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G.R. No. 168448 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FAJARDO NAPUDO

G.R. No. 168448 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FAJARDO NAPUDO

PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. NO. 168448 : October 8, 2008]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. FAJARDO NAPUDO, Accused-Appellant.

D E C I S I O N

BRION, J.:

We pass upon the accused-appellant Fajardo Napudo's (Napudo or appellant) appeal from the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated March 17, 2005 in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00633, finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape committed against AAA. The CA decision affirmed with modification the decision dated November 15, 2000 of the Regional Trial Court1 (RTC), Branch 30, Nueva Vizcaya, in Crim. Case No. 1147 that found the appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape, and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the offended party's family Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00)2 as moral damages and Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) as civil indemnity.

Napudo was prosecuted under an Information3 charging him with violation of Article 266-A, paragraph I(a) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended,4 in relation with Republic Act No. 7659 and Republic Act No. 7610. He pleaded not guilty to the charge and was thereafter tried.5 At the pre-trial, he admitted his sexual intercourse with AAA, but declared these acts to be voluntary and consensual between them because they were sweethearts.

The Prosecution's Version

The prosecution presented evidence consisting of the testimonies of (a) AAA; (b) BBB, her mother; and (c) Dr. Elizabeth Joaquin (Dr. Joaquin), the physician who conducted the medical examination on AAA. The RTC summarized the testimony of AAA as follows:

On December 3, 1998, around 1:30 p.m., she boarded a jeep at Solano, Nueva Vizcaya bound for Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya. Among her fellow passengers on board the jeep, she recognized Fajardo Napudo, x x x who happened to be a resident also of Malabing and her cousin (her mother and the accused's father being sister and brother). The jeep's destination was up to Wangal, a neighboring barrio of Malabing and from there, she planned to walk to Malabing which was 2 kms. away as there was no means of transportation. They reached Wangal at 9:00 p.m. x x x

While walking towards Malabing, Fajardo Napudo got hold of her bag which was quite heavy so that they could walk faster to Malabing. As the road was muddy, she took off her shoes but again Fajardo volunteered to carry her shoes for her. When she handed her shoes to him, Fajardo took hold of her left wrist and with his right arm, he held her waistline. It was at this point that she became apprehensive, seated (sic) herself on the muddy ground and cried. She cried for help, afraid that she was about to be molested and inquired from Fajardo why he was doing this to her. Fajardo scolded her and uttered an expletive. Fajardo then pressed both cheeks with his hand and inserted his tongue in her mouth. She bit Fajardo's tongue, afterwhich (sic), he pulled her towards a clump of bamboos 10 m away from the road. She struggled and fought Fajardo by kicking him but he succeeded in bringing her to the clump of bamboos. He then pushed her hard towards the ground and straddled her legs and forced open her blouse. He lowered her pants and panty, afterwhich (sic), he also lowered his pants and brief. The accused, however, failed to insert his penis into her vagina and because she had already lost her strength from fighting him, she lost consciousness. When she came to, she found that she was under a "camarin" which was 30 meters away from the clump of bamboos and she noticed that she was totally naked and her right foot was raised on the arm of the accused. The accused was already on top of her and he was making pumping motions while his penis was inserted into her vagina. Her body and her maidenhood was painful while accused was on top of her. She pushed him away and cried and pleaded why he did those things to her. The accused just stood up, put on his clothes and after putting on her clothes, he accompanied her home. Before they parted ways, the accused threatened that he would kill her if she would report the matter to anybody.6

AAA afterwards was unable to eat and sleep; she also kept on crying. BBB testified that upon being told by AAA of her sexual ordeal on December 6, 1998, she immediately confronted Napudo but the latter denied the allegation. She then invited Napudo to her house for a confrontation with AAA who called him "gago".7 BBB then consulted the Barangay Captain who instructed her to report the matter to the police authorities. The witness also testified that although AAA resumed her studies after the incident, she never went home and preferred to stay at a boarding house where BBB visited her. Eighteen days after completion of her court testimony, AAA committed suicide by drinking malathion, but prior to her death, she ate sparingly, was unhappy, and always cried whenever the rape incident was brought up.

