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668 Phil. 333


[ G.R. No. 181035, July 04, 2011 ]




The accused-appellant challenges in this appeal the July 25, 2007 Decision [1] promulgated by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 01161, which affirmed in toto the judgment [2] of conviction for two counts of Rape rendered against him by Branch 53 of the Pangasinan Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Criminal Case Nos. 4354-R and 4355-R.

Accused-appellant Noel Dion y Duque (Dion) was charged with two counts of rape in two separate criminal complaints filed directly before the RTC on June 19, 2001, which read:

Criminal Case No. 4354-R:

The undersigned complainant under oath accuses NOEL DION y DUQUE Alias KIKO of Brgy Cabalaoangan Sur, Rosales, Pangasinan of the crime of Rape, committed as follows;

That on June 16, 2001 at around 10:00 o'clock in the evening in XXX, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, by means of force, threats (sic) and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and felon[i]ously have carnal knowledge with the complainant, a minor, 10 years of age against her will.  (Medico-legal Certificate is hereto attached) [3]

Criminal Case No. 4355-R:

The undersigned complainant under oath accuses NOEL DION y DUQUE Alias KIKO of Brgy Cabalaoangan Sur, Rosales, Pangasinan of the crime of Rape, committed as follows;

That sometime [i]n April 2001 at around 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon in XXX, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, by means of force, threats (sic) and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and felon[i]ously have carnal knowledge with the complainant, a minor, 10 years of age against her will.  (Medico-legal Certificate is hereto attached) [4]

The arraignment [5] for both cases was held on September 12, 2001, after the Office of the Assistant Provincial Prosecutor, which conducted the preliminary investigation requested by Dion, [6] found probable cause to hold him for trial. [7]  On the same day, the RTC issued an Order [8] to reflect that Dion entered a plea of not guilty to the two charges, and to set the schedule of the pre-trial conference.

After the completion of the pre-trial conference on March 6, 2002, [9] joint trial on the merits followed.

AAA, [10] the private complainant, was the first witness for the prosecution.  She testified that it was sometime in April 2001 when she was first raped by Dion, whom she knew as a distant relative. She identified Dion in open court.  AAA alleged that at around three o'clock in the afternoon, after she had finished throwing garbage at the "bakir" or garbage pit [11] located some 300 meters from the back of their house, Dion came out from behind some trees, beckoning her to approach him. Instead of going to Dion, AAA started to run to their house, but she tripped and fell to the ground.  This allowed Dion to catch up to her, and he then pulled her toward an area covered with tall grasses.  After threatening AAA that he will cut her tongue and neck if she shouted, Dion forced her on her back and removed her undergarments.  Dion then removed his own short pants and briefs then climbed on top of her.  AAA described how Dion made the "push and pull movement" after he inserted his penis into her vagina.  AAA claimed that when Dion had finished, he stood up and again warned her not to report the incident to anyone, otherwise he will cut her neck or tongue. [12]

Regarding the second incident of rape, AAA averred that at around ten o'clock in the evening of June 16, 2001, while she was getting water from their kitchen, she heard knocking at the door.  AAA inquired who it was but received no response. She testified that all of a sudden, Dion was already inside their house, and he was calling her. Once again, Dion gave the same threats to AAA before raping her as he did previously, in April 2001.  Dion had just finished his deed and was about to go home when AAA's uncle, CCC, arrived.  Following the sound he had heard, CCC found Dion hiding in a corner in the kitchen. CCC immediately collared Dion and woke up BBB, AAA's grandmother.  BBB thereafter called Dion's father and their Barangay Chairman. [13]

The prosecution introduced in evidence the Medico-Legal Certificate [14] prepared by Dr. Mary Ann Valdez Romero-Fernandez, who conducted the physical examination on AAA on June 17, 2001.  Dr. Romero-Fernandez's findings, as stated in the certificate dated June 18, 2001, are as follows:

