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433 Phil. 49


[ G.R. No. 132663, July 02, 2002 ]




This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City finding Agulbi Pascual y Cornelio guilty of the crime of rape and sentencing him to reclusion perpetua and ordering him to pay the victim, Analyn Kidsolan, the amount of fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) as moral damages.

On May 9, 1997, Agulbi Pascual y Cornelio was charged before the Regional Trial Court with rape in an information that reads as follows:
“That on or about the 27th day of April, 1997, in the City of Baguio, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously and by means of force or intimidation have carnal knowledge of ANALYN P. KIDSOLAN, a minor - 15 years of age, against her will and consent.”[1]
He pleaded not guilty to the charge during the arraignment on May 15, 1997.[2] Hence, trial ensued.

The prosecution proved the following facts:

In the morning of April 27, 1997, private complainant Analyn Kidsolan went biking at Burnham Park together with her nine-year old sister and her cousin. At about 11:00 a.m., while they were resting, accused-appellant Agulbi Pascual approached her and asked if he could make her acquaintance. She agreed and they engaged in some small talk. Agulbi introduced himself as Alex Manuel. He gained Analyn's trust and confidence when she learned that he knew her cousins in Kagim-is. Agulbi then offered to drive the bike for Analyn and her sister.  After an hour of biking, Agulbi invited Analyn to see a movie. She initially refused, but because of his insistence, she eventually relented.  Analyn sent her sister and her cousin home, and she and Agulbi walked to New Baguio Theater at T. Alonzo Street.  They watched a double program. They sat beside each other inside the moviehouse and they talked occasionally. Agulbi asked Analyn if she had a boyfriend.  She told him she had none.  Agulbi held her hand and kissed her on the right cheek. Analyn took back her hand.  Agulbi again asked her if she had a boyfriend.  Again, she replied in the negative.  Agulbi and Analyn came out of the moviehouse at 5:00 p.m. They proceeded to Mariciel Theater to see another movie.  But the moviehouse was full and they remained standing as they watched the film.  Since they were not able to find seats, they went out of the theater before the movie could end.  Agulbi then invited Analyn to go see his cousin in Campo Sioco. Analyn declined because it was already late. Ignoring Analyn's refusal, Agulbi flagged down a taxicab and told the driver to bring them to Campo Sioco. He held her hand as they boarded the taxi.  She asked him where they were going. He told her that they would go see his cousin. They sat beside each other behind the driver.  They reached Campo Sioco at about  8:00 in the evening. They got off in a dark, isolated place, filled with pine trees. When she asked him what they were doing there, he suddenly turned and pulled her hand.  Analyn tried to shout but Agulbi covered her mouth with his right hand. She kicked him as she struggled to free herself.  Agulbi told Analyn to keep still or else he would throw her down the ravine. He also threatened to tie her hands. Agulbi slapped her several times and boxed her left eye.  Analyn fell unconscious. When she woke up, she found herself lying on her back with her hands placed on her nape. She felt her body aching.  She saw Agulbi standing a few meters from her.  She noticed that her pants and underwear have been removed and only the upper part of her body was clothed. She also felt pain and bleeding in her vagina. Her left eye also ached. She put on her clothes and begged accused-appellant to bring her home. Agulbi apologized to Analyn for boxing her left eye. Analyn remained silent. She was angry. She felt Agulbi had violated her womanhood.  Agulbi took Analyn to Marcos Highway where they hailed a taxicab to bring them to the city proper.  They alighted at the Plaza and then walked to Magsaysay Avenue to get a taxi to bring her home. As they stood waiting for a cab, Analyn's mother, Benita Kidsolan, saw them. She bid Analyn to go with her. Analyn rode the taxicab with her mother. Benita scolded Analyn for going out with a man she hardly knows. Analyn kept silent. Fear prevented her from speaking about the sexual assault. When they got home, Analyn washed her face and her feet and went straight to bed. She woke up at 6:00 a.m. the following day. It was only at that time that she found the courage to tell her mother about the rape. She identified the suspect as Alex Manuel.[3] Bent on filing a case against the rapist, Benita sought the advice of her brother, Samson Paulino, on the proper course of action. Samson accompanied Benita and Analyn to Baguio General Hospital where Analyn underwent medical examination. The examination conducted on May 3, 1997 by Dr. Wilma L. Lee,[4] an Obstetrician and Gynecologist at the Baguio General Hospital, yielded the following findings:
“x x x                                        x x x                                  x x x

