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PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 91619. September 9, 1996.]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. GAVINO L. PASAYAN, Accused-Appellant.


SYLLABUS


1. CRIMINAL LAW; RAPE; REQUIREMENTS FOR AN ACCUSED TO BE CONVICTED SOLELY ON THE TESTIMONY OF THE COMPLAINING WITNESS. — In rape cases, the accused may be convicted solely on the testimony of the complaining witness provided such testimony is credible, natural, convincing and otherwise consistent with human nature and the course of things.

2. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; TESTIMONY OF A WITNESS; CREDIBILITY NOT DESTROYED BY SOME INCONSISTENCIES. — It is an accepted rule that the credibility of a rape victim is not destroyed by some inconsistencies in her testimony.


D E C I S I O N


TORRES, JR., J.:


This is an appeal from the September 29, 1989 decision of the Regional Trial Court of Calamba, Laguna, Branch 35 in Criminal Case No. 1717-87-C finding accused-appellant Gavino L. Pasayan guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape and sentencing him to suffer imprisonment of reclusion perpetua and to indemnify the private offended party in the sum of P25,000.00 and to pay the costs.

On May 5, 1987, Gavino L. Pasayan was charged with the crime of rape in an Information reading as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"That on or about April 8, 1987, at 2:20 o’clock in the afternoon at Garden Resort Inn, Barangay Bagong Kalsada, Municipality of Calamba, Province of Laguna and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable court the above-named accused, with lewd design, and with the use of force, threats and intimidation, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of the complainant Dolores S. Catimbang against the latter’s will and consent, to the damage and prejudice of the said victim.

"CONTRARY TO LAW."cralaw virtua1aw library

Upon arraignment, Accused pleaded not guilty.

Trial on the merits ensued.

As summarized in the lower court’s decision, the evidence presented by the prosecution consists of the following:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"Victim Dolores Catimbang identified the accused Gavino Pasayan whom she has known since December, 1986, as he is the driver of the Royal Star marketing where she was then the Branch Secretary at Junction, Los Baños, Laguna.

"On April 8, 1987 at about 12:35 p.m., Accused came to that branch office (Royal Star Marketing) at Junction Los Baños, Laguna. She was then alone as her officemates have gone out for lunch. Accused was pleading to her to be his guarantor for a loan of P1,000.00 he was asking the Manager which he needs as his wife was then in the hospital. She agreed and accepted the invitation of the accused to join him for lunch. She agreed because they were officemates. Besides, Accused used to drive her and her officemates home in the company vehicle. On April 8, 1987, however, Accused was driving a private jeep which they used in looking for a restaurant to take their lunch. At first, they tried Ellen’s Fried Chicken but because it was crowded they decided to look for another place in the UP — Los Baños but accused finally decided instead to take their lunch in Dalampasigan Restaurant at the back of the Municipal Building of Los Baños, Laguna.

"It was the accused who ordered their food and softdrinks. She asked for Sprite while accused ordered Coke. The softdrinks in bottles were served ahead with two glasses with ice cubes. Despite accused’s insistence for her to drink her Sprite, she refused as she was hungry and would rather drink it while eating. She then went to the comfort room where she stayed for three (3) minutes and when she returned to their table saw the accused pouring her softdrinks into her glass. Later on their food came. While eating she was also drinking her softdrinks.