Dr. Joaquin who had physically examined AAA three days after the incident, issued a medico-legal report finding laceration in her hymen at 5:00 o'clock position and "abrasion, small-sized near the vaginal orifice on the left side wall."8 She opined that the laceration found in AAA's hymen and the abrasions in her vaginal walls could have been caused by the insertion of a penis since the patient claimed to have been raped.9 On cross-examination, the witness stated that, except for the findings on the complainant's hymen, there were no injuries on the hands, shoulders, breasts or legs of AAA. Dr. Joaquin testified that based on the inflammatory marks on AAA's vagina, the laceration could have been caused three (3) days prior to the medical examination.10 The prosecution rested its case after its formal offer of documentary evidence consisting of: (a) AAA's Sworn Statement dated December 10, 1998;11 (b) the medico-legal report dated December 6, 1998;12 and (c) AAA's death's certificate.13

Version of the Defense

To prove that the sexual relationship between Napudo and AAA was consensual and that he and AAA were in fact sweethearts, the defense presented the testimonies of the following witnesses: (a) Napudo; (b) Noli Nunag; (c) Larry Guzman; and (d) Perfecto Tabingalan. The RTC summarized the appellant's testimony and the defense's version of the antecedent events as follows:

'he knew AAA as the girl was his barangay mate. He first came to know AAA when she was 16 and in third year high school. Whenever AAA went home to Malabing, they sometimes rode together in a jeep and they used to converse with each other. There were occasions when he was at the parking area that AAA and some students would invite him to watch a movie. From his recollection, they saw movies together, a mutual relationship burgeoned between them and they kissed each other inside the movie house. Merlie was then in third year high school. They used to meet at the Capitol compound on Saturdays but he remembered of one occasion where Merlie met him there on a school day.

Their relationship progressed to a more intimate level when they both attended the wedding of Samuel Baguilat at Dualo, Lagawe on October 22-23, 1998. While the party was going on, he and Merlie sneaked out and proceeded to the kiosk near the school in Dulao, Lagawe, Ifugao where they had their first sexual intercourse x x x

x : x : x

He denied having forced himself on AAA and asserverated that he and AAA had a relationship long before the incident complained of. The time that he had sexual intercourse with AAA, particularly on October 22, 1998, October 28, 1998, November 13, 1998 and December 3, 1998, more specifically at the "camarin" or shack and at his house, were all voluntarily participated in and acceded to by AAA.14

On cross-examination, Napudo admitted that he had no evidence, apart from his statements, to show that he and AAA were lovers.15

To corroborate Napudo's sweetheart defense, the defense presented Perfecto Tabingalan (Tabingalan), the owner of a hotel named Yellow Bell Lodge, whose testimony was summarized by the RTC in the following manner:

On November 13, 1998, while sitting as desk clerk at the counter, two persons entered and registered their names as Fardo and Merly Napudo. At that time, he presumed that they were husband and wife. He then proceeded to identify the accused in open court as the person who had himself registered as Fardo Napudo. Fardo was with a woman who was beautiful, with fair complexion, quite young and with the profile of a highlander. He had no occasion to talk with them as they immediately entered room no. 6 after checking in. They checked-in at 7:15 p.m. and checked-out between 7:00 and 8:00 the following morning.16

The witness admitted that he made the entries appearing in the logbook when the guests refused to sign.17 On cross-examination, he also admitted that it was his first encounter with Fardo and Merly Napudo. He described the encounter to be brief. He also admitted that there were occasions when he could not remember the hotel guests.18 Moreover, he testified that he came to know the full name of Napudo through the latter's mother who had tearfully requested that he testify in Napudo's behalf.19

The other two witnesses - Noli Nunag20 and Larry Guzman21 'testified that on December 3, 1998, they saw Napudo and AAA seated beside each other inside the jeepney they were riding on; when the vehicle bogged down, Napudo and AAA walked together to Malabing.

