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383 Phil. 572


[ G.R. Nos. 116009-10, February 29, 2000 ]




This is an appeal from the decision promulgated on June 6, 1994, by the Regional Trial Court of Legazpi City, Branch 5, in Criminal Case Nos. 5987 and 5988 finding appellants Roderick Loriega and Gary Arevalo guilty of two counts of rape as defined under paragraph (2) of Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code.

Prosecutor German Mata charged appellants with the crime of rape in two separate informations, both dated November 27, 1992. The accusatory portion of one information docketed as Criminal Case No. 5987 states:
"The undersigned Prosecutor II of Albay, upon the sworn complaint of Angielyn Marco, hereby accuses RODERICK LORIEGA and GARY AREVALO, of the crime of RAPE, committed as follows:

‘That on or about March 1, 1992 in the evening at San Roque, Daraga, Albay, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused RODERICK LORIEGA, with the indispensable cooperation of his co-accused GARY AREVALO, who was holding the hands of the victim, both accused, conspiring, confederating and helping one another for a common purpose, with lewd design, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of Angielyn Marco y Aquino, 15 years old, and a deaf/mute, with the use of force and against her will, to the latter's damage and prejudice.’

The other information, docketed as Criminal Case No. 5988, reads:
"The undersigned Prosecutor II of Albay, upon the sworn complaint of Angielyn Marco, hereby accuses RODERICK LORIEGA and GARY AREVALO, of the crime of RAPE, committed as follows:
‘That on or about March 1, 1992 in the evening at San Roque, Daraga, Albay, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused GARY AREVALO, with the indispensable cooperation of his co-accused RODERICK LORIEGA, who was holding the hands of the victim, both accused, conspiring, confederating and helping one another for a common purpose, with lewd design, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of Angielyn Marco y Aquino, 15 years old, and a deaf/mute, with the use of force and against her will, to the latter's damage and prejudice.’
On motion of the public prosecutor, the two cases were tried jointly as both arose out the same incident and involved the same accused with the same victim.[3] Upon arraignment, appellants, assisted by counsel, entered a plea of "not guilty" to both charges.[4] Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued. Subsequently, the trial court rendered its verdict finding appellants guilty as charged. The dispositive portion of its decision reads:
"WHEREFORE, ... decision is hereby rendered as follows:

In Criminal Case No. 5987, both accused Roderick Loriega and Gary Arevalo are hereby found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of RAPE as this is defined and penalized under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code and hereby sentences EACH OF THE SAID ACCUSED to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of RECLUSION PERPETUA with all the accessory penalties provided by law.

In Criminal Case No. 5988, both accused Roderick Loriega and Gary Arevalo are hereby found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of RAPE as defined and penalized under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code and hereby sentences EACH OF THE SAID ACCUSED to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of RECLUSION PERPETUA with all the accessory penalties provided by law.

Both accused are hereby ordered to pay P50,000.00 jointly and severally as damages to the complainant Angielyn Marco and to pay the costs.

The pertinent facts of this case, as found by the trial court, are as follows:
"The offended party and complainant, Angielyn Marco is a fifteen (15) year old deaf mute girl. She lives with her parents at San Roque, Daraga, Albay, in the very same barangay where the two accused Roderick Loriega and Gary Arevalo also live. Angielyn Marco, Roderick Loriega and Gary Arevalo are friends with each other aside from the fact that accused Gary Arevalo is an uncle of complainant Angielyn Marco because Angielyn Marco's great grandmother is the sister of Gary Arevalo's grandmother. Angielyn Marco however does not call Gary Arevalo uncle because the latter prefers to be called as Gary.

Unlike other deaf mutes, Angielyn Marco can talk although not satisfactorily but with limitations because she had been studying for five years at the SPED class at the Bicol University under the tutorship of Miss Elisa Maceres (who acted as the interpreter at the time that Angielyn Marco was presented as a witness with the express consent of both accused and only after she was sworn under oath). Angielyn Marco can read and write as she has shown to the court during her testimony when she was presented as a witness although with some limitations, as she can communicate in writing in telegram form.