"Immediately after finishing their lunch at 2:00 p.m. she asked the accused that they go back to the office as it was getting late and the key to the office was with her. They boarded the jeep but when they came out of the National Highway, the accused turned right towards Calamba instead of left towards Junction, Los Baños, Laguna, where their office is located. When asked why, Accused retorted that he will just see a friend for a while and they will drive back to the office. At that time she was already feeling dizzy. When they reached Libis Ng Nayon Resort she lost consciousness and when she regained consciousness she was lying on a bed naked inside a room in a building she did not know where. The accused was lying beside her on the bed. Blood was oozing from her private parts and blood was splattered on the bedsheet. She felt pains all over her body. She knew that she was ravaged by the accused. She jumped at him, boxed and fought him. Accused, however, pushed her on the bed and poked a knife at her left shoulder threatening to kill her if she will not submit to his desires again. As she was weak then she was not able to resist the advances of the accused who was able to consummate his dastardly act. Thereafter, Accused warned her not to tell her parents or the police what happened to them, otherwise, he will kill her. He also admonished her to avoid acting suspiciously when they get out of the room. When they left the room she came to know that the building they came from was the Garden Inn Resort.

"She and the accused boarded the jeep and dropped her at Bambang, Los Baños, Laguna. She walked aimlessly not knowing what to do or where to go as she felt that she was out of her mind.

"Finally, she took a jeep towards Calamba and alighted at Crossing. She was so confused and so she boarded another jeep going to Biñan and while in the jeep she alighted at the corner of Mamated and the national highway and took a tricycle to Banlic, Cabuyao, Laguna, to the house of her friend Eugene Tirones. She stayed in Bo. Banlic up to April 11, 1987 where her parents found her. She told her parents what happened to her.

"On the same date, April 11, 1987, her parents took her to Dra. Solita Plastina who examined her and then they proceeded to the 224th PC headquarters where she filed a complaint for rape against the accused Gavino Pasayan.

"Larita Tirones, corroborated the testimony of Dolores Catimbang. It was in her house at Banlic, Cabuyao, Laguna, where the victim stayed from April 8 to early morning of April 11, 1987, when she asked to be transferred to the house of her Tiya Osay across the river where she was found by her parents in the afternoon of the same day.

"Moises Lemos affirmed the claim of Dolores Catimbang that she was brought by the accused to one of the rooms of Garden Inn Resort on April 8, 1987. He saw the accused pulling out Dolores Catimbang from the front seat of a private jeep with the victim looking as if she was unconscious (parang hilo). Accused was holding Dolores Catimbang by the waist with one of her hand, over his shoulder and led her to one of the rooms of the Inn. He was in the Garden Inn Resort at that time because he was engaged in fund raising for the Barrio Fiesta of Barangay Bagong Kalsada and on that date Lilian Vivas of the Inn asked him to drop by the Inn to get the P250.00 she promised to contribute to the barrio fiesta. Although Dolores Catimbang is known to her, he did not do anything because it was a resort and the man with her might be her boyfriend.

"Dra. Solita Plastina, Municipal Health Officer of Calamba, Laguna, examined Dolores Catimbang on April 11, 1987 as shown by her Medico-Legal Report marked as Exhibit C. She also took photographs of the victim which were marked as Exhibits "B", "B-1" to "B-5." She found the victim bleeding from a 6:00 o’clock laceration of her hymen; and fresh bleeding erosion in her labia majora; her [sic] fourshette [sic] opened and her vaginal canal and cervix wounded, which injuries would have been caused by the penetration of the penis or sexual intercourse. She likewise found contusion (Exh. "B-3") in her upper breast, contusion-hematoma in her left upper area (Exh. "B-4") and another contusion (Exh. "B-5") in her upper breast. These injuries could have been four (4) days at the time of the examination." 1

On the other hand, the evidence presented by the defense consists of the following:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"Accused Gavino Pasayan admitted having brought the complainant Dolores Catimbang to the Garden Inn Resort at 2:00 P.M. on April 8, 1987 and had a sexual tryst with her up to 4:30 P.M. that day. That was their fifth time to go to the Garden Inn Resort as they have been sweethearts as early as four (4) months before April 8, 1987, although he met her for the first time only in December 1987 (sic).

"He denied having drugged the softdrinks of Dolores Catimbang while they ate lunch at Dalampasigan Restaurant on April 8, 1987. She was conscious and ambulant when they entered the Garden Inn Resort. In fact, she even walked alone ahead of him from the jeep to the room which they occupied.