.x.x    DOI= April 2001/June 16, 2001         TOI= 3P.M. / 10P.M.
POI= 1. Backyard  2. Same as address
NOI= alleged sexual abuse
Physical findings : (+) healed, superficial, lacerated hymenal
wounds at 4,6 & 9 o'clock positions

Admits 1 finger; Rectal examination :     no skin tag, no fissures
tight sphinteric tone,
cervix closed, uterus=small
adnexae =(-)

Hymenal lacerations at 4,6, & 9 o'clock positions G0
Cervicovaginal smear for presence of spermatozoa
Result:  Negative for spermatozoa  .x.x

Noticeable in the Medico-Legal Certificate were the findings that the hymenal lacerations on AAA were not only healed but also only superficial.  Moreover, the cervicovaginal smear done on AAA to test for presence of spermatozoa yielded a negative result.

Asked to restate her findings in non-technical language, Dr. Romero-Fernandez explained that the lacerations were "superficial" as they had "not gone through beyond more than half of the width of the hymen." [15]  Likewise, they were "healed" since they appear to have occurred more than 24 hours before the examination. [16]  The doctor elaborated that a number of factors could cause lacerations to the hymen, [17] but admitted that in AAA's case, she "could not surmise or definitely say that those lacerations could have been caused by sexual abuse." [18]

The prosecution next presented the maternal grandmother and guardian of AAA, BBB.  BBB attested that AAA is the child of her daughter, who died when AAA was only three years old.  Since then, she had been taking care of AAA, whom she confirmed to be a minor at the time of the rape incidents. [19]

After the prosecution rested its case, the defense presented the following as witnesses: Clarita Dion, Allan Ramirez, Leonardo Neris, and Pepito Dion, Sr.  Although they had all testified before Dion himself took the stand, their testimonies were given to support and corroborate Dion's own account of the events.

Negating AAA's accusations, Dion denied that he had raped AAA, whom he claimed he had never talked to.  He alleged that he could not have raped AAA in April 2001 because he was in Barangay Dusoc, Bayambang, Pangasinan the entire month, working as a "bata-bataan" [20] (boy) in the carnival which was situated there at that time. [21]

Zeroing in on the June 16, 2001 rape, Dion averred that he was on his way to a dance in the barangay when AAA called him to enter her house.  He obliged, but upon entering her house, he found AAA's uncle, CCC, who, for no reason, accused him of raping AAA. [22]  Dion's father, Pepito Dion, Sr., later arrived with their Barangay Chairman, Leonardo Neris, to look into what happened. Dion said his father "mauled" him when he said that he didn't do it.  Afterwards, he was brought to the municipal hall where he was "incarcerated." [23]

Allan Ramirez, also a resident of Rosales, Pangasinan, was presented to corroborate Dion's alibi that he was at the carnival in another barangay in April of 2001. Ramirez disclosed that he had come to know Dion in the carnival where they both worked.  He claimed that in April 2001, both he and Dion were working in the carnival, which at that time was located in Barangay Dusoc, Bayambang.  To prove this, he presented a certification [24] from the Punong Barangay of Dusoc, Bayambang, that the carnival owned by Mr. Jose Miguel was in their barangay from March 28 to April 30, 2001.  However, Ramirez also mentioned that on April 1, 2001, the carnival was transferred to Rosales, so he and Dion also travelled to Rosales, but they went back to Bayambang in the afternoon. [25]

During her testimony, Dion's mother, Clarita Dion, noted the negative results of the medical examination done on AAA, and concluded that her son was telling her the truth when he denied raping AAA.  Mrs. Dion averred that Dion was working as a supervisor or the person in charge of betting at a carnival in Barangay Dusoc, Bayambang, Pangasinan, from April 30 to May 16, 2001, and since Dion did not know how to travel by himself, he could not have gone back to Rosales to rape AAA.  Moreover, she alleged that on June 16, 2001, her son was with her the entire day until the evening when he got dressed up to go to the barangay dancing hall for an event.  She claimed that she went with Dion to the dancing hall to watch the celebration, although she went home earlier.  Dion supposedly went home at eleven o'clock in the evening and he told her that the Barangay Chairman accused him of raping AAA.  Mrs. Dion admitted that AAA was not only her neighbor, but also her husband's relative. She, however, alleged that while Dion was not fond of women, AAA was "fond of playing with men." [26]

