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434 Phil. 642

FIRST DIVISION

[ G.R. No. 137586, July 30, 2002 ]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. NELSON TAMAYO Y MORALES, ACCUSED-APPELLANT.

D E C I S I O N

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 219,[1] in Criminal Case No. Q98-76375, finding accused-appellant Nelson Tamayo y Morales guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of robbery with rape, and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay complainant actual damages, moral damages and costs of suit.

The facts, as established by the prosecution, are as follows:

On March 29, 1998, complainant Mary Ann Guazon, a 24-year old sewer, was alone in her home located at No. 24 Tamasco Market, Barangay Tatalon, Quezon City, since her husband was at work in Baliwag, Bulacan, while her two children were left to the care of an aunt in Fairview, Quezon City. At 1:00 in the morning, she was suddenly roused from her sleep by a man, who simultaneously covered her mouth and poked a knife at the side of her neck. She was told not to move or shout, otherwise, she would be killed.

Mary Ann immediately noticed that the light in the house, which she had switched on earlier, had been turned off. She recognized the man as accused-appellant Nelson Tamayo a.k.a. “Bisaya”, because of the light coming from the market outside. Accused-appellant was familiar to Mary Ann because he frequented the market and sometimes sold fish.

Fearing for her life, Mary Ann did not move or make any sound. While the knife was still poked at her, accused-appellant removed his short pants and briefs and then yanked her up to a sitting position. Accused-appellant stood in front of Mary Ann, directed her to hold his erect penis and ordered her to take his organ into her mouth. Although she found it revolting, Mary Ann did as she was told because the knife was held against her neck. While his penis was inside her mouth, accused-appellant goaded her, “sarapan mo pa. (make it feel good.)” Apparently not satisfied with what Mary Ann was doing, accused-appellant angrily removed his flaccid penis from her mouth, pulled her hair and made a motion to stab her. Subsequently, however, accused-appellant told Mary Ann to masturbate him, until his penis again hardened.

At that instant, accused-appellant took Mary Ann to a corner of the one-room abode and, for the second time, forcibly shoved his penis into her mouth. Mary Ann balked and felt nauseated, as she found the thought of doing the act as well as the odor repulsive. When accused-appellant was still not content with Mary Ann’s oral ministrations, he stripped her clothes, including underwear, and kissed her naked body from the face going down. He concentrated on sucking her breasts and vagina, and at one point, even bit her private part which made Mary Ann shout.[2] Because of the noise she made, accused-appellant got angry, pushed her hand away and pressed the knife against her side. After warning her once more not to make any sound, accused-appellant spread her legs and tried to insert his organ into her vagina. Mary Ann resisted by moving her hips from side to side.

Eventually, accused-appellant succeeded in penetrating Mary Ann, although it took quite a while because of her fierce resistance. Accused-appellant made thrusting movements for about three minutes and, thereafter, reached orgasm.

After he had finished, Mary Ann sensed that accused-appellant was going to kill her because he raised his hand with the knife, apparently to strike her. She thus pretended to have enjoyed the sexual encounter and pleaded with him to spare her. Accused-appellant relented and warned her not to report the incident or else she will be killed. He then told Mary Ann to get dressed and handed over her clothes. It was then that she discovered that the P500.00 she earned from doing laundry that day, which she kept in her shorts’ pocket, was gone.[3]

As accused-appellant was leaving the house, his short pants got entangled in a protruding metal by the door. When he struggled to free himself, he turned towards Mary Ann, at which point the latter clearly saw her assailant’s identity due to the direct light coming from the market. She took note of accused-appellant’s necklace and the black rubber bracelet around his wrist. She concluded that it was indeed accused-appellant who sexually violated her.

When accused-appellant had gone, Mary Ann lost no time in washing off the semen spattered all over her body. Afterwards, she immediately sought assistance from her neighbors and reported the matter to barangay officials. It was 2:00 in the morning.[4]

Together with Mr. Eduardo Santos, the barangay officer on duty, Mary Ann returned to the place of the incident and searched for accused-appellant in the marketplace. When he was found, accused-appellant voluntarily went to the barangay hall for questioning, upon invitation of Mr. Santos. There, he admitted personally to Mr. Santos that he took Mary Ann’s money, but said that it only amounted to P400.00. As for the accusation of rape, accused-appellant denied the same, stating that it was somebody else who committed the crime. Mary Ann, however, very strongly insisted that it was accused-appellant who raped her.