The defense rested its case after the formal offer of documentary evidence consisting of the hotel proprietor's logbook.22

The Lower Courts' Rulings.

The RTC disbelieved Napudo's "sweetheart" defense after considering the absence of external manifestations proving the existence of the relationship. It declared that such defense falls flat on the face of AAA's testimony which it found sincere and worthy of belief - she was unfazed by the accused's attack on her character, on her behavior, and on the lack of physical evidence showing injuries to her person. The RTC held that in any case, even if Napudo and AAA were indeed lovers, that fact alone does not negate the commission of rape.

The Court of Appeals (CA),23 on appeal, agreed with the RTC's findings. The appellate court discredited the testimony of Tabingalan and the hotel logbook; Tabingalan exhibited a very selective manner of remembering hotel guests and had an undependable system of making entries in the hotel logbook. The document was similarly unreliable as it contained blank spaces open to insertions.

In this appeal to us, the appellant attributed the following errors to the Court of Appeals:

1. The court a quo gravely erred in ignoring the fact that what transpired between the accused-appellant and the complainant was a consensual affair.

2. The court a quo gravely erred in convicting the accused-appellant of the crime of rape based on reasonable doubt.

Napudo anchored his "sweetheart" defense on the following: first, the testimonies of Noli Nunag and Larry Guzman who both declared that they saw Napudo and AAA seated beside each other conversing while they were on their way to Malabing that fateful day; second, the fact that it was unusual for AAA, a maiden, to walk home at night with Napudo unless she trusted the latter - an indication, in Napudo's view, of their relationship; third, Tabingalan confirmed that he saw AAA with Napudo check in at the Yellow Bell Lodge; fourth, the fact that, except for the laceration in her hymen, there was no other physical injury found on AAA's body to indicate that she was forced or abused; fifth, her conduct after the alleged rape was inconsistent with the claim of rape; and lastly, the absence of evidence showing that she tenaciously resisted the sexual assault despite the fact that the accused-appellant was unarmed.

The Office of the Solicitor General, on the other hand, maintained that the RTC and CA were correct in sustaining Napudo's conviction on the basis of the totality of the prosecution's evidence centered on AAA's credible testimony. It reiterated both the lower courts' conclusion that a "sweetheart" defense does not negate the commission of rape; neither does the absence of physical injuries conclusively prove the charge of rape.

OUR RULING

After due consideration of the parties' evidence and arguments, we find no error in the factual and legal conclusions of the CA, and therefore affirm the appellant Napudo's conviction.

The prosecution's case is mainly based on the testimony of AAA as corroborated by the medical findings of Dr. Joaquin and the testimony of BBB. On the basis of the records, we find no compelling reason to deviate from the lower courts' findings that the carnal knowledge between Napudo and AAA in the evening of December 3, 1998 was attended by force and intimidation. AAA positively, consistently, and categorically testified on the manner Napudo forced her and succeeded in having sexual intercourse with her against her will.24

Adding weight to AAA's testimony are the findings of Dr. Joaquin, an expert witness on matters of rape as the defense itself admitted,25 whose medico-legal report dated December 6, 1998 established a marked compatibility of the physical evidence to the charge of rape. The physical evidence on record revealed:

(a) The presence of a hymenal laceration and abrasion in AAA's vaginal walls which, as Dr. Joaquin testified, could have been caused by a penis as the complainant claimed to have been raped; 26

(b) Based on the wound healing, the hymenal laceration was 3-days old which was consistent with AAA's claim that she was raped three days before the medical examination, or on December 3, 1998; 27 and

(c) The medical diagnosis that AAA's first sexual intercourse could not have been earlier than December 3, 1998.28