The defense also offered in evidence the testimony of Barangay Cabalaoangan Sur's Chairman in 2001, Leonardo Neris.  Neris testified that he only learned of both incidents of rape in the evening of June 16, 2001.  He was at the barangay hall for the wedding celebration of a barangay mate when at around ten o'clock in the evening, he was informed that BBB's granddaughter was raped. Together with Pepito Dion, Sr. (Pepito) who was then the Chief Barangay Tanod, he went to BBB's house to investigate on the matter.  He claimed that he did not see AAA that night because BBB said AAA was nervous and did not want to talk to anyone.  Neris claimed that it was only when he got to BBB's house that he discovered that it was Pepito's son who was being accused.  He opined that Dion was mentally retarded and in fact, in their town, Dion was nicknamed "Kiko," the term they use to call "abnormal people." Neris also stated that Dion was at AAA's house because he was supposed to go to the dancing hall with his uncle who lived there. [27]

Dion's father, Pepito Dion, Sr., averred that while his 25-year-old son might have a low I.Q., he is not a retardate.  He affirmed that Dion was at the carnival in Bayambang, Pangasinan for the month of April 2001.  Pepito alleged that since his son could not travel on his own, it was only on April 28, 2001 that he returned to Rosales, with his employer.  Pepito claimed that from April 29 to 30, 2001, Dion was at home, as Dion helped him in filling the foundation of their house.  Meanwhile, on June 16, 2001, as Chief Tanod tasked to maintain peace and order, he was at their barangay hall for a wedding event when he was called by their Barangay Chairman to respond to a report.  It was around eight o'clock in the evening when he accompanied Barangay Chairman Neris to BBB's house to investigate BBB's claim that her granddaughter was raped.  When Pepito arrived at BBB's house, he saw that it was his son Dion who was being accused, and when he asked Dion if he did it, Dion answered "No Tatay."  Pepito also stated that Dion told him that he was there because AAA wanted him to accompany her to the dancing hall. [28]

On December 21, 2004, the RTC rendered its Decision, finding Dion guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of statutory rape:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court hereby renders judgment as follows:

  1. In Criminal Case No. 4354-R, the Court finds the accused Guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape defined and penalized under Article 266-A, par. 1(d) and penalized under Article 266-B par. 1, and hereby imposes upon him the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua.  He is also ordered to pay the victim [AAA] the amount of (a) P50,000.00 as moral damages and (b) P50,000.00 as indemnity or compensatory damages;

  2. In Criminal Case No. 4355-R, the Court finds the accused Noel Dion Guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape defined under Article 266-A, par. 1(d) and penalized under Article 266-B par. 1. He is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and ordered to pay the victim [AAA] the amount of (a) P50,000.00 as moral damages and (b) P50,000.00 as indemnity or compensatory damages. [29]

The RTC held that it had no reason to disbelieve the testimony of AAA because "she was clear, direct, firm, and forthright when she testified" [30] about her ordeals.  On the other hand, the RTC found Dion's defense of alibi in relation to the April 2001 rape unworthy for not having met the requisites for such a defense to be acceptable.  The RTC pronounced that the defense was not able to show that it was physically impossible for Dion to be at the crime scene during the whole month of April 2001. The RTC gave no probative value to the certification the barangay submitted since the person who issued it was not presented in court.  It also considered Ramirez's admission that the carnival was transferred to Rosales on April 1, 2001, as having discredited Dion's claim that he was in Bayambang the entire month of April of that year.  The RTC rejected the defense's claim that Dion was mentally deficient because his very job in the carnival they all claimed he worked in proved that Dion was "endowed x x x with common sense, x x x good memory and accurate mathematical ability, which are all indicia of normal average, if not high intelligence." [31]

The RTC also discounted Dion's denial of the June 2001 rape. The RTC found that Dion was not able to properly explain what he was doing at AAA's house at a very late hour and why he would be accused of raping AAA, especially since he had claimed that he neither liked her nor fought with her.

