"Superficial laceration, Right cheek.
Contusion, neck, lateral, Right.
Contusion to anterior-posterior chest.
Contusion to upper extremities, Left and Right.
Hematoma, occipital area, Right.
Vaginal smear = positive for sperm cells." 4
The accused did not deny having had sex with private complainant; indeed, he asserted that, being "lovers," the two had indulged in the act in not a few occasions.
On 14 December 1994, the trial court found for the prosecution and held Talledo guilty beyond reasonable doubt of rape. The Regional Trial Court 5 held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused ANGELITO TALLEDO guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
"SO ORDERED." 6
A notice of appeal was filed by Talledo. His thesis:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF RAPE BY GIVING FULL FAITH AND CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONY OF COMPLAINING WITNESS." 7
The defense attempts, by and large, to discredit private complainant due to supposed inconsistencies in her testimony narrated before the court below.
Regrettably, the Court does not see it that way.
Appellant would bewail the fact that Rosario said that she was sleeping when Talledo arrived at her house but that in her later testimony she stated that she was not sleeping but washing the dishes. Rosario explained the matter rather well when cross-examined.
"Q During your direct testimony you said that about 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon on the date of the incident the accused knocked at your door buying some ice and you told there was no ice, so this is not true?
"A Yes, sir.
"Q And what were you doing at that time?
"A I was washing the dishes, sir.
"Q But during the last hearing you said on direct examination on page 5 of the tsn at about 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon while you were sleeping?
"A I just woke up and then I washed the dishes, sir." 8
It was quite strange, appellant would insist, that Rosario could recall things that transpired even while in a state of unconsciousness. Rosario declared that while the accused was dragging her into the house, her head bumped against the wall and she became unconscious; yet, she was able to tell being carried into the house by Accused-Appellant. Similarly, she said that accused-appellant had hit her with his fist causing her to lose consciousness; yet she could remember that accused-appellant threw her on the bed and threatened to kill her if she resisted. The defense here exaggerated. This was how Rosario testified:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Q What else happened after he carried you?
"A While he was carrying me, he was talking to me and saying I will kill you. And I was already very afraid.
"Q What did he do if any?
"A He threw me in one side of our house. He told me not to shout because he will kill me.
"Q After he pushed you what else happened?
"A He bumped my head on the wall and I became unconscious.
"Q When you became unconscious, do you know if anything happened?
"A I was already unconscious. He carried me in the house.
"Q You said that you were already unconscious, how did you know that you were carried?
"A I can still feel it because I was semi-conscious.
"Q What else happened if any after that?
"A He even box my stomach and really I was unconscious at that time. What he did is he threw me on top of the bed and he shouted to me don’t shout and he will kill me." 9
"Q You said that when the accused bumped your head against the wall, do you want to say you were unconscious?
"A Slightly unconscious, sir.
"Q And after that, the accused boxed you in the stomach and that was the time that you completely loss your consciousness?
"A Yes, sir.
"Q When you were awakened the accused was no longer inside your house?
"A When I regain my consciousness the accused was still there and he was raping me, sir." 10
Next, appellant would cast falsity on private complainant’s testimony that she was washing dishes outside the house before the incident transpired when, in another vein, she said that her shouts for help could not be heard because of a heavy downpour. Rosario, however, did not say that there was such a downpour while washing the dishes; it was much later, while struggling against the accused-appellant, that she stated the din of the rain muffled her cries.
The defense would fault Rosario for having failed at the time to "take appropriate action to ensure her safety." But, in fact, she did. When appellant had refused to leave, she asked Talledo’s relatives to help her. When, despite his grandmother’s plea, Talledo still would not leave, Rosario did not stay inside, but resumed to do her chore of washing the dishes outside, the house. The accused’s grandmother also assured Rosario that Talledo would not cause her any harm.
The defense branded "absurd and incredulous" Rosario’s claim that after committing the rape, Talledo went out of the house and in the open announced that he had "succeeded" in raping private complainant. Appellant must have forgotten that he was then drunk. The act he had committed, in his inebriated state, was an act he believed he could vaunt about. Neither, on the part of Rosario, was it strange that she shouted for help even after the assault was over. She certainly was not proclaiming her disgrace but clearly she just wanted to condemn outrightly the dastardly act. She indeed promptly reported the incident to the Barangay Captain. In any event, varied behavioral responses could be expected in the proximity of, or in confronting, an uncommon occurrence.
It is when the testimony appears totally flawless that a court can have some misgivings on its veracity. A few inconsistencies can be anticipated from even the most dependable and candid witness. In fact, certain minor variances in the details of witness’ account, more frequently than not, can be badges of truth rather than indicia of falsehood, 11 and they often bolster the probative value of testimony. 12
The Court, in conclusion, finds no reason to disturb the factual findings of the trial a quo. Repeatedly, this Court has sustained the trial court in this respect, considering its vantage point in the evaluation of testimonial evidence, absent, of course, any showing of serious error or irregularity that, otherwise, would alter the results of the case. 13
An award of moral damages was unfortunately missed by the trial court; Article 2219 of the Civil Code would mandate it. 14
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the court a quo finding accused-appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape, and sentencing him accordingly, is AFFIRMED, subject to the modification that accused-appellant is likewise ordered to indemnify private complainant, Rosario Mariano y Brojas, the sum of P30,000.00 by way of moral damages.
Padilla, Bellosillo, Kapunan and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur.
1. Rollo, p. 3.
2. The children were in school.
3. Conducted by Edgar S. Ernie, M.D.
4. Records, p. 58.
5. Branch 22, Malolos, Bulacan, Hon. Judge Candido R. Belmonte presiding.
6. Rollo, p. 31.
7. Rollo, p. 51.
8. TSN, 18 February 1994, pp. 3-4.
9. TSN, 07 September 1993, pp. 7-9.
10. TSN, 03 May 1994, p. 13.
11. See People v. Ponayo, 235 SCRA 226.
12. People v. Querido, 229 SCRA 745.
13. People v. Laroa, 248 SCRA 277.
14. People v. Miranda, 235 SCRA 202; People v. Bulaybulay, 248 SCRA 601.