Similarly, there is evidence of AAA's physical and mental condition after the rape, which showed consistency with the accusation of rape. BBB described the physical appearance and demeanor of AAA after the rape in this manner: I saw my daughter sitted [sic] on a chair. Her hair was "disabled" (disheveled) as if she was mentally upset. She was crying. She had sleepless nights and (was) unable to eat'. I inquired from her why she looks like that and what the problem was and she replied: "It is Fajardo" shouted my daughter' "Fajardo raped me".29 As the records show, AAA's behavior continued even during the hearing of the case; after the rape, she never went home and preferred to stay at her boarding house in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya.30 Her disposition was further described by BBB as lonely, sad, and unhappy; she ate sparingly.31 BBB also testified that they never talked about the rape because it made AAA cry.32 Notably, on November 15, 1999, after completing her testimony in court, AAA's depression finally overcame her; she took her own life by drinking poison.33

The appellant never denied his sexual intercourse with AAA, asserting instead that their sexual intercourse was consensual because they were sweethearts. As the records show, the RTC and the CA rejected Napudo's "sweetheart" defense. In the words of the RTC:

The accused's sweetheart theory falls flat on the face of the victim's testimony. The accused offered no ill motive to testify against him. Were they really sweethearts, [AAA] could as easily have kept mum about everything that transpired between her and Fajardo. On the contrary, it was this dire experience she suffered that engendered her haggard appearance as to make her mother wonder and inquire as to what happened to her. Besides, it is simply unbelievable that the complainant and her mother would allow themselves to undergo such a tedious and humiliating trial for no reason at all except to vindicate their lost pride and honor. The sweetheart theory relied on by the defense is a worn out and tired excuse employed by a man to satiate his lust under the guise of love. It is akin to a wolf dressed in sheep's clothing but when shorn of its accoutrements is nothing but plain old lust.

x      x      x
x      x      x

Granting in argumenti gratia that the accused and the victim had previous sexual liaisons, the same did not negate the crime of Rape. As pithily stated by Justice Davide in the Patriarca case, love is not a license to lust. Further, the accused offered no independent proof that he was the sweetheart of the victim other than his bare assertions which were not substantiated by any memento, love note, picture or token.34

The CA agreed with the RTC findings in its decision and described the "sweetheart" defense as a "crude ploy" and "futile maneuver" on the part of Napudo that was insufficient to overcome the prosecution's evidence supporting his guilt. Both courts, in effect, struck down Napudo's "sweetheart" defense on the ground that it did not have sufficient corroboration; contrary evidence likewise showed that the rape, as narrated by AAA and backed by the medical examination and findings, did indeed take place.

We fully support these findings. As we emphasized in People v. Apostol,35 the "sweetheart" defense is a much-abused defense. As an affirmative defense, the allegation of a love affair must be supported by convincing proof other than the self-serving assertions of the accused.36 It cannot be given credence in the absence of evidence, such as notes, gifts, pictures, mementos or other tokens independently proving its existence; nor can it be given weight where no other witness was presented to testify that the accused and the complainant were indeed sweethearts.37 The sweetheart defense is considered an uncommonly weak defense because its presence does not automatically negate the commission of rape. The gravamen of the crime of rape is sexual congress of a man with a woman without her consent. Hence, notwithstanding the existence of a romantic relationship, a woman cannot be forced to engage in sexual intercourse against her will.

To support his claim of a love affair, Napudo relied on the testimonies of Noli Nunag, Larry Guzman and Tabingalan, and the logbook of the Yellow Bell Lodge. At the same time, he stressed that AAA's behavior prior to, during, and after the alleged rape, was contrary to her accusation.

We disagree with Napudo.

First, the fact alone that two people were seen seated beside each other, conversing during a jeepney ride, without more, cannot give rise to the inference that they were sweethearts. Intimacies such as loving caresses, cuddling, tender smiles, sweet murmurs or any other affectionate gestures that one bestows upon his or her lover would have been seen and are expected to indicate the presence of the relationship. Napudo's witnesses did not testify to any such intimacies, only to the neutral acts of two people seated together and conversing during a jeepney ride. We find it significant, too, that while Noli Nunag claimed that he and Napudo were longtime friends, he made no effort to even converse or at least greet Napudo to inform him of his presence.