Dion elevated the RTC decision to the Court of Appeals, attacking the second information as defective and AAA's testimony as incredible and full of inconsistencies.

In its Decision dated July 25, 2007 in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 01161, the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the RTC decision.  The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals Decision reads:

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Rosales, Pangasinan, Br. 53, in Crim. Cases No. 4354-R and 4355-R, convicting the Accused-Appellant NOEL DION of two (2) counts of rape and sentencing him to reclusion perpetua in each case and to pay [AAA] the amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) for each case, by way of moral damages and Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) for each case, as indemnity or compensatory damages, is AFFIRMED in toto. [32]

The Court of Appeals upheld the validity of the second complaint and held that "in a prosecution for rape, x x x, the material fact or circumstance to be considered is the occurrence of the rape, not the time of its commission." [33]  The Court of Appeals also stated that "the testimony of [AAA] bear[s] the hallmarks of truth" [34] and that "the prosecution's evidence is overwhelming that it stands against the bare denial and alibi of [Dion]." [35]

Dion is now before this Court, on appeal, with the same assignment of errors he posited before the Court of Appeals, to wit:











In essence, Dion is assailing three things in this case: the validity of Criminal Case No. 4355-R, the credibility of AAA's testimony, and the relevancy of the findings contained in the Medico-Legal Certificate.  We have carefully studied the records of this case and we find no reason to overturn the courts below.

Since the fact that AAA was only 10 years old when the rapes occurred was alleged in the two Complaints and proven during trial, Dion was tried and convicted of Statutory Rape under Article 266-A, paragraph 1, in relation to Article 266-B, paragraph 1, of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 8353. Said provisions read:

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:

a) Through force, threat, or intimidation;

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

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

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

Article 266-B. Penalties. - Rape under paragraph 1 of the next preceding article shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.

The Validity of the Complaint
in Criminal Case No. 4355-R

Dion disputes the validity of the Complaint in Criminal Case No. 4355-R for allegedly having grossly violated his constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. [37]  Dion argues that because the complaint failed to state the exact, or at least the approximate, date the purported rape was committed, he was not able to intelligently prepare for his defense and persuasively refute the indictment against him. [38]

Taking a cue from the Court of Appeals, we are reproducing here Section 11, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, which provides:

SEC. 11. Date of commission of the offense. - It is not necessary to state in the complaint or information the precise date the offense was committed except when it is a material ingredient of the offense.  The offense may be alleged to have been committed on a date as near as possible to the actual date of its commission. (Emphasis supplied.)

It is clear from the foregoing that the requirement of indicating in the complaint or information the date of the commission of the offense applies only when such date is a material ingredient of the offense. In People v. Espejon, [39] we elucidated on this rule, to wit:

An information is valid as long as it distinctly states the elements of the offense and the acts or omissions constitutive thereof.  The exact date of the commission of a crime is not an essential element of it.  Thus, in a prosecution for rape, the material fact or circumstance to be considered is the occurrence of the rape, not the time of its commission.  The failure to specify the exact date or time when it was committed does not ipso facto make the information defective on its face. [40]

In People v. Cantomayor, [41] we explained when the time of the commission of the crime becomes relevant:

[T]he time of the commission of the crime assumes importance only when it creates serious doubt as to the commission of the rape or the sufficiency of the evidence for purposes of conviction.  The date of the commission of the rape becomes relevant only when the accuracy and truthfulness of the complainant's narration practically hinge on the date of the commission of the crime. [42]

Applying this principle in a statutory rape case, we held:

We have repeatedly held that the date of the commission of rape is not an essential element of the crime.  It is not necessary to state the precise time when the offense was committed except when time is a material ingredient of the offense. In statutory rape, time is not an essential element.  What is important is that the information alleges that the victim was a minor under twelve years of age and that the accused had carnal knowledge of her, even if the accused did not use force or intimidation on her or deprived her of reason. [43] (Emphasis ours.)

