456 Phil. 454
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
That on or sometime in the month of November, 1999, at Brgy. Banuar, Laoac, Pangasinan, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, a stepfather and relative by affinity within the third civil degree of herein complainant, Methel Kathleen Fernandez, a minor, 14 years old, through force, threats and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have sexual intercourse with said complainant, against her will, to her damage and prejudice.When arraigned on July 5, 2000, appellant, duly assisted by counsel, pleaded not guilty to the charges, whereupon joint trial commenced.
CONTRARY to Article 335, Revised Penal Code, as amended by Rep. Act Nos. 7659 and 8353.
Criminal Case No. U-10629
That on or sometime in January, 2000 at Brgy. Banuar, Laoac, Pangasinan and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, a stepfather and relative by affinity within the third civil degree of herein complainant Methel Kathleen Fernandez, a minor, 14 years old, through force, threats and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have sexual intercourse with said complainant, against her will, to her damage and prejudice.
CONTRARY to Art. 335, Revised Penal Code, as amended by Rep. Act Nos. 7659 and 8353.
External Genitalia - nulliparous introitus, no abrasions, no lacerations.In mid 2000, Methel, on the advice of Esmeralda "because of the gossip [going on] in [the] place," left the family residence for Marikina where she has since been living with an aunt.
Internal Genitalia - Hymen with healed superficial lacerations at 5, 7 and 11 o'clock positions.
WHEREFORE, JUDGMENT is hereby rendered:Appellant filed on February 8, 2001 a Motion for New Trial and To Defer Transfer of Accused to the National Penitentiary, alleging that Methel had, a few days after the promulgation of the decision of the trial court, executed an affidavit of recantation wherein she stated that appellant never raped her and that all the allegations she made against him were not true, she having been "only couched and taught what to state and say" in her sworn statement and during the trial.
The Clerk of Court is hereby ordered to prepare the mitimus and to transmit the entire records of Crim. Cases Nos. U-10628 and U-10629 to the Honorable Supreme Court of the Philippines for automatic review.
- In CRIM. CASE NO. U-10628, CONVICTING FREDDIE FONTANILLA beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape and the Court sentences him to suffer the penalty of DEATH to be implemented in the manner as provided for by law; to indemnify Methel Kathleen Fernandez the sum of P75,000.00 as moral damages and the further sum of P50,000.00 as exemplary damages;
- In CRIM. CASE NO. U-10629, CONVICTING FREDDIE FONTANILLA beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape and the Court sentences him to suffer the penalty of DEATH to be implemented in the manner as provided for by law; to indemnify Methel Kathleen Fernandez the sum of P75,000.00 as moral damages and the further sum of P50,000.00 as exemplary damages.
The Jail Warden, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Urdaneta District Jail, Urdaneta City, is hereby ordered to deliver the living person of Freddie Fontanilla to the National Bilibid Prisons, Muntinlupa City, immediately upon receipt of this Decision.
Appellant, casting doubt on the motive of Methel in filing the cases against him, contends that her testimony reveals that even as a child, she deeply resented his relationship with Esmeralda, and that she disliked him as he was very strict with her and would not give her permission whenever she wanted to go out with her friends.
- THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT FOR THE CRIME CHARGED HAS BEEN PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.
- THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING FAITH AND CREDENCE TO THE INCREDULOUS TESTIMONY OF THE PRIVATE COMPLAINANT.
- THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING THE AFFIDAVIT OF RECANTATION SUBMITTED BY THE PRIVATE COMPLAINANT.
This Court has remained steadfast to the rule that the trial court's assessment of the credibility of testimony of a complainant is entitled to great weight, absent any showing that some facts were overlooked which, if considered, would affect the outcome of the case. A careful scrutiny of Methel's testimony yields no compelling reason to disturb the trial court's assessment thereof.
