G.R. No. 203041, June 05, 2013
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. MOISES CAOILE, Accused-Appellant.
D E C I S I O N
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
FAMILY COURT CASE No. A-496
That on or about April 6, 2005, in the Municipality of Rosario, La Union, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the above-named accused, knowing the mental disability of the victim, did the[n] and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have sexual intercourse with one [AAA],3 a demented person with a mental age of seven (7) years old against her will and, to her damage and prejudice.4
FAMILY COURT CASE No. A-497
That on or about May 12, 2005, in the Municipality of Rosario, La Union, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the above-named accused, knowing the mental disability of the victim, did the[n] and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have sexual intercourse with one [AAA], a demented person with a mental age of seven (7) years old against her will and, to her damage and prejudice.5
Evidence for the Prosecution
[AAA], the herein victim, was left in the care of her grandmother and auntie in Alipang, Rosario, La Union when her mother left to work abroad when she was still young. One of their neighbors was the accused whose daughter, Marivic, was the playmate of [AAA].
One day, the accused invited [AAA] to go to the bamboo trees in their place. Upon reaching thereat, the accused directed [AAA] to lie down on the ground. [AAA] followed the instruction of the accused whom she called uncle Moises. Thereafter, the accused removed [AAA]’s short pant[s] and panty and inserted his penis into her vagina. [AAA] felt pain but she did not do anything. After two minutes or so, the accused removed his penis inside [AAA]’s vagina. [AAA] stood up and wore again her short pant[s] and panty. Before the accused allowed [AAA] to go home, the former gave the latter a medicine, which she described as a red capsule with white casing, with the instruction of taking the same immediately upon reaching home. As instructed by her uncle Moises, [AAA] took the medicine as soon as she got home.
Four (4) days thereafter, and while [AAA] was at the pumping well near their house, the accused invited her to gather guavas at the mountain. [AAA] accepted her uncle Moises’s invitation. At the mountain, the accused led [AAA] to lie down, and then he removed her short pant[s] and panty. Thereafter, the accused inserted his penis inside the vagina of [AAA]. After the sexual intercourse, the accused and [AAA] gathered guavas, and went home.
One day, while [AAA] was sleeping in their house, Marivic woke her up and invited her to play at their house. At the accused’s house, and while [AAA] and Marivic were playing, the accused invited [AAA] to gather santol fruits. [AAA] went with the accused, and once again the accused had carnal knowledge [of] her.
Sometime in April 2005, [AAA] heard her friend, [BBB], complaining to Lucio Bafalar, a Barangay Tanod, that the accused mashed her breast. Upon hearing the story of [BBB], [AAA] blurted out that she, too, was abused by the accused.
[CCC], [AAA]’s aunt, immediately went home [to] Rosario when she learned that her niece was raped by the accused, and together with [AAA] and Barangay Captain Roming Bartolome they went to the Rosario Police Station to report the incident. After executing their respective affidavits, [AAA] was examined by [Dr.] Claire Maramat at San Fernando, La Union.
After examining [AAA] on June 21, 2005, Dr. Claire Maramat found out that [AAA]’s genitalia suffered a multiple hymenal laceration which, at the time of the examination, was already healed, thus, possibly, it was inflicted a week or months prior to the examination. According to Dr. Maramat, a multiple hymenal laceration may be caused by several factors, such as trauma to the perineal area or penetration of a penis.
Dr. Maramat also took seminal fluid from the vagina, the cervix and the cervical canal of [AAA], and forwarded the same to Dr. Brenda Rosuman, a pathologist at the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center (ITRMC), for examination.
Dr. Rosuman testified that after examining the seminal fluids taken from [AAA], she found the presence of spermatozoa, which means that [AAA] had sexual intercourse, and the predominance of coccobacilli, meaning that [AAA] could be suffering from infection caused by hygiene or acquired through sexual intercourse. She further testified that, according to some books, spermatozoa can live in the vaginal tract within 17 days from sexual intercourse. She clarified, however, that in her medical experience, she rarely finds spermatozoa in a specimen beyond three (3) days.
Claire Baliaga, a psychologist of the Philippine Mental Health Association, Baguio-Benguet Chapter, testified that she conducted a psychological evaluation on [AAA] on August 10, 2007; that [AAA] obtained an overall score performance of 55, which is classified within the mental retardation range; and that [AAA] has the mental age of a seven-year, nine-month old child who is inadequate of sustaining mental processes and in solving novel problems employing adoptive strategies.
Dr. Roderico V. Ramos, a psychiatrist of the ITRMC, testified that he evaluated the mental condition of [AAA], that after psychiatric evaluation, [AAA] was given a diagnosis of moderate mental retardation; that a person who is mentally retardate do not function the way his age required him to be; that [AAA] was eighteen (18) years old at the time he examined her, but the mental functioning of her brain is around five (5) to six (6) years old; and that [AAA] can only do what a five or six-year old child could do.