P.E. on Admission
BP:  110/70   PR:  80/min.   RR:  16/min.
GS:  Conscious, coherent, ambulatory
Heent:  Pinkish palpebral conjunctivae
Subconjunctival hemorrhage lateral OS
Hematoma, infra orbital OS (2 cm)
C/L:  clear breath sounds
Heart:  Regular Rhythm, normal rate
Abdomen:  flat, normoactive bowel sounds

Perineal Examination

(-) bruises   (-) hematoma   (+) hymenal laceration at 5 o'clock position with erythematous edges.

Nulliparous intoitus, vagina admits 1 finger with ease, 2 fingers with difficulty, cervix closed, non tender, uterus small, (-) adnexae, (-) bleeding, (-) discharges.

x x x                                         x x x                                  x x x.”[5]
They also went to the Baguio City Police to report the incident. Samson also advised Benita to use tact and diplomacy in dealing with Agulbi so that he would not flee. On May 4, 1997, Benita, knowing that Agulbi wanted to see Analyn, went with her daughter to Burnham Park. Benita confronted Agulbi.  She chided him, saying, "Why did you do such a thing to my daughter?  Why did you box my daughter?  What you did was rape!"  Agulbi admitted what he had done and was willing to take responsibility for it. He said that he did it because he wanted to be the first man to be intimate with her. Agulbi and Benita agreed to meet again on May 12 to confer with Samson Paulino.  However, Agulbi went to see Benita on an earlier date, on May 7, 1997. Benita took Agulbi to Dainty Restaurant where Samson works. While they were talking with Samson, Benita saw an acquaintance who was a police officer. With the latter's help, Agulbi was brought to the police station where he was questioned about the rape charge. Benita fetched Analyn from their residence and brought her to the police station where she identified Agulbi as the rapist. It was revealed that his real name was Agulbi Pascual and not Alex Manuel.[6]