In the early evening of March 1, 1992, Angielyn Marco went out of their house to buy Royal Tru-Orange soft drinks at a nearby sari-sari store. There was no Royal softdrinks at the sari-sari store however, so she just went home. Along her way home, she met accused Roderik Loriega in front of Gary Arevalo's house. Accused Loriega held Angielyn, pulled and brought her to the house of accused Gary Arevalo. Said accused Arevalo was in the house too. While in the house of accused Arevalo, Angielyn Marco was striped naked and the two accused, Loriega and Arevalo took turns in raping Angielyn Marco. The first to rape her was accused Loriega while accused Arevalo was covering her mouth and holding her hands. After accused Loriega was through, he held the hands of Angielyn Marco and covered her mouth while accused Arevalo was raping her. Angielyn Marco struggled but she is just a petite girl that her strength was no match to the two accused. She was helpless.

After the two accused were through raping Angielyn Marco, they left. Angielyn dressed up and went home. Asked by her parents where she came from she gave no answer and she also did not tell her parents about the rape incident she underwent. Angielyn told no one about her being raped until March 18, 1992 when she confided her to her cousin Nadin Marco about the rape. Nadin Marco, in turn told her father, a brother of Angielyn's father, and the following day, the rape incident was reported to Angielyn's father.

Angielyn was brought by her father to the Municipal Health Office of Daraga, Albay where she was examined and found to have a lacerated hymen at 4:00 o'clock position, a circumstance showing that a foreign body had entered the vagina which could be caused by, among others, sexual Intercourse."[6]
During the pendency of this case at the prosecutor's office, private complainant, a deaf-mute, was referred to Don Susano Rodriguez Memorial Hospital for determination of her actual mental age. She was given a mental status examination and intelligence quotient (IQ) test. In her testimony, Dr. Chona Belmonte opined that private complainant has an IQ of sixty-nine percent (69%) which falls under the category of "borderline intellectual functioning". Dr. Belmonte likewise declared that private complainant's mental age is just between nine (9) and eleven (11) years, and so she could not manage her affairs without the assistance of others.[7]