Dr. Ramos further testified that generally a mentally retardate cannot finish primary education. He, however, explained that parents of mentally retardates begged the teachers to give passing marks to their sons/daughters, and out of pity, they would be able to finish primary education.8
Evidence for the Defense
Accused Moises Caoile knew [AAA] because they were neighbors. [AAA] was, in fact, a playmate of his children and a frequent visitor in their house. When accused and [AAA] became familiar with one another, the latter would go to the former’s house even when the children were not there, and they would [talk] and [tease] each other.
In the year 2005, the wife of the accused worked at the town proper of Rosario, La Union. The wife would leave early in the morning, and returned home late at night. More often than not, the accused was left alone in the house since all his children were attending school. It was during his so called alone moments that the accused courted [AAA]. He gave her money, chocolates or candies. Time came when [AAA] would stay at the accused’[s] house, from Monday to Sunday, with or without the children. Soon thereafter, accused and [AAA] found themselves falling in love with one other. As lovers, they had their intimate moments, and their first sexual intercourse happened on April 6, 2005 on the mountain. From then on, the accused and [AAA] repeatedly had sexual intercourse, and most of which were initiated by [AAA], especially their sexual intimacies in Agri Motel, Pangasinan.
During their relationship, [AAA] suggested that they [live] together as husband and wife. The accused refused because he cannot leave his family.
The accused did not know that [AAA] was a demented person since she acted like a normal individual. In fact, she went to a regular school and she finished her elementary education.
The accused did not force himself [on] [AAA]. [AAA] knew that he is a married man, but she, nonetheless, loved him without reservation.
The defense moved that it be allowed to have [AAA] be evaluated by a psychiatrist of its own choice. As prayed for the defense, [AAA] was evaluated by Dr. Lowell A. Rebucal of the Department of Psychiatry, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center. In his Psychiatric Evaluation Report, Dr. Rebucal concluded that [AAA] is suffering from Mild Mental Retardation.9nadcralavvonlinelawlibrary
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows, to wit:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
- In FC Case No. A-496, accused Moises Caoile is hereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape defined and penalized under Article 266-A, paragraph 1(d) and Article 266-B of Republic Act No. 8353, and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
- In FC Case No. A-497, accused Moises Caoile is hereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape defined and penalized under Article 266-A, paragraph 1(d) and Article 266-B of Republic Act No. 8353, and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
- The accused is further ordered to indemnify the private complainant the amounts of P50,000.00 for each count of rape as compensatory damages and P50,000.00 for each count of rape as moral damages.10
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Joint Decision dated May 6, 2009 of the Regional Trial Court (“RTC”), First Judicial Region, Branch 32, Agoo, La Union, in Family Court Case Nos. A-496 and A-497, entitled “People of the Philippines, Plaintiff, versus Moises Caoile, Accused,” finding appellant Moises Caoile guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two (2) counts of rape is AFFIRMED with modification in that aside from civil indemnity and moral damages, appellant Moises Caoile is ORDERED to indemnify [AAA] exemplary damages amounting to P30,000.00 for each count of rape.11 (Citation omitted.)
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF TWO COUNTS OF RAPE.14
Article 266-A. Rape; When and How Committed. - Rape is committed:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
1) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
x x x x
b. When the offended party is deprived of reason or is otherwise unconscious;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
x x x x
d) When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present. (Emphasis supplied.)
Article 266-B. Penalties. - Rape under paragraph 1 of the next preceding article shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.
For [a] complaint or information to be sufficient, it must state the name of the accused; the designation of the offense given by the statute; the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense; the name of the offended party; the approximate time of the commission of the offense, and the place wherein the offense was committed. What is controlling is not the title of the complaint, nor the designation of the offense charged or the particular law or part thereof allegedly violated, these being mere conclusions of law made by the prosecutor, but the description of the crime charged and the particular facts therein recited. The acts or omissions complained of must be alleged in such form as is sufficient to enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is intended to be charged, and enable the court to pronounce proper judgment. No information for a crime will be sufficient if it does not accurately and clearly allege the elements of the crime charged. Every element of the offense must be stated in the information. What facts and circumstances are necessary to be included therein must be determined by reference to the definitions and essentials of the specified crimes. The requirement of alleging the elements of a crime in the information is to inform the accused of the nature of the accusation against him so as to enable him to suitably prepare his defense. The presumption is that the accused has no independent knowledge of the facts that constitute the offense.
It bears emphasis that the competence and credibility of mentally deficient rape victims as witnesses have been upheld by this Court where it is shown that they can communicate their ordeal capably and consistently. Rather than undermine the gravity of the complainant’s accusations, it even lends greater credence to her testimony, that, someone as feeble-minded and guileless could speak so tenaciously and explicitly on the details of the rape if she has not in fact suffered such crime at the hands of the accused. Moreover, it is settled that when a woman says she has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that she has been raped and her testimony alone is sufficient if it satisfies the exacting standard of credibility needed to convict the accused. (Citations omitted.)
