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433 Phil. 409


[ G.R. No. 140384, July 04, 2002 ]




On 16 October 1998, Jonel Manio, a.k.a. “Bobong,” was charged before the Regional Trial Court (“RTC”) of Macabebe, Pampanga, with the crime of rape -

“That on or about the third day of September 1998, in the municipality of Apalit, province of Pampanga, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused ALIAS BOBONG MANIO, by means of force and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with a minor, five years of age, Catherine Navarro.”[1]

The trial ensued shortly after the arraignment at which the accused had pleaded “not guilty.”

The case for the prosecution. -

On the evening of 04 September 1998, Beatriz Pastor-Pili Garcia noticed that her 5-year old daughter, Catherine Navarro, was crying but when asked what the trouble might be, she refused to talk. When pressed to answer, the young girl finally broke down and told her mother that, at noontime the day before while in the house of their neighbor, Bobong Manio had molested her. When the mother examined her daughter’s underwear, she saw that it was stained with blood. Beatriz proceeded to the house of the barangay captain who then summoned Mania. When again queried in the presence of Manio, Catherine kept mum after having seen Manio leering at her. The following day, Beatriz took her daughter to the Apalit police station in Pampanga where sworn statements were taken. On 09 September 1998, Dr. Jaime Rodrigo L. Leal confirmed, following a medical examination, that Catherine was indeed sexually abused. The report read:


“Healing hymenal laceration, present.

There are no external signs of recent application of any form of violence.


“Patient with disclosure of sexual abuse.

Physical findings of genitalia indicative of penetration.”[2]

The defense. -

The accused testified that he only learned of the indictment when he was served with a subpoena by the court. At trial, he proffered the defense of denial and alibi, giving the trial court a detailed account of his whereabouts on the 3rd of September 1998 to disprove the accusation against him and to show that he did not see and could not have encountered Catherine, let alone raped her, on any hour of that day. He insisted having been then at home with his wife and two children. When his eldest son, Kenneth, shortly arrived from school, he asked his wife to prepare the table for lunch. When they were about to eat, his compadre, Romeo “Meo” Balgos, dropped by to have a talk with him. It was shortly before one o’clock in the afternoon, after Balgos had left and his family had finished with their noonday meal, that the accused was able to take lunch. After partaking of his meal, he took a nap with his two children before leaving with his family for his parents’ house, located just a short distance from their own house, to spruce up the place in time for the arrival from hospital confinement of her mother.

While on his way home the night of the next day, the parents of private complainant blocked his path and accused him of raping their daughter, which accusation, he described as impossible as he did not see Catherine the whole day. He asked the couple to have their daughter examined by a physician. Later, he was summoned by the barangay captain before whom he was apprised of the complaint for rape against him. Appellant vehemently denied the charge. The barangay captain and the barangay councilors asked Catherine Navarro questions but the young girl remained silent. A certain Boy Sikat, the alleged live-in partner of the mother of private complainant, told him to ask for forgiveness and suggested that he should settle the case by giving P10,000.00 to the family of the victim. The accused shrugged off the advice that would have meant admitting something he did not do.

The judgment. -

On 14 September 1999, the trial court found the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of statutory rape -

“WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused Jonel Manio alias “Bobong Manio” guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape of a six-year old minor, and as a consequence of which and pursuant to the provisions of Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, the mandatory penalty of death is hereby imposed on him. He is likewise ordered to pay and indemnify the offended party in the amount of P50,000.00.”[3]

In this automatic review of his conviction, appellant assails the decision, basically questioning the factual findings, of the trial court.

There is not much that the Court can do to help the cause of appellant.