"Dolores Catimbang’s motive in filing this rape case against him could have been his refusal to accede to her request to abandon his wife and live with her.

"Florencia Zafe, the Garden Inn Cashier merely testified on the procedure how customers check in and check out of the Garden Inn Resort and the relative position of the Cashier’s window in relation to the 18 rooms of the motel and entrance and exit from the highway to the Garden Inn. From her place at the cashier’s window she could see anything that is taking place from the time a customer gets in and out of the inn.

"Dionicio Panaligan, former Bo. Captain of Brgy. Parian, Calamba, Laguna testified that as the incumbent Barangay Captain in 1986, it never came to his knowledge whether Dolores Catimbang ever filed it as all processes to be served in his barangay passes through him specially if the subpoena and/or arresting officer does not know the person to be served with the process." 2

After evaluating the evidence for both parties, the lower court rendered judgment finding the appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged and convicting him of the crime of rape.

Accused-appellant is now before this Court, imputing to the trial court the following assignment of errors:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"The lower court erred:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"1. — in finding that the accused-appellant is guilty of the crime of rape beyond reasonable doubt;

"2. — in finding that the element of carnal knowledge is beyond question as accused has openly admitted having had sexual intercourse with Dolores Catimbang on April 8, 1987 inside one of the rooms of Garden Inn Resort;

"3. — in assuming that accused was able to satisfy his beastly act freely and without resistance on the part of Dolores Catimbang for the first time on April 8, 1987 when she was unconscious and weak;

"4. — in finding that after Dolores Catimbang was deflowered and regained consciousness and when accused attempted to commit the sexual assault on her for the second time, she fought ferociously that would account for the injuries found on her person by the examining physician;

"5. — in misinterpreting the results of the Medico-Legal Report, Exhibit "C" ;

"6. — in finding that Dolores Catimbang was confused after she was dropped by the accused along the Los Baños National Highway, immediately after coming from the Garden Inn Resort on April 8, 1987;

"7. — in finding that Dolores Catimbang went to Banlic, Cabuyao, Laguna instead of Banlic, Calamba, Laguna;

"8. — in giving credence to the testimony of Dolores Catimbang." 3

We find the appeal without merit.

Being interrelated, and all pertaining to the question of whether or not Dolores Catimbang voluntarily went to the Garden Inn Resort with Gavino, the first, second, third and fourth assignment of errors shall be discussed jointly.

Appellant alleges that the finding of the trial court that "Dolores Catimbang could have taken the invitation for lunch as a show of gratitude on the part of the accused since she acceded to the latter’s request to guarantee his loan of P1,000.00 from their manager" demonstrates shallowness of reasoning because Dolores waited for Gavino to come and fetch her from the office for why else did she not take the lunch break?; and she agreed to have lunch in a place that is relatively far from their office.

Appellant argues that if Dolores was unconscious when she arrived at the Garden Inn Resort and when she was brought to the room of said resort, then she would have to be bodily carried from the jeep to the room of aforesaid resort; the testimony of prosecution witness Moises Lemos that he did not help Dolores upon seeing her with the appellant in the Garden Inn Resort because "the man might be her boyfriend" shows that their actuation at the time gives the impression that they are sweethearts; and that no medical examination of Dolores’ blood was conducted to determine whether she had ingested drug that would make her unconscious.

According to appellant the minuscule injuries in the complainant’s body omitted in the report but which Dr. Plastina caused to be photographed invites suspicion that said injuries did not exist at the time of the said medical examination. Appellant further alleges that no man in his right mind will believe that the said contusion hematoma would make a person so injured to almost lose consciousness and, therefore, it is safe to assume that it was inflicted by the parents or uncles of Dolores.

We are not persuaded.

