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443 Phil. 469

EN BANC

[ G.R. Nos. 149392-94, January 16, 2003 ]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. LUCILO UNTALAN Y PEREZ, ACCUSED-APPELLANT.

DECISION

PER CURIAM:

The victim of sexual abuse in the case at bar is 17-year old MARIVIC UNTALAN, a first year college student residing at Ambulong, Batangas City. The aggressor is her very own father, accused LUCILO UNTALAN. The accused sired eight (8) children with his common-law wife, Damiana Arcega, the eldest child being Marivic.

The prosecutor charged the accused with three (3) counts of incestuous rape. Except for the date of commission and age of the victim, the three (3) separate Informations[1] were similarly worded as follows:
“That on or about August 22, 1997 (November 1998 and January 1999) at around 11:00 o’clock in the evening at Sitio Mahacot, Brgy. San Pedro, Batangas City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, motivated by lust and lewd designs, by means of force, threat and intimidation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of Marivic Untalan y Arcega, who was then a minor, 15 (16 and 17) years of age, against her will.

That the qualifying aggravating circumstance of relationship is attendant in the commission of the offense, the then 15 (16 and later 17) year old victim/offended party being the daughter of the accused.

CONTARY TO LAW.”
Marivic painfully recounted her cruel fate in the hands of her own father, the accused. On August 22, 1997, at about 11:00 p.m., 15-year old Marivic was in their house in San Pedro, Batangas City, together with her seven (7) siblings and her parents. She was then sleeping in her bedroom on the second floor, while the other household members were sleeping on the ground floor of their house. She was rudely awakened when she found appellant on top of her, covering her mouth with his hand and forcibly undressing her. He then successfully inserted his organ into hers. She felt pain and a sticky liquid came out from appellant’s organ. After her defloration, she kept mum about the incident as she was afraid.

The sexual assault was repeated in November 1998 and January 1999 in the same manner. During the span of two (2) years, from 1997 until January 1999, the accused molested Marivic more than ten (10) times but Marivic could no longer remember the exact dates. It usually happened at midnight when the appellant would come into her bedroom to satisfy his bestial desires. He would cover her mouth with his hand and undress her. He would then repeatedly do the pumping motion on top of her. She would try to push him away but to no avail. On some occasions, appellant carried with him a bolo or metal pipe when he entered her bedroom. Aside from the sexual molestation, Marivic also suffered physical beating from the accused. At times, the accused would kick her on the head and forbid her to go outside the house. The accused was also wont to hurt and maltreat her other siblings.[2]

Marivic was last abused by the accused in January 1999. By July of the same year, Marivic started experiencing stomach cramps. Upon the advice of her classmate, Marivic consulted DR. MELODEE MERCADO at the Batangas Regional Hospital for physical examination. Dr. Mercado immediately noticed that Marivic’s abdomen was enlarged, approximately seven (7) months into pregnancy, with fetal heartbeat in her womb. Further examination revealed old hymenal lacerations. Marivic’s organ admitted two (2) fingers with ease. Marivic, during the course of her examination, confided to Dr. Mercado that she was sexually molested by the accused.[3]

Marivic’s teacher and mother accompanied her to the DSWD. When asked whether she wanted to file criminal charges against the accused, Marivic answered in the affirmative, desiring to obtain justice for the harrowing fate she suffered in the hands of the accused. Marivic’s mother, who has known about the molestation when once she chanced upon the accused in the act of abusing Marivic, had qualms about the filing of rape charges as she pitied her other children should the accused be put to jail. The DSWD personnel could only gape in disbelief at the reaction of Marivic’s mother. Nonetheless, in due time, Marivic lodged her complaint for rape against the accused with the police authorities.[4]

On September 21, 1999, at about 5:00 p.m., the accused was arrested by PO3 FERDINAND LAURETA, a member of PNP Batangas City, after the latter received information that the accused was in front of the DSWD building in Batangas that day.[5]

A day after, Marivic gave birth to a baby girl, sired by the accused. The baby was left at the Shalom Bata Institution, a parenting establishment in Parañaque, Metro Manila.[6]