For his defense, Loriega denied the accusation against him. On the contrary, he claimed that it was private complainant who sexually abused him:
"[T]hat at about 6:30 o'clock in the evening of March 1, 1992, he went to the house of accused Gary Arevalo at San Roque, Daraga, Albay. He met Angielyn in front of accused Arevalo's house. Angielyn signalled to him, pointing to a small trail at the side of Arevalo's house leading to a small study room at the back of Arevalo' s house. Thinking that Angielyn wanted to show him something, he followed Angielyn on the trail to the study room. Angielyn entered the room and beckoned him to come in. He was hesitant to come because there were only two of them and somebody might see them, but Angielyn took him by the hand and led him inside the room. It is a small room with a bed, there was no light then. Loriega knows this room well because when the former occupant left, he helped in the fixing of this room to convert it into a study room. Once inside the room, Angielyn started kissing him all around his face and lips. He pushed her away afraid that somebody might see them. Angielyn was persistent. She removed her blouse then removed Loriega's T -shirt and when both were half-naked Angielyn tried to remove his pants but he resisted and did not agree. Angielyn kept on kissing him and he tried to hold her back but Angielyn was persistent. While Angielyn was kissing him, she was also unbuttoning his pants and succeeding in unbuttoning his pants, Angielyn held his sexual organ and kissed it, held his balls and suck his penis until he ejaculated in the mouth of Angielyn who swallowed his sperm because that was what she wanted. At the time that Angielyn was sucking his penis, he was hesitant, confused, such that after his ejaculation, he pushed Angielyn away, buttoned his pants and dressed up. Angielyn also dressed up. He heard the mother of Gary Arevalo telling Gary to cook and he knew that Gary would enter the room because the switch of the light of the kitchen was in that room. When Gary entered and saw them, they were told to leave and they left. Loriega left the room ahead and headed for home. He did not know where Angielyn went from there. On March 12, 1992 he woke up with Angielyn on top of him."[8]
For his part, Arevalo insisted on his innocence. He gave his own story which tended to corroborate the claim of Loriega:
"[T]hat in the morning of March 1, 1992, he went to barangay Sto. Cristo, Daraga, Albay to help his uncle care and train the fighting cocks. He went home at about 7:00 o'clock in the evening at San Roque, Daraga, Albay. When he arrived, his mother told him to cook and when he switched on the light of the kitchen which was located at the study room, he saw Roderick Loriega and Angielyn Marco seated on the bed with Angielyn Marco holding the thigh of Loriega. He told them to leave the room and they did leave the room. He also testified that Angielyn Marco's great grandmother is the sister of his grandmother. The motive in being included in these cases is that there was a previous incident between him and Angielyn's father when he once fetched water and Angielyn's father did not give any water and he had an argument with Angielyn's father when he told him that he does not want to give water when he use[s] a jumper for the water pump and spends nothing for electricity. This angered Angielyn's father."[9]
In an attempt to lend some degree of persuasiveness to appellants' story and discredit the testimony of the offended party, three other witnesses were presented by the defense. First, Socorro Llave, neighbor of Arevalo, testified that on the whole night of the March 1, 1992, she did not hear, see or notice any untoward incident in the vicinity of her house or in the house of her neighbor. She swore that if there was unusual occurrence, she would have sensed it because Arevalo' s dog would have barked as it usually does whenever somebody passes by their place.[10] Second, another neighbor, Rodel Guiriba, declared that private complainant visits the house of Loriega about twenty-five times a month. He swore that he did not notice any change in the relationship between private complainant and Loriega even after the alleged rape happened. He said that the last time he saw private complainant went to Loriega's residence was on March 12, 1992.[11] Third, Sonny Madelar attested that on March 12, 1992, at about 4:00 P.M. as he was walking home, he noticed several people looking towards the house of Loriega. Out of curiosity, he and his companions proceeded to the backyard of Loriega's house. While there, he fixed his eyes on the open window of the room of Roderick and he saw private complainant place herself on top of Loriega but did nothing more.. He stated that both Roderick and private complainant were not naked at that time.[12]

The trial court found the defense put up by appellants too flimsy and incredible, and on the basis of the evidence presented by the prosecution held appellants guilty as charged. After the trial court handed its verdict of conviction, sentencing them to reclusion perpetua, Loriega and Arevalo readily filed their respective notice of appeal, albeit directed to the Court of Appeals. Apparently realizing their mistake, they immediately filed an amended notice of appeal, this time correctly addressed to this Court.[13]

As required, Loriega's counsel filed appellant's brief. We dispensed with the filing of Arevalo' s brief as we granted the motion of Arevalo's counsel to adopt the appellant's brief of Loriega as Arevalo's too.[14] In their bid to obtain reversal of their conviction, Loriega and Arevalo claim that the lower court erred:



The fundamental issue to be resolved is whether or not the trial court erred in affording credence to the testimony of the victim.

In casting doubt on the testimony of private complainant, appellants argue that if indeed they committed the offense, then private complainant's hymen should not have just one but two or more lacerations. They contend that not every laceration is a positive proof of rape as laceration could result from other causes such as menstruation. They aver that private complainant, being a virgin, should have bled profusely which, in turn, should have stained her clothes and the scene of the crime. Further, they insist that their seminal discharge should have been found in private complainant's body. They also maintain that private complainant should have experienced difficulty in walking and felt intense pain after the alleged rape.[16] In short, appellants would like us to believe that they neither deflowered nor had carnal knowledge with private complainant on the date and place alleged by the latter.

Regrettably, appellants' assertions did not persuade the trial court that they are innocent of the offense charged. They are too worn-out to be convincing. Again, we stress that neither hymenal laceration nor bleeding is an element of rape. It is sufficient that there was sexual congress, and that this was consummated by the slightest introduction of the male organ into the labia of the pudendum.[17] Also, the presence or absence of seminal discharge is immaterial in the prosecution of a rape case for it is well-settled that the slightest penetration, not ejaculation, constitutes rape.[18] Likewise, ambulatory difficulty and pain in woman's genitalia are not standard consequence after a first ever sexual intercourse.