While Dolores Catimbang was in the office at 12:35 p.m. when the appellant arrived therein on April 8, 1987 and did not go out with her officemates to take her lunch, this fact is not enough to conclude that she had been waiting for the appellant to fetch her. She was busy when the appellant arrived. 4 Contrary to appellant’s claim, complainant did not readily agree to eat at Dalampasigan Restaurant precisely because it was far from the office. She told him she preferred to eat in a nearby place. 5

As to her condition upon their arrival at the Garden Inn Resort at around 2:00 p.m. on that day, Dolores Catimbang said that she was still conscious but was "no longer myself." she did not know anymore what was happening and where she was at that time. While she could still walk, she did not know where she was going; she felt dizzy; she felt very weak; and did not even know whether she entered a room. 6 Prosecution witness Moises Lemos testified 7 that appellant was holding Dolores Catimbang by the waist, with one of her hand over his shoulder as he led her to one of the rooms of the Inn. Contrary to appellant’s claim that this actuation gives the impression that they are sweethearts, such a description is the picture of a person (in this case, Dolores) who could hardly walk by himself. Even an inebriated man who has drunk too much alcoholic beverage and who could hardly walk by himself would be assisted by an able person in such a manner: a man would hold the intoxicated person by the waist and one of the latter’s hand would be over the former’s shoulder. This only further bolsters the truth of Dolores Catimbang’s testimony that she was very weak, dizzy and not herself at that time. Moreover, the natural gesture of a couple who are sweethearts, walking together, would be for the man’s arm to be around the woman’s shoulders while the woman’s arm would be around the man’s waist.

As to the lack of medical examination to show that Dolores ingested a drug that could make her unconscious, this is no longer necessary as the prosecution evidence on record sufficiently proves appellant’s guild beyond reasonable doubt.

As to the alleged small injuries or bruises sustained by the complainant, it is wrong to conclude that the blow which caused such a small bruise could not possibly make the complainant almost lose consciousness. People differ in the degree of pain that they could bear. While the area of the bruise may be small, the appellant, using the knife, may have vigorously struck the complainant on the shoulder, so that there is nothing impossible about the complainant almost losing consciousness because of said blow. As to appellant’s theory that it was complainant’s parents who inflicted said injury, the same is preposterous. Regarding the photos, more particularly the ones showing the victim’s bruises, 8 the same could not have been taken on another date because the victim was examined by Dr. Plastina only once and the latter testified that she was present when said pictures of the victim were taken.

In the fifth assignment of error, appellant discusses his allegation that the rape of Dolores may have occurred on April 9, 10 or 11, 1987 but not on April 8, 1987, which, if true, throws a serious and grave doubt that Gavino is the culprit since Dr. Plastina found the spermatozoa in the victim’s organ to be alive 9 and because the labia majora and labia minora as well as the cervix of Dolores has fresh bleeding erosions without the presence of any healing process which means that Dolores had sexual intercourse in the very recent past, i.e., several hours before the medical examination.

While the doctor’s finding reveals that the laceration is fresh, said doctor testified that the normal healing time for such wounds is 1 to 7 days. 10 The doctor further testified that in this particular case, when she said recent, she meant that the laceration was sustained by the victim three to four days ago. 11 Since the complainant was raped by appellant on April 8, 1987 and she was examined by the doctor-witness on April 11, 1987, the doctor’s testimony that the laceration was sustained 3-4 days ago jibes with the date when the rape was committed. At any rate, this assignment of error is of trivial matter as Gavino admitted 12 having carnal knowledge of Dolores Catimbang on April 8, 1987 thus —

"Q: On April 8, 1987 Dolores Catimbang complained that you used force, threat and intimidation in having carnal knowledge with her, what can you say about this?