Testifying on what had happened to her on 03 September 1998, the six-year old victim, Catherine Navarro, narrated thusly -

You said that you know Bobong Manio by having pointed to him a while ago. You also stated that something was done to you by him and when you were asked you do not want to answer.
What did Bobong Manio do to you?
He inserted his penis into my vagina, sir. (Kinarat)

“x x x                                        x x x                                  x x x

You said that Bobong Manio did something to you, ‘kinarat,' what exactly did he do to you?
‘Kinarat,’ sir.
“Q.  Do you know that you have a reproductive organ or a sexual organ?
“A.   …….
Let her point to her pekpek.
Will you please point to us your pekpek?
(Witness points to her pekpek)
You stated the word ‘kinarat,’ and this was what Bobong Manio did to you?
Yes, sir.

“x x x                                        x x x                                  x x x

Did Bobong Manio ever play with you?
“A.   No, sir.
“Q.  If he did not play with you, what was it that he did to you?
“A.   ‘Kinarat,' sir.
“Q.  When he did that to you, what did you feel?
“A.   I did not feel any, sir.
“Q.  Were you not hurt?
“A.   I was hurt, sir.
“Q.  Did you notice if there was blood that came out from you?
“A. Yes, sir, I noticed that there was blood.
“Q. Where was the blood that you saw?
“A. In my panty, sir.
“Q.  What about your pekpek, did you look at it if you saw blood?
“A. Yes, sir, there was blood.

“x x x                                        x x x                                  x x x

Catherine, what the accused allegedly did to you at that time was bad, do you know that?
Yes, sir, I know that.
“Q.  And since you know that it was bad, did it not occur to your mind to shout so that people may come to your rescue?
“A.   I shouted and I also cried, sir.”[4]

Per his medical report, Exhibit “C,” the examining physician, Dr. Jaime Rodrigo L. Leal, found “healing hymenal laceration” and concluded that his “physical findings of genitalia [was] indicative of penetration.” The counsel for the accused agreed to dispense with the doctor’s testimony; the accused himself was asked to sign the minutes of the proceedings to signify his conformity on the admission made by counsel.[5] Be that as it might; a medical examination of a victim of rape would not be indispensable to establish the fact of rape the proof of which could also come from a credible witness.

Hardly, could appellant’s defense of denial and alibi stand against the positive identification made by five-year old Catherine. In fact, the supposed alibi even bolstered the fact that appellant was in close proximity of the crime scene. No possible ill-motive on the part of the complainant or her family was shown that could have made any of them institute the case against appellant and falsely implicate him for a serious crime he did not commit.

The mother of the victim, Beatriz Pastor-Pili Garcia, testified on the age, and presented before the trial court the birth certificate, of her daughter attesting to the fact that Catherine Navarro was barely six and a half years old at the time of the rape on 03 September 1998, having been born on 16 February 1992.

Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. 7659, provides -

“Article 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

“(3) When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.

“x x x                                        x x x                                  x x x

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

“x x x                                        x x x                                  x x x

(4). when the victim is a religious or a child below seven (7) years old.”

The Court is thus left with no alternative but to sustain the imposition by the court a quo of the penalty of death. In keeping with current jurisprudence on the matter, the offended party is entitled to moral damages of P75,000.00 and the award by the trial court of civil indemnity should be increased to P75,000.00.

Three Justices of the Supreme Court maintain their position that the law, insofar as it prescribes the death penalty, is unconstitutional; nevertheless, they submit to the ruling of the majority to the effect that the law is constitutional and that the death penalty could be imposed.

WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Macabebe, Pampanga, Branch 55, finding accused-appellant Jonel Manio GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of statutory rape committed against six-year old Catherine Navarro and imposing on him the penalty of death with the MODIFICATION (a) that the amount of civil indemnity of P50,000.00 is increased to P75,000.00 and (b) that another P75,000.00 by way of moral damages is likewise awarded to the offended party. Costs de oficio.

In accordance with Section 25 of Republic Act No. 7659, amending Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, upon finality of this decision, let the records of this case be forthwith forwarded to the Office of the President for possible exercise of the pardoning power.


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

[1] Rollo, p. 7

[2] Records, p. 9.

[3] Rollo, p. 17.

[4] TSN, Catherine Navarro, 16 June 1999, pp. 15-19.

[5] Ibid.

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