Furthermore, appellants' portrayal of the victim as a lustful nymphet is far from worthy of belief. That private complainant took Loriega to the study room of Arevalo and while there sucked Loriega's manhood against the latter's will is incredible. As the lower court observed it is not the actuation of a fifteen-year old girl, much less that of a country girl with a mental age between nine (9) and eleven (11) years. It is doctrinal that for evidence to be believed, it must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness but must be credible in itself such as the common experience and observation of mankind can approve as probable under the circumstances.[19]

Similarly, the other witnesses for the defense did not bolster the cause of appellants at all. Llave's declaration that there was no unusual occurrence in Arevalo's house on the date and time of the alleged rape is easily discredited by Loriega's admission that he and private complainant were in the aforesaid house. The testimonies of Guiriba and Madelar refer to the conduct and behavior of private complainant towards Loriega after the crime took place, hence, not material to the defense.

In contrast to the inherently weak defense of the appellants, the prosecution evidence indubitably shows that appellants sexually assaulted private complainant in the place, date and manner described by the latter in her testimony. Private complainant, assisted by her interpreter,[20] testified as follows:
On March 1, 1992 in the evening what happened? If any?
WE WILL request that what the witness is gesturing be interpreted.
The witness your Honor, gestured with her fingers (forefinger and middle finger) that she was walking.
I was walking.
Where were you then walking?
I was going to buy Royal.
Where did you go to buy Royal?
I went to buy Royal but when I reached the store there was no more royal.
Did you go home after that?
I went home but on the way I met Roderick Loriega.
Do you know how to draw?
Yes, Madam I can draw.
Alright Angeline, you draw the place of your house and the store where you were supposed to buy Royal and the place where you met Roderick Loriega in going back to your house. Make a sketch and indicate the distance of the store from your house, making your house as the point of reference.
At this juncture, the witness indicated on the yellow ruled pad making illustrations of the way she took from her house to the store. She made an arrow indicating "AKO" and gesturing that she went to the store to buy royal but there was no more royal and then she wrote the name "RODERICK LORIEGA" on the yellow pad saying that this is the place where she met Roderick Loriega. The witness said there was no more royal so she went back home but on her way back, she met Roderick Loriega and Loriega pulled her towards a house. She said that there was a house and wrote the word "GARY" meaning that the house is the house of Gary Arevalo.
Who owns the house?
The witness wrote the word "GARY" pointing to the house.
What about the house of Gary? Where is it located?
The witness, your Honor said that Roderick Loriega brought her to the house of Gary Arevalo at the same time making the sign of sexual intercourse.
So she was brought to the house of Gary Arevalo. Who brought you there? justice
Where was Gary Arevalo because according to you Roderick brought you to the house of Gary. Where did you see Gary?
Gary was in his house when Roderick Loriega brought there.
Proceed Fiscal.
Then after that what happened next if any?
No answer.
(The Interpreter wrote the question on the yellow pad and then by way of answering she gestured that she was sexually abused by Roderick.)
The witness gestured in answer to the questions, making the sign of sexual intercourse saying that she was raped.
So what is now the answer to be put on record?
SHE MANIFESTED BY GESTURING THAT IN the house of Gary Arevalo she was brought by Roderick Loriega and sexually abused by Roderick Loriega and Gary Arevalo. She also said that, her mouth was being covered gesturing with her hand by placing her hand over her mouth; and that it was first Roderick Loriega who raped her while Gary held her hands and covered her mouth so that she could not shout; she tried to shout because she--- ah-it was painful but her mouth was covered and her hands were restrained.
PROSECUTOR DE MESA: (continuing)
After Roderick Loriega had sexual intercourse with you, what did Gary Arevalo do, if he did anything?
After Roderick Loriega raped me, Gary Arevalo raped me also.
After that what happened next?
THE WITNESS said that after she was abused sexually by Roderick Loriega Gary Arevalo also sexually abused her and this time, it was Roderick Loriega who held her hands and had covered her mouth. She also said that she was in pain and very scared. She is gesturing, your Honor that she felt pain and she shouted but her mouth was covered. She said--- she keeps on saying Roderick ako raped, house Gary.
So After that what happened, where did Roderick and Gary go?
After Roderick Loriega and Gary Arevalo took turns in raping me, they were gone
She is gesturing by making the sign of sexual intercourse that she was raped by Roderick and that also Gary raped her.
What is now the official interpretation?
The witness said that after Roderick sexually abused her, Roderick held her hands and then it was Gary who took his turn in sexually abusing her. She said that while Roderick was raping her she was held by Gary and then Gary held her hands and covered her mouth.
We want to make it straight that what should be recorded is only the interpretation of the Interpreter who was sworn in. As it is, even the Honorable Prosecutor is also interpreting or translating the answer of the witness. She should leave the official interpretation to the Interpreter.
We are interpreting the answer of the witness which is in telegram form and the manifestation of the Interpreter is being recorded as gestured or written by the witness in the proper perspective.
She was trying to describe the situation she was in at that time, your Honor and we are just trying to help in the translating of the question to the witness and not the answer of the witness. I am not interpreting the answer of the witness, you Honor.
Everything is being recorded here. Now what about Gary what did he do?
At this juncture your Honor, the witness made a drawing of the person and placing the corresponding name and made gestures of covering her mouth saying "GARY" and put an arrow on the drawing of a person then placed the word "Gary". She also said that Gary sexually abused her while Roderick held her hands.
That is already on record. What happened next after that?
Your Honor, according to the witness Gary Arevalo removed his clothes when he sexually abused her. The witness further said that she was also naked and she made gestures of covering her nakedness by putting her arms around her, meaning that she tried to cover herself with her arms because she saw that she was already naked.
Proceed Fiscal.
PROSECUTOR DE MESA: (continuing)
What did you feel about or after you were sexually raped rather, after you were raped by Roderick and Gary?
I felt pain in my "pipi" (vagina). Very painful.
Did you cry?
I cried, it was very painful, very painful.
What did you do after that?
I put on my clothes and went home."[21]
Private complainant's claim that she was ravished is corroborated by the medical findings of Dr. Ferchito Avelino, who testified that in his examination of the victim's genitalia, he found her hymen to have a healed superficial lacerated wound at 4:00 o'clock position.[22] He also opined that the laceration could have been possibly caused by sexual intercourse.[23]

