386 Phil. 181
That sometime in the month of April 1996, in the Municipality of Abuyog, Province of Leyte, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with lewd designs and by means of force, violence and intimidation, did, then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of one LOREGIN ALVERO Y CABAHUG, his 15-year old daughter, against her will and without her consent.ACTS CONTRARY TO LAW.
In the middle part of January 1996, Loregin Alvero y Cabahug, together with her mother, father, brothers and sisters, were in their house in Bgy. Sta. Elena, Purok 4, Bayugan I, Agusan del Sur. They were then sleeping when her father fondled her breasts. She issued an admonition to her father, after which she transferred to another place in the house to sleep. From January to March of 1996, her mother saw her father molesting her, who then reported this incident of molesting to the barangay officials. A confrontation before the office of the barangay officials took place, during which her father signed on a piece of paper promising not to molest her again, otherwise a case before the Court will be filed against him. For quite sometime, her father did not molest her.The defense is based solely on the testimony of ELISEO. He interposed the defense of denial. His version of the facts as summarized in the Appellant’s Brief is as follows:
On April 4 of the same year, her father wanted her to accompany him to Bgy. Cumpaitan to harvest palay. She did not want to go with him, however, her mother prevailed upon her, so Loregin went with her father. While on her way, riding on a big bicycle, her father told her that they will go to the place of her cousin, only to find that she was being led to a banana plantation, and when already at the area, her father drew his pisaw (small knife), pulled and dragged her, then delivered a fistic blow on her abdominal area. Immediately, her father took off her panty, unbuttoned his pants, placed himself on top of her and inserted his penis into her vagina, causing her much pain. After the consummation of the sexual assault, her father warned her not to report this matter to her mother, otherwise Loregin will be killed by him. Thereafter, her father told her that they are going home and was made to backride on his bicycle. Along the way, her father told her that they will first go to Bgy. Sta. Irene to buy rice. Her father instead of cycling in the direction towards home, changed his mind and cycled straight ahead and when he became tired, they boarded a bus bound for Surigao. The bicycle was loaded on the bus. In Surigao, they boarded a ferry boat bound for Liloan, arriving in Liloan at nighttime, hence they passed the night at the ferry terminal in Liloan. When morning came, they boarded a vehicle for Maasin. From Maasin, they took the Bachelor bus bound for Baybay, then proceeded to Abuyog. Upon arriving in Abuyog, they slept in the house of auntie Zabeth in Bgy. Combis. The husband of Zabeth is a brother of her father. While they were living in the house of Zabeth for a period of about three weeks, her father would order her to sleep beside him and not beside Zabeth. During this period of three weeks, whenever her father leaves to cut banana stalks, he would bring her along. After cutting a few, he would prod her for a sexual intercourse and on being refused, he would box her on the abdomen and threaten her with a bolo. When already fallen, her father would then remove her panty and take off his pants, insert his penis into her vagina, causing her to suffer pain. After sexually assaulting her, her father would resume cutting banana stalks. These sexual assaults happened in April of 1996.
From the house of Zabeth, they transferred to the house of Lando. The father of Lando and the father of herein accused are brothers. They lived only for a short period of time with Lando, as they transferred to the house of Elena, her grandmother. While living with her grandmother in the month of May, her father would bring her along to the mountain to gather firewood and when already in the mountain, her father would again rape her. In the month of June, Loregin and her father transferred to the house which her father had built near the house of her lola. Sometimes her great grandmother Bayi, would visit them. In the new house, her father Eliseo raped her several times which series of rape would happen in the early morning.
Complaining witness Loregin, additionally testified that after she filed this complaint for rape against her father, Eliseo wrote her twice, asking for her help so that he can be released from jail which will enable him to go home to Butuan and will not molest her again. The first letter was handcarried to her by an old man, the second by a child, both individuals, she does not personally know. In both letters, her father asked that he be forgiven.
The prosecution requested that these letters be marked as its Exhibit "D" and series, reserving the presentation of the English translation.