Agulbi presented a different version of the story. He testified that he introduced himself to Analyn at Burnham Park on April 20, 1997. He and Analyn went biking for two hours, during which they exchanged stories and got acquainted with each other. They had some snacks at a canteen in Burnham Park.  After eating, he invited Analyn to take a stroll at Marcos Highway. He told her that they would go to his cousin's house at Marcos Highway. Analyn agreed and  they took a jeep going there. But when they reached the place, they found the house closed. They proceeded to a vacant lot nearby. They entered a wooden gate and looked for a spot where they could sit and talk. The place was grassy and filled with pine trees. They sat beside each other and whiled away the time exchanging stories and getting to know each other.  Agulbi asked Analyn if she had a boyfriend.  She said she had none. Then she asked him if he had a girlfriend.  He also told her that he had no girlfriend. When he asked her if she wanted him to be her boyfriend, she did not answer. But when he asked her if she wanted them to be friends, she said yes. After two hours, they went back to Burnham Park and spent another hour together. Before they parted, they agreed to meet again the following Sunday, April 27, 1997, at the biking area at Burnham Park. On April 27, 1997, at about 11:00 in the morning, Agulbi saw Analyn sitting near the biking area. She introduced him to her sister and her cousin who were with her at that time. He drove the bike for Analyn and her sister who were both seated in the sidecar.  They exchanged stories while biking. An hour later, Agulbi invited Analyn to a movie. She agreed and sent her sister and her cousin home. Agulbi and Analyn walked to New Baguio Theater where they watched a double program--one bold movie and another action movie.  They were seated side by side at the balcony. Agulbi placed his arms around Analyn's shoulder and they held hands. They also embraced and kissed. Agulbi and Analyn went out of the moviehouse late in the afternoon. Wanting to spend more time together, they went to Mariciel Theater to see another movie. But the moviehouse was full and they could not find a seat. They remained standing while watching the movie.  They again embraced and kissed each other. They did not finish the movie and they decided to go to Marcos Highway. It was already nighttime when they reached the area. They entered the vacant lot and they looked for a place where they could sit. Overcome by passion, Agulbi and Analyn embraced each other. Suddenly, they saw a flash of light and a man shouted at them, "Hoy, what are you doing there, you get out from that place!"  The man threatened to call the police if they do not get out of the premises. They walked back to Marcos Highway where they hailed a taxicab to bring them to the city proper. They got off at the Baguio Plaza. Agulbi invited Analyn for some drinks at Sunshine Restaurant. Analyn declined. She said that her mother was working there and she might get angry if she sees them together. They looked for another place where they could eat, and they ended up at Kimson Restaurant at Magsaysay Avenue, near the overpass. While they were eating, they agreed to meet again on May 4 at Burnham Park. Agulbi kept Analyn company while she waited for a ride home near the overpass. He gave her P26.00 for her fare.  As they stood waiting for a taxi, Agulbi asked for a kiss from Analyn. In response, Analyn kissed Agulbi on the right side of his neck. Suddenly, a taxi stopped in front of them. Analyn saw her mother, Benita Kidsolan, on board the taxi. Benita ordered her to get inside the cab. Analyn meekly followed.  Agulbi thereafter went home. On May 4, 1997, Agulbi and Analyn again met at Burnham Park.  Analyn was accompanied by her mother. The three of them went to Ganza Restaurant where they had a serious talk. Suspecting that Agulbi and Analyn were having an intimate relationship, Benita urged Agulbi to marry Analyn.  He did not object. They, in fact, arranged for Analyn and Benita to meet with his parents. They set the date to May 12. However, on May 5, 1997, Agulbi asked Benita if they could move the date of their meeting because he has not gone home yet to tell his parents of his plan to get married. Benita told Agulbi to come back on May 7 so that they could set the date.  When he went to see her on May 7, she took him to Dainty Restaurant. Benita called on her brother, Samson Paulino, who worked there. With Samson's help, Benita took Agulbi to the city jail where he was questioned regarding the rape charges filed by Analyn. Agulbi denied having raped Analyn.  Agulbi stated that during his detention, Analyn came to visit him and asked for forgiveness. She told him that it was the idea of her mother and uncle to commit him to jail. Analyn tried to persuade him to admit the charge. Agulbi, however, was firm on his denial.[7]

The trial court gave greater weight to the prosecution evidence and convicted Agulbi of the crime of rape. The dispositive portion of the decision states:
“WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered, finding AGULBI PASCUAL Y CORNELIO guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of RAPE, defined and penalized under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 11 of Republic Act 7659 as charged in the Information, and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua; to indemnify the offended party, Analyn Kidsolan, the sum of Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) as moral damages, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs.

The accused Agulbi Pascual being a detention prisoner, is entitled to be credited four-fifths (4/5) of his preventive imprisonment in the service of his sentence in accordance with Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code.

Accused-appellant appealed from the decision of the trial court. He raised the lone assignment of error:
“The court a quo erred in convicting the accused notwithstanding the failure of the prosecution to establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.”[9]
We find no merit in the appeal.

The prosecution and the defense presented conflicting versions of the story. While the prosecution asserted that accused-appellant had carnal knowledge of private complainant without her consent and against her will, the defense flatly denied that accused-appellant had sexual contact with her. The Court is therefore called upon to determine which of the two versions is more credible.

After a diligent study of the records of this case, we find the version of the prosecution more trustworthy. Private complainant's detailed and clear testimony deserves greater weight than accused-appellant's bare denial. Her testimony is bolstered by the physical evidence showing freshly healed laceration in her hymen and hematoma on her left eye. Dr. Wilma Lee, a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Baguio General Hospital who examined private complainant a few days after the incident, stated on the witness stand that the laceration in the hymen could have been caused by intrusion of the male organ into the private complainant's organ  and the hematoma on her left eye could have been caused by a fist blow.[10] The medical findings affirm her testimony that accused-appellant boxed her, rendering her unconscious, and while she was unconscious, accused-appellant forced himself on her. When the victim's testimony of her violation is corroborated by the physical findings of penetration, there is sufficient foundation for concluding that there was carnal knowledge.[11]