In the case at bar, it is clear that the prosecution's evidence consisting of AAA's credible and straightforward testimony, and the certification from the Municipality of Rosales, Pangasinan Office of the Municipal Civil Registrar [44] as to AAA's date of birth, are sufficient to sustain Dion's conviction.  The defense raised by Dion, which consisted of an alibi with respect to the April 2001 incident and denial as regards the June 16, 2001 allegation, were not strong enough to create a doubt on AAA's credibility.

The Credibility of AAA's Testimony

AAA's testimony is being questioned and challenged for being improbable, incredible, and inconsistent.  Dion insists that while AAA's testimony remains uncorroborated, he has established and supported his defense by both documentary and testimonial evidence.

Due to its intimate nature, rape is usually a crime bereft of witnesses, and, more often than not, the victim is left to testify for herself.  Thus, in the resolution of rape cases, the victim's credibility becomes the primordial consideration.  It is settled that when the victim's testimony is straightforward, convincing, and consistent with human nature and the normal course of things, unflawed by any material or significant inconsistency, it passes the test of credibility, and the accused may be convicted solely on the basis thereof. [45]  Inconsistencies in the victim's testimony do not impair her credibility, especially if the inconsistencies refer to trivial matters that do not alter the essential fact of the commission of rape. [46]  The trial court's assessment of the witnesses' credibility is given great weight and is even conclusive and binding. [47]  In People v. Sapigao, Jr., [48] this Court explained in detail the rationale for this practice:

It is well settled that the evaluation of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies is a matter best undertaken by the trial court because of its unique opportunity to observe the witnesses firsthand and to note their demeanor, conduct, and attitude under grilling examination.  These are important in determining the truthfulness of witnesses and in unearthing the truth, especially in the face of conflicting testimonies.  For, indeed, the emphasis, gesture, and inflection of the voice are potent aids in ascertaining the witness' credibility, and the trial court has the opportunity and can take advantage of these aids. These cannot be incorporated in the record so that all that the appellate court can see are the cold words of the witness contained in transcript of testimonies with the risk that some of what the witness actually said may have been lost in the process of transcribing.  As correctly stated by an American court, "There is an inherent impossibility of determining with any degree of accuracy what credit is justly due to a witness from merely reading the words spoken by him, even if there were no doubt as to the identity of the words.  However artful a corrupt witness may be, there is generally, under the pressure of a skillful cross-examination, something in his manner or bearing on the stand that betrays him, and thereby destroys the force of his testimony. Many of the real tests of truth by which the artful witness is exposed in the very nature of things cannot be transcribed upon the record, and hence they can never be considered by the appellate court." [49]

In refuting AAA's testimony, Dion proffered the defense of alibi and denial.

This Court has time and again held that alibi is one of the weakest defenses, not only because it is inherently frail and unreliable, but also because it is easy to fabricate and difficult to check out or rebut. [50]

In People v. Del Ayre, [51] we held that the requisites for the defense are: (a) his presence at another place at the time of the perpetration of the offense; and (b) the physical impossibility of his presence at the scene of the crime.

Dion has failed to show us that it was physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime in April 2001.  In fact, his alibi was discredited by the testimonies of his own witnesses. Ramirez admitted that they went back to Rosales on April 1, 2001.  Although he later tried to rectify this by claiming that they had returned to Bayambang in the same afternoon, the fact that the carnival had already moved to Rosales on April 1, 2001 demolished Dion's alibi that he was working at the carnival in Bayambang the entire month.  We find it difficult to believe that he was in Bayambang when the carnival had already moved to Rosales.  Moreover, his father's testimony that Dion was in Rosales from April 28 to 30, 2001 contradicted not only Dion's and Ramirez's testimonies, but also Mrs. Dion's claim that the carnival operated in Bayambang from April 30 to June 16, 2001, which was meant to show that Dion was away, in Bayambang, on those dates.

