposed the penalty of imprisonment ranging from five (5) years of prision correccional, as minimum, to eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as maximum, which the appellate court has affirmed. The impositions accord with the law.

Conformably with the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the court could impose an indeterminate sentence, the maximum term of which shall be that which, considering all attendant circumstances, could be properly imposed and the minimum of which could be anywhere within the range of the penalty one degree lower than that prescribed by law for the offense. Neither aggravating circumstance nor mitigating circumstance having been alleged and proved, pursuant to Article 64, paragraph (1), of the Revised Penal Code, the maximum penalty which can then be imposed shall be anywhere within the range of prision mayor in its medium period of from eight (8) years, and one (1) day to ten (10) years, and the minimum penalty shall be anywhere within the range of prision correccional of from six (6) months and one (1) day to six (6) years.

The Court observes, however, that both the trial court and the appellate court has failed to provide civil liability ex delicto, an indemnity authorized by prevailing judicial policy to be an equivalent of actual or compensatory damages in civil law.[9] Such indemnity is not to be taken as being part of moral damages, the latter being based on different jural foundations and assessed by the court in the exercise of sound discretion. The award of P50,000.00 civil indemnity and P100,000.00 moral damages adjudged by the trial court for each count of sexual assault are excessive and should be reduced to P25,000.00 civil indemnity and P25,000.00 moral damages for each count. The award of exemplary damages is deleted for lack of legal basis.

WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from, convicting petitioner Geronimo Ordinario of rape by sexual assault on twelve (12) counts, and sentencing him therefor, is affirmed with modification in that petitioner Geronimo Ordinario is ordered to pay private complainant P25,000.00 civil indemnity and P25,000.00 moral damages for each count of rape by sexual assault. The award of exemplary damages is deleted. Costs against petitioner.


Sandoval-Gutierrez, Corona, and Carpio Morales, JJ., concur.

[1] Rollo, p. 12.

[2] Rollo, pp. 133-135.

[3] People v. Ravanes, G.R. No. 128379, 22 January 1998 (284 SCRA 634); People v. Quinao, G.R. No. 108454, 13 March 1997 (269 SCRA 495).

[4] People v. Ballesteros, G.R. No. 120921, 29 January 1998 (285 SCRA 438); People v. Cañete, G.R. No. 120495, 12 March 1998 (287 SCRA 490).

[5] People v. Aranjuez, G.R. No. 121898, 29 January 1998 (285 SCRA 466).

[6] Section 6, Rule 110, Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.

[7] People v. Alba, G.R. Nos. 131858-59, 14 April 1999 (305 SCRA 811).

[8] People v. Venerable, G.R. No. 110110, 13 May 1998 (290 SCRA 15).

[9] See People v. Gementiza, G.R. No. 123151, 29 January 1998 (285 SCRA 478).

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