A: No, I have not used that. It’s all pure mutual agreement, ‘kasunduan,’ sir."cralaw virtua1aw library

On the sixth assigned error, appellant claims that complainant’s alleged confusion is baffling because she remembered even the smallest detail of what happened from the time they were about to leave the room until they left the establishment; that her feeling of confusion seems to appear and disappear at times most convenient for the prosecution; that Dolores did not claim confusion when she threatened the accused; that she was a woman scorned and may have felt cheated by Gavino who led her to believe that he loves her; that to assuage her hurt feelings, she went to the house of her friend Eugene Tirones, a bachelor, who has another brother, also a bachelor; and that the result is predictable and in about 3 days, she lost her virginity.

We find appellant’s contentions untenable. Complainant remembered what happened before she and the appellant left the Garden Inn Resort — that the appellant threatened her not to act suspiciously once they get out of the room or he would kill her; that a woman came near the door to get the payment; that the appellant paid P100.00; that the appellant had to drive slowly from the parking space for that was the time when the change was handed to the appellant, as she was anxious and apprehensive of what would happen next. When she was about to alight from the jeepney, the appellant was begging her not to report the matter to her parents and so, it was now her turn to threaten him that she would make a revenge. Thereafter Dolores had to decide whether or not to tell her parents about the incident. This is the tragic incident that caused her confusion.

Appellant would like to portray complainant as a woman of ill repute, who wanted to live with a married man and lost her virginity to the two bachelors in whose house she slept allegedly "to assuage her hurt feelings" ; as a woman who would allow herself to be exposed to the humiliation and stigma of a rape trial just to get even with the man who allegedly spurned her love. This is comically ridiculous and incredible. A country girl like the victim in this case whose only fault was to have trusted the appellant, cannot be a dishonest woman with worldly proclivities. Dolores was not a sexual pervert out to seduce any man at sight. This is what appellant would like to portray to the Court. She was only 23 years old and was still a virgin when the appellant raped her. A public accusation by a Filipina, whose virtue has heretofore been unblemished, that she has been raped, carries a lot of credence. 13 Her only purpose was to protect her honor and to bring to justice the person who raped her, so much so that she declared in court after a very lengthy cross-examination:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"Atty. Hildawa:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

Q Last question Miss Catimbang, who really raped you?

A I answered that already Atty. Hildawa. May I say something, Your Honor.

Court:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

You say whatever you want.

Witness:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

A I noticed right from the start Atty. Hildawa "paulit-ulit ang tanong niyo, pinaiikot-ikot niyo ako, edukadong tao ako hindi ako magdadamay ng taong walang kasalanan (witness pointing to the accused) he is the maniac, he is the rapist. I will not tell things that are not true." 14

In People v. Corpus, 15 it was held that —

"Considering a Filipina’s inbred modesty and antipathy in airing publicly things which affect her honor, it is difficult to believe that she would admit the ignominy she had undergone if it were not true. A complainant would not risk ruining her future and exposing herself to ridicule if her charge were not true. If she does under the expense, trouble and inconvenience of a public trial, suffer scandals, embarrassments and humiliation (such action would indubitably invite, as well as allow, an examination of her private parts), it is due to her desire to bring to justice the person who had abused her."cralaw virtua1aw library

On the seventh assigned error, appellant makes an issue of complainant’s testimony that she went to the house of Eugene Tirones in Banlic, Cabuyao, Laguna when the fact is Eugene Tirones and her sister reside in Banlic, Calamba, Laguna. This allegation, is to say the least, flimsy. Whether it was Calamba or Cabuyao is not important. What is important is that she indeed stayed in the house of his friend’s sister and then her friend’s relative for three days; this was corroborated by said friend’s sister, Loring Tirones; and this demonstrates how confused the complainant was because she was raped. As aptly stated by the trial court —

"According to prosecution’s witnesses (sic) Larita Tirones, sister of Eugene Tirones, and the owner of the house where Dolores Catimbang stayed, she was always crying and dazed (tulala) and refused to eat from April 8 to April 11, 1987. She refused to go home or see her parents. This behavior of Dolores Catimbang is a clear manifestation of a ravaged and confused woman who obviously was having a hard time pondering her traumatic experience and thinking how to carry the burden of having been forcibly deprived of her honor and dignity. In other words, she was the very opposite of the woman whom accused wanted to appear to be his arduous sweetheart and persistent paramour." 16

On the last assigned error, appellant argues that the rule that." . . findings of the lower court which has the opportunity to see, hear and observe the witnesses testify and to weigh their testimonies will be accorded the highest degree of respect by this Tribunal" is not applicable to this case with respect to Dolores Catimbang’s testimony because the judge who penned the decision appealed from was not the one who saw and heard Dolores Catimbang testify but another judge to whom the case was originally assigned.