Mr. Santos then brought accused-appellant to the Galas Police Station where the latter again admitted that he took P400.00 from Mary Ann. On their way to the police station, accused-appellant revealed that the rapist was a man named “Ramil.”[5]

Later, Mary Ann went to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory for medico-legal examination. Dr. Anthony Joselito R. Llamas made the following findings:

x x x x x x x x x

GENITAL:

There is moderate growth of pubic hair. Labia Majora are full, convex, gaping with congested and abraded labia minora presenting in between. On separating, the same disclosed a congested and abraded posterior fourchette and a carunculae myrtiformis. x x x.[6]

On the basis of the foregoing facts, accused-appellant was charged with the special complex crime of robbery with rape in an information which alleged:

That on or about the 29th day of March 1998, in Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused, by means of force, violence against, and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously enter the room and residence of one MARY ANNE GUAZON Y PARDINES located at No. 24 Tamasco Market, Bgy. Tatalon, Quezon City, and once inside, poked a fan knife on her throat, covered her mouth and inserted his penis into the mouth of said MARY ANN GUAZON Y PARDINES, held her, undressed her, pulled down her shorts and panty and thereafter succeeded in having sexual intercourse with her against her will and consent; thereafter, accused, with intent to gain, took, robbed and carried away cash money amounting to P500.00, Philippine Currency, belonging to said MARY ANNE GUAZON Y PARDINES to the damage and prejudice of said offended party.

CONTRARY TO LAW.[7]

Upon arraignment on April 16, 1998,[8] accused-appellant pleaded not guilty and trial on the merits ensued.

Accused-appellant denied the charge of robbery and rape and insisted that it was “Ramil” who committed the crime because he watched its perpetration through a small opening by the door of complainant’s house. He allegedly heard moans coming from the direction of the latter, while he was looking for a copy of “People’s Tonight” at past midnight of March 29, 1998. Accused-appellant stated that he became sexually aroused at the sight of the sexual act he witnessed and, as a consequence, he masturbated to contain his urges. He saw “Ramil” come out of the house but did not speak to him. Despite what he saw, however, he did not report the incident to barangay officials.

Accused-appellant testified that the reason why he was being implicated by complainant is because he did not exert any effort to stop “Ramil” from consummating the rape and robbery. He further maintained that at the outset, he had declared before the barangay officials and police that it was “Ramil” who was responsible for the criminal act. He even accompanied the barangay officials to “Ramil’s” house the next day, March 30, but they were allegedly told that “Ramil” had gone home to the province.[9]

Complainant was presented to rebut the testimony of accused-appellant. She declared that it was accused-appellant who ravished her and that she did not know anybody named “Ramil.” She added that by attributing the crime to an unknown person, accused-appellant was merely seeking to pass the blame on others.[10]

On February 2, 1999, the trial court convicted accused-appellant, thus:

WHEREFORE, finding the accused guilty of having committed the special complex crime of Robbery with rape, the Court hereby sentences him (1) to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua; (2) to indemnify the complainant MARY ANNE GUAZON, in the amount of P500.00 as actual damages; (3) to pay her P200,000.00 as moral damages; and (4) to pay the costs.

SO ORDERED.[11]

Hence this appeal, based on the following argument:

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY OF THE SPECIAL COMPLEX CRIME OF ROBBERY WITH RAPE, DESPITE HIS GUILT NOT HAVING BEEN PROVED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.[12]

Accused-appellant assails his conviction by asserting that the complainant could not have positively identified him due to the circumstances under which the alleged crime was committed. Since the lights were turned off, it would not have been possible for the complainant to recognize her assailant because the darkness would conceal the latter’s real identity.

Furthermore, accused-appellant avers that complainant’s declaration in court was far from being straightforward and candid. The testimony of complainant appears to be perfect in all material details, giving rise to the suspicion that it was rehearsed and orchestrated. With regard to the alleged robbery, accused-appellant states that his purported admission before the barangay officer that he took the P400.00 belonging to complainant was made without assistance of counsel, and thus may not be admitted and used as evidence against him.

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), on the other hand, maintains that the trial court did not err in handing down a judgment of conviction. However, it posits that the crime committed is not the special complex crime of robbery with rape under Article 294[13] of the Revised Penal Code, but two separate crimes of rape and robbery. According to the OSG, the primordial intent of accused-appellant, as established by the evidence, was to have illicit carnal knowledge of complainant and not to rob her. The taking of the P500.00 following the rape was merely an afterthought.

We partly agree with the OSG.

That accused-appellant is the person who raped complainant and stole the P500.00 is beyond doubt. Contrary to accused-appellant’s assertion, we find his identification as the perpetrator of the crime to be positive and certain. The fact that it was dark at the time and place of the commission of the crime does not make his identification impossible. It was sufficiently explained that the light coming from the market was bright enough to enable complainant to identify him as the one who sexually violated her.