Second, neither can any romantic relationship be deduced from the fact that Napudo and AAA opted to walk to Malabing. Defense witness Larry Guzman provided a practical explanation when he stated that walking from Wangal to Malabing was faster because a shortcut could be taken.38 Additionally, nothing romantic can be inferred from Napudo and AAA's walk to Malabing as both were residents of the place; their houses were only 40 meters from each other.39 Neither was there anything unusual when AAA allowed Napudo to accompany her as both testified that they knew each other for a long time.40 AAA's testimony that she and Napudo are cousins and that she even called him "Manong Pardo" remain unrebutted.41 We find it more believable that they walked together because she trusted Napudo as a relative who could protect her from the dangers of the road at nighttime, not because of any romantic reason.

Third, the testimony of hotel proprietor Tabingalan is full of improbabilities and inconsistencies, as observed by both the lower courts. The CA decision particularly noted that "[t]he latter [Tabingalan] acknowledged that his encounter with them was only for a brief moment and was his first time to meet them. For being empirical, we adopt the observation of the trial court that 'this does not prove anything because the witness very well claimed that most hotel guests preferred to hide behind the cloak of anonymity or under false names. x x x Indeed, Tabilangan betrayed his own infidelity to the truth when he identified the persons of the appellant and the complainant in open court in the course of his testimony x x x or one (1) year and eight (8) months earlier in his Yellow Bell Lodge, although he purportedly saw them only fleetingly on that first and only occasion that he saw them. In the same breath, he admitted to his inability to recall or describe the appearance of his other guests."

We add that Tabingalan's "general" description42 of Napudo's woman companion that night did not sufficiently identify AAA as the woman with him as many women would fit the given description. We cannot disregard, too, Tabingalan's testimony that Napudo's mother had tearfully talked to him and pleaded with him to testify in her son's favor in the case. This, plus his distinct recollection of Napudo and his woman companion when he could not remember the other hotel guests, renders his testimony highly suspect.

Fourth, the hotel proprietor's logbook does not, by itself, disclose or confirm the identity of Napudo's companion. The content of the hotel proprietor's logbook which was marked into evidence as Exhibit 1-C states that, "Pardo & Merly Napudo" checked in at 7:15 p.m. of November 13, 1998 and checked out at 8:15 a.m. the next day. The records disclose that "Merly Napudo" is not the name of AAA; nor is there evidence to show that she had been called that name or had ever used that name. At face value, therefore, the contents of the logbook does not identify AAA as the woman with Napudo; if at all, the logbook could only serve as evidence to prove the fact that a couple checked in and checked out of the hotel, and that the couple used the name Pardo and Merly Napudo in the guest list on November 13, 1998. It did not clearly establish the identity of these guests.

Intrinsically, the logbook cannot likewise be considered as credible evidence for its lack of integrity; its entries were open to intercalation given the presence of blank spaces between the hotel guests' names. In this regard, Tabingalan admitted that sometimes, persons do not want to register their names;43 or give their names but refuse to sign;44 and it was he who registered the Napudo and his partner's names in the hotel's logbook.45 We note in this regard the CA's observation that a facial examination of the entries reveal that, "[their] names were distinctively written on the logbook as though they were lovers or a married couple, strongly suggesting that it was a deliberate scheme to belatedly mint evidence indicative of consensual criminal conversation to help out the appellant."46

Fifth, the accused vainly tried to highlight the "unusual" conduct of AAA after the alleged rape when she allowed Napudo to take her home and when she went to sleep without cleaning herself. We view these as trivial matters that do not affect the positive and categorical testimony of AAA about the rape. AAA also explained that she allowed Napudo to take her home and hold her hand because she was very weak and incapable of walking.47 That AAA failed to clean herself or take a bath and immediately went to sleep upon arrival at home neither confirms nor negates the sexual intercourse by force that the victim narrated. One certainty our judicial experience has taught us in handling rape cases is that there is no hard and fast rule in judging the reactions of rape victims; the responses of people to abnormal situations may differ.