Q: On that particular month of November 1999 while watching television was there an unusual thing that happened? A: There was, sir. Q: What is that? A: When I switch (sic) off the television I went to our room but my mother was not around she went out with her sister and Freddie Fontanilla arrived drunk, sir. Q: You said you went to your room, do you have companions when you said you went to your room? A: I have, sir. Q: Who? A: My four siblings, sir. x x x Q: Your four (4) siblings what were they doing then? A: They were sleeping, sir. Q: And when you went inside your room what did you do then? A: I arranged my things then I intend (sic) to sleep, sir. Q: Then when you intend (sic) to sleep what happened? A: When I was already sleeping all of a sudden someone entered, my stepfather entered my room, sir. Q: By the way, will you describe that room, is there a lock? A: There is a lock but we did not lock, because my mother has not yet arrived, sir. Q: What happened next when Freddie Fontanilla suddenly entered your room? A: When Freddie Fontanilla entered the room he went near me and I asked him "why papa" and he suddenly removed my shorts, sir. Q: What were you wearing that time? A: I was wearing shorts and blue t-shirt, sir. Q: After he removed your shorts what else did he do if any? A: He went on top of me and he placed his organ to my organ, sir. Q: Before that, what was your father wearing that time? A: He was wearing shortpants, sir. Q: What did he do with that (sic) shortpants? A: He removed his shorts, sir. Court: You mean you were not wearing panty? A: I have, sir. Q: What were removed were your shorts and panty? A: Yes, sir. Q: Was (sic) the shorts and panty removed simultaneously? A: No, sir. Q: What was removed first? A: Shorts, sir. Prosecutor Tomboc: You said that your father removed his shorts and then he went on top of you, where did he insert his organ how did he put his organ to your organ? A: He held his penis and then inserted it to my organ, sir. Court: Was it in erect position? A: Yes, sir. Prosecutor Tomboc: What did you feel when you said he inserted his organ to your organ? A: It was painful, sir. Court: When he inserted his penis to your vagina what did he do? A: He did the push and pull, sir. x x x Prosecutor Tomboc: Did you make any resistance when he went on top of you? A: Yes, sir. Q: How did you make the resistance? A: I was pushing him but he is very strong, sir. Q: What did he do when you pushed him? A: He was holding my both (sic) hands and he forced his way and do (sic) what he wanted, sir. Court: After making the push and pull, what happened? A: He removed his organ, sir. Q: Why was it removed? A: Because as if (sic) somebody arrived home and removed his organ, sir. Prosecutor Tomboc: What did he do then after removing his penis? A: He put on his underwear and shorts, sir, and then he left. Q: How about you, what did you do when he left? A: I put on my underwear and shorts and then I cried, sir. Q: Did you report the matter to your mother? A: No, sir. Court: That night did you report? A: No, sir, because I was afraid. Q: But did you ever report to anybody? A: I did not report to anybody even to my mother because my stepfather told me he will kill my mother if I will report, sir. Prosecutor Tomboc: After November 1999, will you inform this Honorable Court if there are other instances that happened to you relating to the same incident sometime in January 2000? A: Yes, sir. Q: Can you still recall the day or week when that incident happened? A: Second week of January, sir. Q: What time is it, nighttime or daytime? A: Nighttime, sir. Q: Where were you on that day when this incident happened? A: I was at home my stepfather did not allow me to go out, sir. x x x Court: How many were accompanying you in that house? A: We were four (4), sir. x x x Q: In what particular place were you then that time? A: In the sala, sir. Q: And what were you doing then? A: We were watching tv and I was helping my brothers and sisters doing (sic) their homeworks, sir. Q: Were you able to finish the watching of television? A: My uncle who was in the second floor of the house advised us to sleep because he did not want to be disturb (sic) by the sound of the television, sir. Q: Did you comply? A: Yes, sir. Q: Where did you sleep that night? A: In our room, sir. Q: Together with your brothers and sisters? A: Yes, sir.
x x x
Q: Then what happened? A: My stepfather entered the room, sir. Q: What did he do? A: When my stepfather entered the room he went at my back (sic) and then he told me to sleep and then stayed at my side, removed his shorts and underwear and then he also removed my shorts and panty, sir. Q: After removing your shorts and panty what did he do if any? A: He again inserted his organ to my organ, sir. Q: Did you make any resistance that time? A: Yes, sir. Q: In what way did you resist? A: I was pushing him but I cannot because he was strong, sir. Q: When you said he put his penis to your vagina what did he do next? A: He did the push and pull again, sir. Q: How long? A: I cannot calculate, sir. Q: What happened to his penis after doing the push and pull? A: Something came out from his penis, sir. Q: What did you feel with that something? A: There was a fluid, sir. Q: After that fluid came out what happened? A: He put on his underwear and shorts and went beside my brothers and sisters, sir. Q:
What did he do there?
A: He was about to sleep beside my brothers and sisters but my mother knocked and he was the one who opened, sir. Q: What happened after that? A: My mother came to know what he did to me and my mother shouted to (sic) my father, sir. Q: You mean that night? A: Yes, sir. Q: How did she come to know? A: When my father was doing the act she was peeping at the window of our room, sir. Q: How about you what did you do? A: When my mother came to me I was crying, sir. Q: That night what else transpired after that incident? A: My mother got angry, sir, and that night I was told to sleep with her.
x x x The unreliable character of this document is shown by the fact that it is quite incredible that after going through the process of having accused-appellant arrested by the police, positively identifying him as the person who raped her, enduring the humiliation of a physical examination of her private parts, and then repeating her accusations in open court by recounting her anguish, Maryjane would suddenly turn around and declare that "after a careful deliberation over the case, [she] find[s] that the same does not merit or warrant criminal prosecution.While appellant's liability for rape in both cases is upheld, this Court finds that the prosecution failed to establish the qualifying circumstance of relationship between Methel and appellant as alleged in the Informations. Relationship between Methel and appellant qualifies the crime of rape punishable by reclusion perpetua to rape punishable by death under Republic Act No. 8353. Under Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R. A. 8353, the death penalty shall be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with the following pertinent attendant circumstances:
Thus, we have declared that at most the retraction is an afterthought which should not be given probative value. It would be a dangerous rule to reject the testimony taken before the court of justice simply because the witness who has given it later on changed his mind for one reason or another. Such a rule will make a solemn trial a mockery and place the investigation at the mercy of unscrupulous witnesses. (Underscoring supplied)
x x xFollowing jurisprudence, when the law specifies certain circumstances that will qualify an offense and thus attach to it a greater degree of penalty, such circumstances must both be alleged and proven in order to justify the imposition of the graver penalty.
- 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. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)