Moreover, complainant took note of specific details that would help her ascertain the identity of the wrongdoer. Accused-appellant’s necklace and black rubber bracelet undoubtedly led complainant to conclude that it was him who abused her. No less significant is the fact that when accused-appellant got stuck by the door as he was about to leave, complainant had a good look at his face since the light from the market directly shone into the house.

When an accused-appellant assails the identification made by witnesses, he is in effect attacking the credibility of those witnesses who referred to him as the perpetrator of the crime alleged to have been committed.[14] However, in the absence of any indication that the trial court overlooked or misconstrued some significant fact that would change the outcome of the case, its findings on the credibility of witnesses shall be respected by the appellate court, since the trial court had the opportunity to observe, firsthand, the witnesses’ demeanor and deportment while testifying.[15] In the instant case, accused-appellant precisely failed to point out any relevant fact that the trial court may have ignored or misapprehended and which could lead to an overturning of his conviction. Perforce, the trial court’s judgment of guilt must be affirmed on appeal by this Court.

For this same reason, accused-appellant’s contention that complainant merely fabricated the charges against him should be rejected. Aside from the fact that his defense of denial is bare and self-serving, complainant did not have any ill motive to falsely implicate him in the commission of the offense. Additionally, complainant’s conduct subsequent to the commission of the crime, strengthened her account and fortified her credibility. Her act of promptly revealing her misfortune to her neighbors and reporting the matter to the proper authorities is consistent with the behavior of one who has truly been wronged.

If the testimony of the rape victim is accurate and credible, a conviction for rape may issue upon the sole basis of the victim’s testimony. This is because no decent and sensible woman will publicly admit being a rape victim and thus run the risk of public contempt unless she is, in fact, a rape victim.[16] We thus agree with the trial court that:

x x x the testimony alone of the private complainant suffices to provide the quantum of proof needed by this Court to convict the accused. Although pain and humiliation were traceable in her face while she recounted in open court what she had gone through in the hands of the accused, her testimony was characterized by candidness, clarity and consistency. Not once did she falter in both her narration of how she was raped and later robbed and her identification of the person responsible for it. She presented everything sequentially and clearly even as she cried whenever she would recall and recoil from her harrowing experience that frightful night. The Court does not believe that a wife and mother would allow herself to forever bear the mark of a rape victim if she really did not suffer from such a brutal crime.[17]

As for the taking of complainant’s money, we are likewise convinced that accused-appellant unlawfully took the P500.00. His oral confession before the barangay officer that he took only P400.00 from complainant was properly taken into consideration by the trial court, considering that the same was not given during police custodial investigation and, thus, need not have been made with the assistance of counsel. Records also reveal that aside from being corroborated by complainant,[18] the testimony of the barangay officer in this regard was not objected to by accused-appellant in the court below. Hence, any perceived anomaly with respect to the confession, which in any case does not obtain in the case at bar, should now be deemed as waived.

However, we are unable to agree with the trial court that the felony committed by accused-appellant is the complex crime of robbery with rape.

For a conviction of the crime of robbery with rape to stand, it must be shown that the rape was committed by reason or on the occasion of a robbery and not the other way around. This special complex crime under Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code contemplates a situation where the original intent of the accused was to take, with intent to gain, personal property belonging to another and rape is committed on the occasion thereof or as an accompanying crime.[19] In this type of felony, the intent to gain precedes the intent to have illegal carnal intercourse with another, since robbery with rape is basically a crime against property. And if the original design was to commit rape but the accused, after committing rape, also committed robbery because the opportunity presented itself, the criminal acts should be viewed as two distinct offenses.[20]

Consequently, accused-appellant should be held to account for two separate felonies. The taking of complainant’s money appears to be only incidental to the rape and was indeed, more of an afterthought. It can even be said that the illegal taking was accidental because accused-appellant could not have known beforehand that complainant had P500.00 in her pocket. The money was apparently discovered only after complainant was made to remove her clothes and accused-appellant decided to steal the sum when the circumstances proved to be convenient.

Nevertheless, even as we agree with the OSG that accused-appellant committed two distinct crimes, we differ with its conclusion that the unlawful taking in this case constitutes robbery, as defined in Article 293[21] of the Revised Penal Code. The act of taking in robbery is by means of violence or intimidation which must be shown to have clearly attended its commission. In the case at bar, complainant’s money was surreptitiously taken by accused-appellant after consummating the rape, such that the intimidation or force employed in the perpetration of the rape appears to have had no bearing on the illegal taking of the P500.00.[22] We thus hold that in accordance with the evidence presented, the other crime committed is simple theft.[23]

The penalty for the simple theft of P500.00 is prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, under Article 309 (3) of the Revised Penal Code. There being no mitigating or aggravating circumstance, the medium term of the penalty, one (1) year, eight (8) months and twenty-one (21) days to two (2) years, eleven (11) months and ten (10) days, shall be imposed.[24] Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, accused-appellant shall be entitled to a minimum term to be taken within the range of the penalty next lower, which is arresto mayor in its medium and maximum periods, which has a range of two (2) months and one (1) day to six (6) months. Hence, accused-appellant is hereby sentenced to a penalty of two (2) months and one (1) day of arresto mayor, as minimum, to one (1) year, eight (8) months and twenty-one (21) days of prision correccional, as maximum.