We have ruled that a victim who cries rape, more so if she is a minor, almost always says all that is needed to signify that the crime has been committed, and so long as her testimony meets the test of credibility, the accused may be convicted on the basis thereof.[24] It is indeed highly inconceivable for a young barrio girl, inexperienced with the ways of the world, like private complainant, to fabricate a charge of defloration, undergo a medical examination of her private parts, subject herself to public trial and tarnish her family's honor and reputation, unless she was motivated by a potent desire to seek justice for the wrong committed against her.[25]

In the case at bar, private complainant, notwithstanding her mental deficiency, is not disqualified from taking the witness stand. The trial court observed that she can read and write although in a limited fashion. In her limited capacity to talk during her testimony, she tried to syllabicate the words to be understood. She can lip-read. Thus, she looked intently at the lips of her interpreter to enable her to understand the question, and when she could not express what she wanted to say, she would write or sketch them on a piece of paper. She had a tendency to be repetitious and had to be asked leading questions, but her replies were not unintelligible or beyond understanding. Private complainant is therefore a competent witness as she could convey her perceptions to the court.

A close scrutiny of the records of this case convinces us that there is no reason to doubt private complainant's story. We note that her testimony is clear and certain in identifying the appellants as the perpetrators of the crime. She is able to recount her ravishment with candor and sufficient clarity with the aid of writings, sketches, drawings and her interpreter. Under rigorous cross-examination, she struggled yet remained steadfast in her assertion that appellants forced their lust on her. Private complainant's lack of ill motive to testify against appellants and her unwavering narration of how she was raped bear the hallmarks of truth.[26] In view of the foregoing considerations, the trial court could not be said to err in affording credence to private complainant's testimony. All told, we find no reversible error in the trial Court's holding that appellants are guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the two counts of rape.