From the tenor of his testimony, accused-appellant would like to impress upon the Court that he and private complainant were having an amorous relationship. Whether or not it is true, the existence of a romantic relationship between them would not exonerate accused-appellant from criminal liability, since it has been shown that private complainant did not consent to the sexual act. The prosecution evidence shows that accused-appellant brought private complainant  to a dark, isolated place, outside the city proper of Baguio. Sensing danger, private complainant struggled to free herself from the hold of accused-appellant. Accused-appellant boxed her, rendering her unconscious.  Accused-appellant satisfied all his lustful desires on private complainant as she lay on the ground unconscious. When she woke up, private complainant found herself naked and her private part was bleeding. Her entire body was aching.  Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:
By using force or intimidation;
When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and
When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.”[12]
Accused-appellant's act of having sexual contact with private complainant as she lay unconscious is clearly punishable under the second paragraph of Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code.

To discredit private complainant's testimony, accused-appellant points out that her  demeanor after the alleged sexual assault is not characteristic of one who had just undergone such a traumatic experience. Accused-appellant cites the fact that private complainant did not show any outrage against him after the rape. She even talked to him while they waited for a ride home.  He also points out that when she got home, private complainant did not tell her mother about the incident.  She instead washed her face, cleaned her feet then went to sleep. The contention is unmeritorious. We have have held that victims of violence do not necessarily exhibit identical behavioral patterns under similar stressful environments.[13] The incident happened in a dark, isolated place. The 15-year old private complainant did not know how to go back to the city proper. There were neither houses nor people in the area where she could seek refuge. Thus, she could not do anything but beg accused-appellant to bring her home. From the evidence on record, it does not appear that private complainant was totally cordial toward accused-appellant after the incident. She, in fact, gave him a cold treatment even when he offered an apology for boxing her left eye. They walked quietly toward Marcos Highway and she kept silent while waiting for a ride home. Moreover, private complainant did not tell her mother about the rape when they got home because she was afraid of what her cousin might do. She instead waited until the next day before confiding to her mother. It would be unreasonable to expect private complainant to behave as accused-appellant would expect her to behave. Different people react differently even in similar situations. We find that private complainant's conduct after the incident, as described by accused-appellant, does not in any way diminish the credibility of her testimony that accused-appellant violated her womanhood.

The Court has long adhered to the principle that factual findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies are accorded great respect unless the court a quo overlooked substantial facts and circumstances, which if considered, would materially affect the result of the case.[14] In rape cases, the evaluation of the credibility of witnesses is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial judge whose conclusion thereon deserves much weight and respect because the judge had the direct opportunity to observe them on the stand and ascertain if they were telling the truth or not.[15] We find in the case at bar that the trial court committed no error in giving credence to the evidence of the prosecution and finding accused-appellant guilty of the charge.

In line with recent jurisprudence, an additional amount of fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) should be awarded to private complainant as civil indemnity which is separate and distinct from moral damages.[16]

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the appeal is DISMISSED. The decision appealed from is AFFIRMED with modification that accused-appellant is ordered to pay private complainant an additional amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity.


Panganiban, Sandoval-Gutierrez, and Carpio, JJ., concur.

[1] Original Records, p. 1.

[2] Original Record,  p. 9.

[3] Testimony of Analyn Kidsolan, TSN, August 29, 1997, pp. 19-32;  September 9, 1997, pp. 2-43.

[4] Testimony of Dr. Wilma L. Lee, TSN, August 26, 1997, pp. 9-24.

[5] Exhibit "A".

[6] Testimony of Benita P. Kidsolan, TSN, September 25, 1997, pp. 3-16.

[7] Testimony of Agulbi Pascual, TSN, October 24, 1997, pp. 3-9; November 3, 1997, pp. 2-15;  November 21, 1997, pp. 2-21.

[8] Decision, Criminal Case No. 14931-R, p. 18, Original Record, p. 94.

[9] Appellant's Brief, Rollo, p. 162.

[10] TSN, August 26, 1997, p. 17.

[11] People vs. Segui, 346 SCRA 178 (2000).

[12] Article 335, Revised Penal Code.

[13] People vs. Bisco, 348 SCRA 648 (2000).

[14] People vs. Velasquez, 345 SCRA 728 (2000);  People vs. Dagpin, 346 SCRA 860 (2000).

[15] People vs. Digma, 345 SCRA 185 (2000).

[16] People vs. Estrella, 352 SCRA 632 (2001).

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