Accused-appellant may be convicted of the separate crimes of rape and theft despite the fact that the offense charged in the information is only robbery with rape. As worded, the information sufficiently alleged all the elements of both felonies and accused-appellant failed, before arraignment, to move for quashal of the information, on the ground that the same charged more than one offense. Any objection to the defective information has thereby been waived and accused-appellant may be found guilty of as many offenses as those charged and proved during the trial.[25]

Finally, we find no basis for the trial court’s award of P200,000.00 in moral damages. Pursuant to prevailing jurisprudence, the standard indemnity is P50,000.00 for rape cases in addition to moral damages in an amount as the Court deems just. Thus, in addition to the standard indemnity, we find it appropriate to award P50,000.00 as moral damages.[26]

WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is MODIFIED and accused-appellant Nelson Tamayo y Morales is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the independent crimes of rape and theft. Accused-appellant is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for the crime of rape, and is ordered to pay complainant the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages. For the crime of theft, accused-appellant is sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of two (2) months and one (1) day of arresto mayor, as minimum, to one (1) year, eight (8) months and twenty-one (21) days of prision correccional, as maximum. Accused-appellant is further ordered to restore to complainant the amount of P500.00 as actual damages.

SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Vitug, Kapunan, and Austria-Martinez, JJ., concur.



[1] Presided by Judge Jose Catral Mendoza.
[2] TSN, June 16, 1998, pp. 6-14.
[3] TSN, June 23, 1998, pp. 3-9.
[4] Ibid., at 12-15.
[5] TSN, July 28, 1998, pp. 4-7.
[6] RTC Records, p. 7.
[7] Rollo, p. 3.
[8] Supra, Note 6 at 11.
[9] TSN, October 6, 1998, pp. 2-8.
[10]  TSN, October 13, 1998, pp. 2-3.
[11] Supra, Note 7 at 21.
[12] Ibid., at 44.
[13] ART. 294. Robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons – Penalties. – Any person guilty of robbery with the use of violence against or intimidation of any person shall suffer:
  1. The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death, when by reason or on occasion of the robbery, the crime of homicide shall have been committed; or when the robbery shall have been accompanied by rape or intentional mutilation or arson.

[14] People v. Martinez, 274 SCRA 259, 268 (1997), citing People v. Apawan, 235 SCRA 355 (1994).
[15] See People v. Angeles, 222 SCRA 451, 462-463 (1993), citing People v. Bacalso, 210 SCRA 206 (1992) and People v. Rabanes, 208 SCRA 768 (1992).
[16] People v. Mendoza, 292 SCRA 168, 178 (1999), citing People v. Ching, 240 SCRA 267 (1995) and People v. Ulili, 225 SCRA 594 (1993).
[17] Supra, Note 7 at 20.
[18] TSN, July 7, 1998, p. 18.
[19] People v. Tano, 331 SCRA 449, 468 (2000), citing People v. Barrientos, 285 SCRA 221 (1998); People v. Cruz, 203 SCRA 682 (1991); and People v. Faigano, 254 SCRA 10 (1996).
[20] People v. Dinola, 183 SCRA 493, 503 (1990).
[21] ART. 293. Who are guilty of robbery. – Any person who, with intent to gain, shall take any personal property belonging to another, by means of violence against or intimidation of any person, or using force upon anything, shall be guilty of robbery.
[22] See People v. Flores, 195 SCRA 295, 312 (1991), citing People v. Gulinao, 179 SCRA 774 (1989).
[23] Revised Penal Code, ART. 308. Who are liable for theft. - Theft is committed by any person who, with intent to gain, but without violence against, or intimidation of persons nor force upon things, shall take personal property of another without the latter’s consent. x x x
[24] Revised Penal Code, Article 65.
[25] Supra, Note 19 at 469, citing People v. Manalili, 294 SCRA 220 (1998) and People v. Bugayong, 299 SCRA 528 (1998).
[26] Id., at 470-471, citing People v. Maglente, 306 SCRA 546 (1999), People v. Penaso, 326 SCRA 311 (2000), People v. Prades, 293 SCRA 411 (1998) and People v. Arizapa, 328 SCRA 214 (2000).

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