Only the accused testified for his defense. He denied the rape charges imputed against him. He protested that he was charged with rape as he severely berated Marivic when he noticed that she was carrying a child in her womb. He wanted her to finish her college education and have a bright future. He denied fathering the baby. Appellant insisted that he could not have raped and impregnated Marivic as he underwent herniorrhapy in 1994 when his testicles were operated on due to direct inquinal hernia. As a result, he claimed to have become impotent. He presented the medical certificate issued by his physician on August 30, 2000 which certified the date when the accused underwent herniorrhapy.[7] On cross-examination, however, the accused admitted that after his operation, he was able to sire two (2) children with his common-law spouse.[8]

After trial, the trial court found the accused guilty as charged, thus:
“WHEREFORE, accused Lucilo Untalan y Perez is hereby sentenced to the supreme penalty of Death in each of these three (3) cases. He is further directed to indemnify complainant in the total sum of One Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos (P150,000.00) as moral damages and to pay the costs.

x x x

SO ORDERED.”[9]
On his lone assignment of error, appellant claims that the trial court erred in convicting him on the sole basis that the appellant had moral ascendancy over the victim as they were living under the same roof. Citing the case of People vs. Chua,[10] appellant argues that the prosecution should have presented evidence to show that appellant intimidated the victim into giving in to his sexual advances. Appellant thus insists that the sexual relation between him and his daughter was consensual.

We disagree.

The prosecution evidence proved beyond reasonable doubt that Marivic was repeatedly abused by the appellant through force and intimidation and their coitus were far from consensual. She painfully recounted her ordeal during the trial, thus:
“Q
On August 22, 1997 at around 11 o’clock in the evening, do you recall where you were?
A
Yes, sir.


Q
Where were you?
A
I was at home, sir.


x x x


Q
What happened?
A
I was raped by my father, sir.


Q
Who were with you in your house on said date and time when you were raped by your father?
A
My siblings and my father, sir.


Q
Where were you in particular inside that house when you were raped by your father?
A
In my bedroom, sir.


Q
What about the other persons inside your house, where were they?
A
They were in the room downstairs, sir.


Q
How did your father rape you?


A
I was undressed by my father and my mouth was covered by his hand, sir.


Q
But before your father raped you, what did he do?
A
He undressed me, sir.


Q
What about him did he undress himself?
A
Yes, sir.


Court:

You said your father raped you, what did he do?
A
He undressed me and inserted his penis into my vagina, Your Honor.

Atty. Perez:
Q
What did you feel when your father inserted his penis into your vagina?
A
I felt pain, sir.


Q
And did you notice anything that came out from his penis?
A
Yes sir, it is a liquid and sticky.


Q
What did you do when your father raped you, did you ask help?
A
I was not able to ask help because I became afraid, sir.


Q
Why were you afraid?
A
Because he was holding a bolo and sometimes a metal pipe, sir.

x x x


Q
Were (sic) there any occasion when you (sic) raped again by your father?


x x x


A
Yes, sir.


x x x


Q
And, where were you raped by your father?
A
In my bedroom, sir.


Q
Could you tell what time was that when you were raped by your father?
A
Midnight, sir.


Q
How did your father rape you?
A
He again undressed me and he covered my mouth by his hand, sir.

Q
After he undressed you and covering (sic) your mouth, what did he do?
A
He inserted his penis into my vagina, sir.


Q
And, what did you feel when your father inserted his penis into your vagina?
A
I felt pain, sir.


Q
What action did your father do when (sic) his penis inside your vagina?
A
(Note: Witness demonstrating pumping.)


Q
What did you do when your father was pumping on top of you?
A
I was trying to push him away but he did not (sic), sir.

Q
And aside from the month(s) of August and November, were (sic) their (sic) occasion when you were raped again by your father?

Atty. Perez:

The witness will be incompetent.

Court:

The question is leading.

Pros. Suyo:
Q
How many times were you raped by your father?
A
Many times, sir.

x x x


Q
You said that your father raped you, is your father inside the Courtroom?
A
Yes, sir.