While said rule does not apply in the case at bar, this does not militate against appellee because evidence is overwhelming that appellant raped the complainant. Appellant admitted having carnal knowledge of the complainant; complainant’s claim that she became dizzy and very weak and later on unconscious, because of what appellant put in her softdrink was corroborated by Moises Lemos; and that what happened in the Garden Inn Resort was against her will is supported by Larita Tirones’ testimony that the complainant Dolores Catimbang could not eat and was always crying during the three days that the latter was in her house on April 8 to 11, 1987. Complainant’s testimony is supported by the Medico-Legal Report, 17 and corroborated by the straightforward, spontaneous and convincing testimony of Moises Lemos, Larita Tirones and Dr. Plastina, thereby proving satisfactorily her allegations that she was raped by appellant. On the other hand, appellant’s claim that he and Dolores Catimbang were sweethearts and that Dolores Catimbang agreed to have sexual intercourse with him remained unsubstantiated and belied by the facts established by the prosecution.

In rape cases, the accused may be convicted solely on the testimony of the complaining witness provided such testimony is credible, natural, convincing and otherwise consistent with human nature and the course of things. 18 This is such a case.

All other matters brought up by appellant are negligible details, unsubstantiated conclusions, theories, and assumptions that deserve scant consideration. It is an accepted rule that the credibility of a rape victim is not destroyed by some inconsistencies in her testimony. 19

This Court is convinced beyond reasonable doubt that appellant had carnal knowledge of complainant against the latter’s will and consent.

Consistent with prevailing jurisprudence, the accused in rape cases is normally sentenced to pay the victim P30,000.00 for moral damages. 20 Considering, however, the extraordinary circumstances in this case, 21 the indemnity is increased to Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos.

ACCORDINGLY, except for the MODIFICATION that the amount of indemnity is increased to Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00), the decision appealed from dated September 29, 1989 is hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

Regalado, Romero, Puno and Mendoza, JJ., concur.

Endnotes:



1. Decision, pp. 103.

2. Decision, p. 4.

3. Appellant’s Brief, pp. 1-2, Rollo, pp. 64-65.

4. TSN, June 23, 1987, p. 4.

5. TSN, June 23, 1987, p. 20, on cross-examination.

6. TSN, July 21, 1987, pp. 7-8 on cross-examination.

7. TSN, August 31, 1988, p. 26 on cross-examination.

8. Exhs. "B-3" to "B-5", Original Record, p. 231.

9. TSN, July 16, 1987, p. 12

10. TSN, July 16, 1987, p. 14, on cross-examination.

11. Ibid.

12. TSN, April 13, 1989, p. 16, on direct examination.

13. People v. Tayco, 235 SCRA 610.

14. TSN, August 20, 1987, pp. 15-16.

15. 222 SCRA 842, G.R. No. 101005, May 31, 1993.

16. Decision, pp. 6-7.

17. Exh. "C", Original Record, p. 2.

18. People v. Junio, 237 SCRA 826, G.R. No. 110990, Oct. 28, 1994.

19. People v. Abapo, 239 SCRA 373, G.R. No. 108584, Dec. 22, 1994.

20. People v. Sabellina, 238 SCRA 492, G.R. No. 93514-15 Dec. 1, 1994.

21. People v. Florendo, 230 SCRA 599, G.R. No. 106100-01, Mar. 2, 1994.

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