The defense likewise argued that there is no direct evidence linking AAA's suicide to the rape. That is correct. In fact, AAA in her deathbed never mentioned any such linkage, as testified to by BBB; AAA simply cried when asked why she drank poison.48 However, the lack of direct evidence does not necessarily negate the existence of a link. The attendant circumstances in the case showed that prior to the rape, AAA was a normally happy lass.49 As testified to by BBB, AAA's condition after the rape showed a person who had lost her zest for life. More importantly, the suicide came on November 15, 1999, a mere eighteen days after she completed her court testimony. This timing, we believe, speaks for itself.

The defense lastly capitalized on the victim's alleged lack of tenacious resistance to the sexual intercourse. Such lack of resistance does not make the sexual congress voluntary;50 neither is it necessary for a victim to resist to the point of inviting death or physical injuries for rape to exist. It is sufficient if the sexual intercourse took place against the victim's will, or that she yielded to a genuine apprehension of great harm.51 What the victim should adequately prove is the use of force or intimidation by the rapist,52 which the prosecution adequately did in this case. Actual resistance on the part of the victim is not an essential element of rape.53 Force and intimidation are likewise relative terms depending on the age, size, strength and other external factors such as relationship. Both must be viewed in light of the complainant's judgment and perception. Force needs not to be irresistible, nor should it be identified with violence, as all that is required is that the force exerted be sufficient to consummate the evil design. Neither is proof of injury indispensable in prosecutions for rape;54 the presence of injury only confirms that a violent assault took place. Intimidation, on the other hand, produces fear that if the victim does not yield to the lustful demands of her attacker, something would happen to her at that point or thereafter.55

AAA's testimony revealed that she feared Napudo when his plan to molest her dawned on her - she simply sat down on the muddy ground, cried and asked him, "Manong Pardo, why are you doing this to me?" Napudo only answered with an expletive.56 Force was patent when Napudo pushed her to the ground and pinned her down by sitting on her abdomen.57 AAA also testified that Napudo alternately held both her hands, her waistline and covered her mouth to ward off her resistance and to prevent her from shouting for help.58 Further, AAA sufficiently explained the absence of extra-genital injuries on her person when she stated that Napudo did not box or strangle her but only held her hands and covered her mouth.59

Significantly, Dr. Joaquin testified during her re-direct examination that AAA might have suffered other physical injuries which could have already healed after the lapse of three days.60

Bearing all these in mind, we find that the evidence adduced by the prosecution at the trial constitutes sufficient proof beyond reasonable doubt to affirm the conviction of appellant Napudo.

The Proper Penalty

The rape was committed under Republic Act No. 8353 or the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 that classified rape as a crime against persons. Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code provides the penalty of reclusion perpetua where rape is committed by means of force, threat or intimidation.

The CA correctly increased the amount of moral damages to P50,000 in accordance with prevailing jurisprudence.61 Moral damages, is automatically due to rape victims without the necessity of proof; the law assumes that the victim suffered moral injuries entitling her to this award.62 The award of P50,000 as civil indemnity is similarly proper and is in fact mandatory upon the finding of rape.63

WHEREFORE, premises considered, we AFFIRM the decision dated March 17, 2005 of the CA in CA-G.R.-H.C. No. 00633 finding accused-appellant Fajardo Napudo GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape by using force and intimidation as defined and penalized under Article 266-A, paragraph 1(a) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. Costs against the accused-appellant.

SO ORDERED.

Endnotes:


1 Penned by Executive Judge Vincent Eden C. Panay.

2 The CA modified that RTC decision with respect to the award of moral damages which was increased from P30,000 to P50,000.