Q
Will you kindly point to him?
A
(Note: Witness is pointing to a man wearing yellow t-shirt who answered by the name of Lucilo Untalan when he was asked by the Court.)”[11]
Marivic’s testimony clearly established that appellant used force and intimidation in satiating his bestial lust. He would surpise Marivic at midnight while the latter was sleeping alone in her bedroom. During the trial, Marivic demonstrated that appellant would put his right hand over her mouth, effectively silencing whatever protestations she would have made. With his left arm, appellant would hold her right arm. As Marivic’s left arm was free, she would try to box appellant, to no avail. He would then forcibly undress and penetrate her. Marivic was left gripped with intense fear every single time she was abused by appellant.[12] Appellant then repeatedly warned her against confiding the abuses she suffered to any one.[13] Clearly, the force and intimidation utilized by appellant produced fear in the mind of his victim.[14] Incestuous rape was sufficiently proved.

Thus, we hold that the trial court correctly imposed the sentence of three (3) death penalties on the appellant. Section 11 of Republic Act 7659 provides for the imposition of the death penalty if, inter alia, the rape victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent of the victim. In the case at bar, the prosecution established that Marivic was the product of the common-law relationship between the appellant and Damiana Arcega. Marivic’s birth certificate[15] categorically established her filial relationship to the appellant and that she was under eighteen (18) years of age at the time she was sexually abused in 1997 until 1999.

The Court, however, modifies the trial court’s award of damages. First, the trial court failed to award civil indemnity to the victim which is automatically granted upon the finding of rape. Moreover, as the commission of the crime is effectively qualified by circumstances under which the death penalty may be imposed, the appellant is liable to pay civil indemnity in the amount of seventy-five thousand pesos (P75,000.00) for each count of rape. Second, as the prosecution established that the appellant is the father of the victim, we hold that an award of exemplary damages in the amount of twenty-five thousand pesos (P25,000.00) in each case is likewise proper.[16] Finally, we affirm the trial court’s award of moral damages in the amount of fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) for each count of rape without need of proving the basis thereof.[17]

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the appealed Decision in Criminal Cases Nos. 10458-10460, sentencing appellant LUCILO UNTALAN y PEREZ to the supreme penalty of death in each of the three (3) cases and awarding moral damages to the victim, Marivic Untalan, in the total amount of one hundred fifty thousand pesos (P150,000.00) are AFFIRMED,[18] subject only to the following modifications, viz: additional awards in the total amount of two hundred twenty-five thousand pesos (P225,000.00) as civil indemnity and exemplary damages in the total amount of seventy-five thousand pesos (P75,000.00) are granted to the victim.

Pursuant to Section 25 of R.A. 7659, upon finality of this Decision, let certified true copies of the records of this case be forwarded to the Office of the President for possible exercise of executive clemency.

SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr., and Azcuna, JJ., concur.



[1] Rollo, pp. 5-10.

[2] January 24, 2000 TSN, pp. 2-13; See also Sworn Statement of Marivic Untalan, Exhibit “A”, Original Records, p. 3.

[3] August 21, 2000 TSN, Dr. Melodee Mercado, pp. 5-10.

[4] February 22, 2000 TSN, Marivic Untalan, pp. 1-12.

[5] June 6, 2000 TSN, PO3 Ferdinand Laureta, pp. 1-7.

[6] January 25, 2000 TSN, Marivic Untalan, pp. 1-8.

[7] January 30, 2001 TSN, accused Lucilo Untalan, pp. 2-6.

[8] Ibid, at pp. 6-7.

[9] Decision penned by Judge Conrado R. Antona, RTC, Fourth Judicial Region, Hall of Justice, Branch 4, Pallocan, Batangas City; Rollo, p. 25.

[10] G.R. No. 137841, October 1, 2001.

[11] January 24, 2000 TSN, pp. 4-10.

[12] February 22, 2000 TSN, p. 4.

[13] Exhibit “A”, Original Records, p. 3; The victim affirmed the veracity of her affidavit during the trial; January 24, 2000 TSN, p. 11.

[14] People vs. Delos Santos, G.R. No. 137968, November 6, 2001.

[15] Exhibit “A”, Original Records, p. 5.

[16] People vs. Aparejado, G.R. No. 139447, July 23, 2002.

[17] People vs. Gomez, G.R. Nos. 132673-75, October 17, 2001.

[18] Three (3) Justices of the Court maintain their position that R.A. 7659 is unconstitutional insofar as it prescribes the death penalty; nevertheless, they submit to the ruling of the majority that the law is constitutional and the death penalty can lawfully be imposed on the instant case.

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