The Revised Penal Code, prior to its amendment by Republic Act Nos. 7659 and 8353, defined and penalized the crime of rape as follows:
"Art. 335. When and how rape committed. --- Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:

1. By using force or intimidation;

2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and

3. When the woman is under twelve years of age, even though neither of the circumstances mentioned in the two next preceding paragraphs shall be present.

The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.

Whenever the crime of rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death.

Under our penal law, whenever the crime of rape is committed by two or more persons, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death, a penalty composed of two indivisible penalties. In this case, there is neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstances in the commission of the crime, thus, the lesser penalty of reclusion perpetua is imposed.

We note, however, that the trial court awarded only the amount of P50,000.00 as damages to private complainant. This is inadequate. It must be clarified that the award of P50,000.00 for civil indemnity is mandatory upon the finding of the fact of rape.[28] In addition, the victim should be awarded the amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages without need of additional proof in accordance with prevailing jurisprudence.[29] Inasmuch as appellants are guilty of two counts of rape, they must jointly and severally indemnify the victim twice[30] the foregoing amounts.

WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby DENIED and the judgment of the lower court convicting appellants RODERICK LORIEGA and GARY AREVALO of two counts of rape and imposing on them two (2) penalties of reclusion perpetua is AFFIRMED, with MODIFICATION that appellants shall pay jointly and severally the victim, Angielyn Marco, damages amounting to TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P200,000.00), broken down as follows: (a) CIVIL INDEMNITY in the total amount of ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND (P100,000.00) PESOS for the two counts of rape; and (b) MORAL DAMAGES in the total amount also of ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND (P100,000.00) PESOS for the two counts of rape.

Costs against appellants.


Bellosillo, (Chairman), Mendoza, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
Buena, J., on official leave.

[1] Rollo, p. 5.

[2] Id. at 14.

[3] Records of Crim. Case No. 5988, pp. 43 and 45.

[4] Rollo, p. 17.

[5] Id. at 49-50.

[6] Id. at 42-43.

[7] TSN, May 17, 1993, pp. 11-19.

[8] Rollo, p.46.

[9] Id. at 46-47.

[10] TSN, November 10, 1993, pp. 11-13.

[11] TSN, December 3, 1993, pp. 5-6.

[12] Id. at 14-18.

[13] Rollo, pp. 51-54.

[14] Id. at 150-154.

[15] Rollo, p. 66.

[16] Id. at 76-81.

[17] People vs. Garcia, 288 SCRA 382, 399 (1998)

[18] People vs. De la Paz Jr., 299 SCRA 86, 97 (1998)

[19] Cosep vs. People, 290 SCRA 378, 385 (1998)

[20] Elisa Maceres, Special Education teacher at Bicol University, Legaspi City.

[21] TSN, February 16, 1993, pp. 35-42.

[22] TSN, February 16, 1993, p.11.

[23] Id. at 15.

[24] People vs. Tabion,, GR-132715, October 20, 1999, p. 10.

[25] People vs. Alquizalas, GR-128386, March 25, 1999, p. 7.

[26] People vs. Caratay, GR-119418, 119436-7, October 5, 1999, p. 14.

[27] Article 335. Revised Penal Code.

Republic Act 8353 (Anti-Rape Law of 1997) approved on September 30, 1997, has classified rape as a crime against persons. It mandates the incorporation into Title Eight of the Revised Penal Code a new chapter to be known as Chapter Three on Rape. Thus, the crime of rape is now governed by Articles 266-A, 266-B, 266-C and 266-D

[28] People vs. Gementiza, 285 SCRA 478, 492 (1998)

[29] People vs. Prades, 293 SCRA 411, 431 (1998)

[30] People vs. Pagpaguitan, GR-116599, September 27, 1999, p. 17; People vs. Celis, GR-125307-09, October 20, 1999, p. 17.

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