The RTC cannot be faulted for not giving probative weight to Dion's alibi.  Besides being inherently weak for not being airtight, Dion's alibi cannot prevail against the positive identification and credible testimony made by AAA.  The documentary evidence submitted by Dion was a mere certification that the carnival owned by Mr. Jose Miguel was in Bayambang for the entire month of April 2001. The RTC was correct in not giving it due consideration as it was never authenticated by the one who issued it. Moreover, it merely certified the whereabouts of the carnival, not Dion's.  The inconsistent testimonies of Dion's witnesses destroyed his defense from its very foundation.

Dion's defense of denial with respect to the June 16, 2001 rape must also fail.  In People v. Espinosa, [52] we held that:

It is well-settled that denial, if unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, is a self-serving assertion that deserves no weight in law.  Denial cannot prevail over the positive, candid and categorical testimony of the complainant, and as between the positive declaration of the complainant and the negative statement of the appellant, the former deserves more credence. [53]

Dion was utterly unsuccessful in discrediting AAA's allegation that he raped her again in the evening of June 16, 2001.  His claim that his version was corroborated by his witnesses is also misplaced.  On the contrary, the testimonies of his witnesses were so inconsistent that rather than helping his case, his guilt was further established.  For instance, while he categorically declared that he was not able to go to the dancing hall because AAA invited him to her house, his own mother testified that she herself went with Dion to the dancing hall.  In addition, while they all stated that the incident happened at ten o'clock in the evening, Dion's father said that he left the hall to go to BBB's house at eight o'clock in the evening.  Moreover, whereupon Dion claimed that he just happened to pass by AAA's house when AAA invited him in, Dion's father said Dion was there because AAA wanted him to accompany her to the dancing hall, while Barangay Chairman Neris said that Dion was supposed to pick up his uncle to go to the dancing hall.  More than these terribly inconsistent statements, Dion himself could not substantiate his defense.  In fact, he admitted that he and AAA rarely talked and that they had no quarrel. Since Dion was unable to offer evidence showing any reason or motive for AAA to falsely testify against him, the logical conclusion is that no such improper motive exists and the testimony of AAA should be accorded full faith and credit. [54]

The Relevancy of the Findings Contained
in the Medico-Legal Certificate

Dion insists that the findings in the medical certificate cast serious doubts on AAA's claim of being raped.

This Court has made several pronouncements on the relevance of a medico-legal certificate.  It is merely corroborative in character, which could be dispensed with accordingly.  In People v. Ferrer, [55] we held:

[I]t must be pointed out that the absence of spermatozoa in the vagina of the victim does not negate the commission of rape for the simple reason that the mere touching of the labia of the female organ by the penis is already considered as consummated rape.  The presence of sperm is not a requisite for rape.  For in rape, it is not ejaculation but penetration that consummates the sexual act.

We accordingly reject accused-appellant's arguments which hinge on alleged inconsistencies between the statements made by the private complainant vis-a-vis the medical examination and report.  The medical report is by no means controlling.  This Court has repeatedly held that a medical examination of the victim is not indispensable in the prosecution for rape, and no law requires a medical examination for the successful prosecution thereof.  The medical examination of the victim or the presentation of the medical certificate is not essential to prove the commission of rape as the testimony of the victim alone, if credible, is sufficient to convict the accused of the crime.  The medical examination of the victim as well as the medical certificate is merely corroborative in character. [56]

Dion had failed to impeach the credible and straightforward testimony of AAA.  Well-settled is the doctrine that testimonies of child-victims are given full weight and credit.  When a woman or a girl-child says that she had been raped, she says, in effect, all that is necessary to prove that rape was really committed. [57]

As the rapes were committed on AAA, a minor below 12 years old, as proven by both testimonial and documentary evidence, [58] without any aggravating or mitigating circumstance, the Court of Appeals was correct in affirming the RTC's imposition upon Dion of the penalty of reclusion perpetua, since it found Dion guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of simple rape, as defined under Article 266-A, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code.