3 Dated April 16, 1999; Records, p. 65. It reads: "That on or about December 3, 1998 in the evening, in the Municipality of Kasibu, Province of Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the above-named accused, taking advantage of superior strength, with lewd designs, by means of force, threat and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of private complainant AAA, 17 years old, against the latter's will and consent, to her own damage and prejudice."

4 Republic Act No. 8353.

5 Records, p. 67.

6 Rollo, p. 74.

7 TSN, January 19, 2000, p. 13.

8 Records, p. 6.

9 TSN, January 18, 2000, pp. 5-6.

10 TSN, January 18, 2000, p. 5.

11 Records, pp. 2-3.

12 Id., pp. 4-6.

13 Id., p. 113.

14 Rollo, pp. 80-83.

15 TSN, May 10, 2000.

16 Rollo, p. 83.

17 TSN, July 11, 2000, p. 3.

18 TSN, July 11, 2000, pp. 6 and 15.

19 TSN, July 11, 2000, pp. 15-16.

20 TSN, March 7, 2000, p. 7.

21 TSN, May 21, 2000, p. 5.

22 Records, pp. 149-150.

23 To which court we transferred the mandatory appeal pursuant to our ruling in People v. Mateo. G.R. NOS. 147678-87, July 7, 2004.

24 TSN, September 28, 1999, pp.6-7.

25 TSN, January 18, 2000, p. 3.

26 Id., pp. 5-6.

27 Id.

28 TSN, January 18, 2000, p. 5.

29 TSN, June 19, 2000, pp. 9 and 11.

30 Id., p. 19.

31 Id., p. 19.

32 Id., p. 20.

33 Id., p. 21.

34 RTC Decision, p. 14 and 15; CA rollo, pp. 35-36.

35 G.R. NOS. 123267-68, December 9, 1999, 320 SCRA 327, 339.

36 People v. Manallo, G.R . No. 143704, March 28, 2003, 400 SCRA 129, 142.

37 People v. Carson, G.R. No. 93732, November 21, 1991, 204 SCRA 266, 270; see People v. Hapin, G.R. No. 175782, August 24, 2007, 531 SCRA 224, 239; People v. Rizaldo, G.R. No. 140638, October 14, 2002, 390 SCRA 654, 661; People v. Manallo, id., p. 142.

38 TSN, March 21, 2000, p. 8.

39 TSNs, July 20, 1999, p. 5 and May 10, 2001, p. 3.

40 TSNs, July 20, 1999, p. 8 and May 10, 2001, p. 3.

41 TSNs, July 20, 1999, p. 8 and July 27, 1999, p. 9.

42 Tabilangan described Napudo's companion as beautiful, young, fair complexioned and with the profile of a highlander; TSN, July 11, 2000, p. 8.

43 Id., p. 4.

44 Id., p. 9.

45 Id., p. 3.

46 CA Decision, p. 15; CA rollo, p. 147.

47 TSN, October 28, 1999, p. 3.

48 TSN, February 10, 2000, p.18.

49 TSN, June 19, 2000, p. 21.

50 People v. Malicsi, G.R. No. 175833, January 29, 2008.

51 Id.

52 People v. Moriño, G.R. No. 176265, April 30, 2008.

53 Id.

54 People v. Ylanan, G.R. No. 131812, August 22, 2002, 387 SCRA 590, 600.

55 People v. Malicsi, supra note 50.

56 TSN, July 27, 1999, p. 9.

57 TSN, September 28, 1999, pp. 4 and 6.

58 TSN, October 26, 1999, pp. 9-11.

59 TSN, October 26, 1999, p. 7.

60 TSN, January 18, 2000, p. 15.

61 People v. Moriño, supra note 52.

62 People v. Suarez, G.R. NOS. 153573-76, April 15, 2005, 456 SCRA 333, 352.

63 People v. Limos, G.R. NOS. 122114-17, January 20, 2004, 420 SCRA 183, 205.

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