On cross examination, complaining witness declared that their house in Bgy. Sta. Irene, Purok 4, consists only of a single space with no room. Her parents have seven children. Loregin has a twin sister named Lyn/Laine, who is smaller than she is. She and her twin sister sleep side by side with each other. Their father and mother likewise sleep side by side, by the wall. The fondling of her breasts by her father started on the month of January up till mid March, which her father usually does between the hours of 10:00 to 11:00 o'clock in the evening. During these times, her father would move away her twin sister. She did not tell her mother about these fondling incidents because she was warned by her father not to tell, otherwise, he will kill her (Loregin). Neither did she tell her twin sister as she might tell her mother, so their father will learn about it and might kill Loregin. One evening in the month of March, their mother saw accused father fondling Loregin's breasts. Their mother confronted herein accused.
On later questions on cross, complaining witness reaffirmed her testimony on direct starting from the time when her mother prevailed on her to go with her father supposedly to harvest palay in. Bgy. Cumpaitan, and the rape committed on her at the banana plantation in Bgy. Cumpaitan. The nearest house to the banana plantation where she was raped was but four hundred (400) meters away. That after raping her, her father told her that they will go home; that instead of going home, her father cycled with her riding behind, to Bayugan, then boarded a jeepney for Butuan. The bicycle was loaded on the jeepney. They stayed overnight at the ferry terminal in Liloan. She restated her testimony on direct appertaining the route they took from Liloan up till the time they reached the house of her father's cousin in Abuyog and their living for sometime with her auntie Zabeth. She did not tell her auntie Zabeth, her uncle, her grandmother or any of her relative about the sexual abuse committed on her by her father because of the warning of her father not to tell anyone, otherwise Loregin will be killed by him. Zabeth's husband, who is a brother of Eliseo was then in Manila, hence Zabeth was living only with her children, the eldest of which was only Grade II. While in Combis, her father was hired to work on ricefields several times, but would bring herein complaining witness with him.
Complaining witness was able to befriend a household help of Pedro Bucton, from whom Loregin inquired whether she knows someone who is in need of a household help. This friendly household help told Loregin that she can come with her. Thus, one time she requested her father to buy carabao meat for their viand. This gave her opportunity to escape, by riding on a motorcycle, while her friend rode on a jeepney. This was on July 19. After the lapse of about three days, her father came looking for her, however, he was not able to detect her presence in the house of Bucton. It was only after about two weeks that her father was finally able to locate her. In the meantime, she already revealed to Pedro Bucton about the sexual abuse committed on her by her own father. The reason why she revealed to Pedro Bucton instead of to any of her relatives, this sexual abuse on her, was because Pedro Bucton did not know her father and would then not be able to tell her father about what she would disclose.
After she revealed to Pedro Bucton of the series of rape committed on her by her own father, she was subjected to medical examination at the Abuyog District Hospital.
Complaining witness firmly stated that the two letters sent to her by her father are in the penmanship of her father, as she knows very well the penmanship of her father.
Accused Eliseo Alvero y Loreño testified that because of the incident that happened in their house on April 24, 1996, he left said house and arrived at Abuyog, Leyte on April 29, 1996, alone.The trial court gave full faith and credit to the testimony of LOREGIN which "was given in a clear manner without any indication that the same was motivated by any ill feeling"; moreover her testimony was buttressed by the corroborative testimony of her mother, and by the findings in the medical report. It declared as baseless ELISEO's defense that the rape charge was fabricated by LOREGIN's mother for "it is inconceivable that a mother would draw her young daughter into a rape scam with all its attendant scandal and humiliation just because of a supposed feud. No mother in her right mind could possibly wish to stamp her child falsely with the stigma that follows heinous crime that is rape."
On April 24, 1996, he came home from the mountain. He overheard his wife talking with a man inside their room which was then closed. When his wife opened the door, he drew his bolo. His wife embraced him. The man whom he named Albino Butingana whom his wife was conversing with inside the room, jumped out of the window. Said man was only wearing a brief. His wife asked for his forgiveness. He left their house, passed the night in the house of his sister Anatacia Mendoza. The following day, he packed his things, left for the mountain to mortgage his pigs, proceeds of which he used as fare in going to Abuyog. He helped his uncle Alipio in farming and then worked on his own coconut land situated at Brgy. Combic. On May 25, 1996, his nephew Jimmy Alvero came to the farm of his uncle, informing him that his daughter Lorigin [sic] arrived. His daughter told him that his wife send to his place. His daughter stayed at the house of his sister-in-law Elizabeth (Zabeth) Alvero, which is half kilometer away from where he stayed. On June 6, 1996, her daughter came to see him, and told him that she wanted to work as house helper in Abuyog. His daughter was then accompanied by Nora Alvero. She later learned that his daughter was Nora’s replacement as household helper of Odo Butcon. On July 10, 1996, he went to the house of Odo Butcon to ask money from Lorigin to be spent for the processing of copra at Brgy. Combis. He did not see his daughter, instead her employer. Bucton told him that his daughter was not around. On July 22, 1996, after delivering his copra to a store at Tab-oc, Abuyog, Leyte, he saw his daughter in the house of her employer. He alighted from the pedicab. While he was talking with his daughter, Odo Bucton arrived and pulled his daughter inside the house. Said Bucton drew his .38 caliber pistol, prompting him to leave the house and went back to Tab-oc, Abuyog. While sitting at Tab-oc, a policemen accompanied by Odo Bucton arrived, thereafter brought him to the municipal building and placed him inside the prison cell. Odo Bucton harbored ill-feelings towards him, because of boundary dispute.