Civil indemnity ex delicto is mandatory upon a finding of the fact of rape.  Moral damages are automatically awarded without need of further proof, because it is assumed that a rape victim has actually suffered moral injuries entitling the victim to such award. [59]

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 01161 is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION.  Accused-appellant Noel Dion y Duque is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of SIMPLE RAPE in Criminal Case No. 4354-R and Criminal Case No. 4355-R and sentenced to reclusion perpetua for each count of rape.  He is ordered to pay the victim AAA Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) as civil indemnity and Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) as moral damages, for each count of rape, all with interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of finality of this judgment. No costs.


Corona, C.J., (Chairperson), Bersamin, Del Castillo, and Villarama, Jr., JJ., concur.

[1] Rollo, pp. 2-18; penned by Associate Justice Normandie B. Pizarro with Associate Justices Edgardo P. Cruz and Fernanda Lampas Peralta, concurring.

[2] CA rollo, pp. 22-43; penned by Judge Teodorico Alfonso P. Bauzon.

[3] Records, Vol. I, p. 1.

[4] Records, Vol. II, p. 1.

[5] Records, Vol. I, p. 23.

[6] Id. at 9.

[7] Id. at 12 and 14.

[8] Id. at 22.

[9] Id. at 40.

[10] Under Republic Act No. 9262 also known as "Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children  Act of 2004" and its implementing rules, the real name of the victim and those of her immediate family members are withheld and fictitious initials are instead used to protect the victim's privacy.

[11] TSN, May 22, 2002, p. 7.

[12] TSN, April 24, 2002, pp. 2-9.

[13] TSN, April 24, 2002, pp. 9-13.

[14] Records, Vol. I, p. 6.

[15] TSN, May 5, 2003, p. 8.

[16] Id.

[17] Id. at 10.

[18] Id. at 13.

[19] TSN, May 26, 2003, pp. 3-5.

[20] TSN, August 2, 2004, p. 9.

[21] TSN, June 7, 2004, pp. 3-4.

[22] Id. at 7-9.

[23] TSN, August 2, 2004, pp. 5-7.

[24] Records, Vol. I, p. 189.

[25] TSN, May 24, 2004, pp. 3-7.

[26] TSN, January 21, 2004, pp. 3-11.

[27] TSN, February 16, 2004, pp. 3-15.

[28] TSN, April 28, 2004, pp. 3-9.

[29] CA rollo, pp. 42-43.

[30] Id. at 30.

[31] Id. at 38.

[32] Rollo, p. 17.

[33] Id. at 10.

[34] Id. at 14.

[35] Id. at 15.

[36] CA rollo, pp. 55-56.

[37] Id. at 60.

[38] Id. at 60-61.

[39] 427 Phil. 672 (2002).

[40] Id. at 680-681.

[41] 441 Phil. 840 (2002).

[42] Id. at 847.

[43] People v. Escultor, 473 Phil. 717, 727 (2004).

[44] Records, Vol. I, p. 4.

[45] People v. Arcosiba, G.R. No. 181081, September 4, 2009, 598 SCRA 517, 526-527.

[46] People v. Boromeo, G.R. No. 150501, June 3, 2004, 430 SCRA 533, 547.

[47] People v. Escultor, supra note 43 at 730.

[48] G.R. No. 178485, September 4, 2009, 598 SCRA 416.

[49] Id. at 425-426.

[50] People v. Palomar, 343 Phil. 628, 663 (1997).

[51] 439 Phil. 73 (2002).

[52] 476 Phil. 42 (2004).

[53] Id. at 62.

[54] People v. Bulan, 498 Phil. 586, 599 (2005).

[55] 415 Phil. 188 (2001).

[56] Id. at 199.

[57] People v. Saban, 377 Phil. 37, 45 (1999).

[58] Certificate of Live Birth, Records, Vol. I, p. 137.

[59] People v. Flores, G.R. No. 177355, December 15, 2010.

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