He also testified that the testimony of Lorigin [sic] about the fondling of her breast, sexual assault in banana plantation, in the mountain and in the hut he built near the house of his grandmother were all lies. He also denied sending his daughter-victim letters which were written in his penmanship inasmuch as all he knew was to sign his name.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations, this Court finds the accused ELISEO ALVERO Y LOREÑO GUILTY BEYOND reasonable doubt of the crime of RAPE in Criminal Case No. 1631, committed in the month of April 1996; hereby imposing upon him the penalty of DEATH.The death penalty having been imposed on ELISEO, the records of the case were elevated to this Court for automatic review. In his Appellant's Brief, ELISEO interposes the following assignment of errors:
In Criminal Case No. 1632 committed in the month of May 1996, this Court finds the accused ELISEO ALVERO Y LOREÑO GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of RAPE; hereby imposing upon him the penalty of DEATH; and
In Criminal Case No 1633, committed in the month of June 1996, this Court finds the accused ELISEO ALVERO Y LOREÑO GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of RAPE; hereby imposing upon him the penalty of DEATH.
The accused shall indemnify the victim Loregin Alvero Y Cabahug, the amount of Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos in moral damages; and to pay the Costs.
In the Appellee's Brief, the Office of the Solicitor General recommends affirmance in toto of the appealed decision.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT FOR THREE (3) COUNTS OF RAPE DESPITE INSUFFICIENCY OF THE INFORMATIONS TO STATE THE PRECISE DATES OF THE COMMISSION OF THE OFFENSE.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING CREDENCE TO THE PATENTLY FABRICATED RAPE TALE OF THE COMPLAINANT AND HER MOTHER DESPITE CLEAR AND CONVINCING TESTIMONY OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT THAT HE COMMITTED NO RAPE AGAINST COMPLAINANT IN THE MONTHS OF APRIL, MAY, JUNE 1996.
It is doctrinally settled that a rape victim who testifies in a categorical, straightforward, spontaneous and frank manner, and remains consistent is a credible witness and her testimony must be given full faith and credit. Such credibility is definitely enhanced when the accusing words, as in the present case, are directed against a close relative, especially the father. A rape victim's testimony against her father is entitled to greater weight, since ordinarily and customarily, Filipino children revere and respect for elders. This is too deeply ingrained in Filipino children and families and is even recognized by law. It is thus unthinkable, if not completely preposterous, that a daughter would audaciously concoct a story of rape against her father in wanton disregard of the unspeakable trauma and social stigma it may generate on her and the entire family. A teen-age unmarried lass does not ordinarily file a rape complaint against anybody, much less her own father, if it is not true.
Q On the 4th day of April, where were you? A In our house. Q Do you recall what happened that first week of April? A Yes, sir. Q What was that incident about? A My father told me that we will harvest palay at Bgy. Gumpaitan. I do not want to go but my mother told me to go with him, so I obeyed. Q Did you in fact go with your father to Bgy. Gumpaitan? A Yes, sir. Q Did you harvest palay? A It did not push through. Q Why? A It happened this way. While we were boarding the big bicycle just like the one used in the pedicab according to him we were going to the place of his cousin so I followed him only to find out that we were going to the banana plantation. Q What happened there? A When we arrived there, he told me to accompany him there for a conversation. Q What happened next? A While we were having a conversation he drew his pisao. Q What did he do next, if any? A He dragged and pulled me to the banana plantation. Q What did he do after he pulled you to the banana plantation? A While holding the pisao with his other hand, he boxed me on my abdomen. Q What happened next? A I was weakened. Q What happened next? A He immediately took off my panty. Q What did he do next? A He unbuttoned his pants. Q Then, what did he do, if any? A He laid on top of me. Q Then what happened? A I was about to shout but since it was very far apart I decided not to. Q What is it that you did not like to be done to you by your father? A When he put his penis on my sexual organ. Q What was your feeling if any once he inserted his organ to your vagina? A It was painful. Q What happened next after he placed his sexual organ to your vagina? A It was consummated. Q Thereafter what did you do? A He put back my panty. Q Thereafter, what happened? A As I was lying then, I stood up and he told me that if ever I will report or tell my mother he will kill me. Q Thereafter what did both of you do? x x x A We were about to go home but instead he proceeded to buy rice and changed his mind and went directly ahead. He said that we will always be together. When he was tired driving, we together with the bicycle boarded a bus for Surigao. Q What else did you do? A We boarded a ferry boat proceeding to Liloan. Since it was night at Liloan. Q While sleeping at Liloan, what did the both of you do? A In the morning, we boarded a vehicle to Maasin. Q From Maasin, where did you go? A From Maasin we took a Bachelor Bus for Baybay. Q And then? A We proceeded to Abuyog. Q When you arrived to Abuyog, what did you do? A We went to certain Felix Yungco at Bgy. Victory, Abuyog, Leyte, his cousin. Q How long have you been there? A We spent the night at their house. Q After you spend the night in their house where did you go? A We proceeded to Bgy. Kumbis. Q Where did you go? A To the house of Auntie Zabeth. Q How is your father related to Auntie Zabeth? A The husband of Auntie Zabeth is the brother of my father. Q For how long have you stayed there? A Perhaps three weeks. Q And on that three weeks, did you recall any untoward incident that happened? A Yes, sir. Q What was that incident about? A In the house of Auntie Zabeth he would not like that I will stay beside Auntie Zabeth. He would order me to stay beside him always. Q What other incident could you recall? A Whenever they would harvest banana stalks, he would bring me with him also. Q Where is that area? A Far from the house of Auntie Zabeth. Q Could you describe that area? A The place is a banana plantation with coconuts and other plants and there is no house. Q Upon reaching that area, what would your father do if any? A He would harvest banana stalks. Q Thereafter? A After a few harvested banana stalks he would request me to have sex intercourse with him but I refused. Q When you refuse, what did your father do? A He boxed me on my abdomen and he got his bolo. Q What did he do next? A He held my hand as I was lying and took off my panty. Q After taking off your panty what he did he do? A He took off his short pants. Q And then? A He placed his penis on my sex organ. Q What would you feel if any once he inserted his penis to your vagina? A It was painful. Q What happened next? A I started to shout but there are no people around. Q And what happened next? A I stood up and put on back my pants. Q What would you do both after that? A He would continue to cut the banana stalks. Q Could you recall the period this incident took place? A In the month of April. Q You mean this happened only once in April 1996. A No, sir during the first week at Auntie Zabeth's place when we arrived. x x x Q Since you said that you lived at the house of your Auntie Zabeth for three weeks, where did you go after three weeks? A We transferred to the place of Mano Lando. Q How is he related to your father? A His father and the father of Mano Lando are brothers. Q For how long have you stayed at the house of Mano Lando? A Not long. Q Why? Where did you go? A We transferred to the place of my grandmother. Q What’s her name? A Leona but I do not know her surname. Q While there at the place of your grandmother do you recall of any untoward incident that happened? A There was. Q What was it? A He would bring me to the mountain to gather firewood and then would rape me again. Q Where is that mountain? How far is that mountain to the place of Mano Lando and your grandmother? A Not too far but it is a mountain. Q And can you recall when did you stay at the house of Mano Lando or your grandmother? A In May. Q Why? In June where did you go? A My father constructed a house near the house of my Lola so we transferred there. Q Who lived in the house your father had constructed A The two of us. Sometime Bayi would go there. Q Who is Bayi? A Our great grandmother. Q And while there living at your new house with your father do you recall of any untoward incident that happened? A There was. Q What was it? A When Bayi is not around he would rape me. Q At what time would this rape incident would occur? A At early morning. Q How many times did this alleged raping incident occurred? A For several times.