People v. Cartuano applies only to cases where there is a dearth of medical records to sustain a finding of mental retardation. Indeed, the Court has clarified so in People v. Delos Santos, declaring that the records in People v. Cartuano were wanting in clinical, laboratory, and psychometric support to sustain a finding that the victim had been suffering from mental retardation. It is noted that in People v. Delos Santos, the Court upheld the finding that the victim had been mentally retarded by an examining psychiatrist who had been able to identify the tests administered to the victim and to sufficiently explain the results of the tests to the trial court.27 (Citations omitted.)
It is well settled that the evaluation of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies is a matter best undertaken by the trial court because of its unique opportunity to observe the witnesses firsthand and to note their demeanor, conduct, and attitude under grilling examination. These are important in determining the truthfulness of witnesses and in unearthing the truth, especially in the face of conflicting testimonies. For, indeed, the emphasis, gesture, and inflection of the voice are potent aids in ascertaining the witness’ credibility, and the trial court has the opportunity and can take advantage of these aids. These cannot be incorporated in the record so that all that the appellate court can see are the cold words of the witness contained in transcript of testimonies with the risk that some of what the witness actually said may have been lost in the process of transcribing. As correctly stated by an American court, “There is an inherent impossibility of determining with any degree of accuracy what credit is justly due to a witness from merely reading the words spoken by him, even if there were no doubt as to the identity of the words. However artful a corrupt witness may be, there is generally, under the pressure of a skillful cross-examination, something in his manner or bearing on the stand that betrays him, and thereby destroys the force of his testimony. Many of the real tests of truth by which the artful witness is exposed in the very nature of things cannot be transcribed upon the record, and hence they can never be considered by the appellate court.”
In rape committed by means of duress, the victim’s will is nullified or destroyed. Hence, the necessity of proving real and constant resistance on the part of the woman to establish that the act was committed against her will. On the other hand, in the rape of a woman deprived of reason or unconscious, the victim has no will. The absence of will determines the existence of the rape. Such lack of will may exist not only when the victim is unconscious or totally deprived of reason, but also when she is suffering some mental deficiency impairing her reason or free will. In that case, it is not necessary that she should offer real opposition or constant resistance to the sexual intercourse. Carnal knowledge of a woman so weak in intellect as to be incapable of legal consent constitutes rape. Where the offended woman was feeble-minded, sickly and almost an idiot, sexual intercourse with her is rape. Her failure to offer resistance to the act did not mean consent for she was incapable of giving any rational consent.
The deprivation of reason need not be complete. Mental abnormality or deficiency is enough. Cohabitation with a feebleminded, idiotic woman is rape. Sexual intercourse with an insane woman was considered rape. But a deafmute is not necessarily deprived of reason. This circumstances must be proven. Intercourse with a deafmute is not rape of a woman deprived of reason, in the absence of proof that she is an imbecile. Viada says that the rape under par. 2 may be committed when the offended woman is deprived of reason due to any cause such as when she is asleep, or due to lethargy produced by sickness or narcotics administered to her by the accused. x x x.
The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the following aggravating/qualifying circumstances:cralavvonlinelawlibraryx x x x
10) When the offender knew of the mental disability, emotional disorder and/or physical handicap of the offended party at the time of the commission of the crime.
1Rollo, pp. 2-20; penned by Associate Justice Socorro B. Inting with Associate Justices Fernanda Lampas Peralta and Mario V. Lopez, concurring.cralawlibrary
2 CA rollo, pp. 14-19; penned by Presiding Judge Jennifer A. Pilar.cralawlibrary
3 Under Republic Act No. 9262 also known as “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004” and its implementing rules, the real name of the victim and those of her immediate family members are withheld and fictitious initials are instead used to protect the victim’s privacy.cralawlibrary
4 Records, FC Case No. A-496, p. 61.cralawlibrary
5 Records, FC Case No. A-497, p. 54.cralawlibrary
6 Records, FC Case No. A-496, p. 63.cralawlibrary
7 Id. at 67-68.cralawlibrary
8 CA rollo, pp. 15-16.cralawlibrary
9 Id. at 17.cralawlibrary
10 Id. at 18-19.cralawlibrary
11Rollo, p. 19.cralawlibrary
12 Id. at 21-23.cralawlibrary
13 Id. at 39-42.cralawlibrary
14 CA rollo, p. 43.cralawlibrary
15 Id. at 54-57.cralawlibrary
16 People v. Monticalvo, G.R. No. 193507, January 30, 2013.cralawlibrary
17 Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (1993).cralawlibrary
18 People v. Burgos, 201 Phil. 353, 360 (1982).cralawlibrary
19People v. Monticalvo, supra note 16.cralawlibrary
20 CONSTITUTION, Article III, Section 14(2).cralawlibrary
21 G.R. No. 175602, January 18, 2012, 663 SCRA 272, 287, citing People v. Dimaano, 506 Phil. 630, 649-650 (2005).cralawlibrary
22 G.R. No. 186533, August 9, 2010, 627 SCRA 452, 471.cralawlibrary
23 CA rollo, p. 57.cralawlibrary
24 Records, FC Case No. A-496, pp. 220, 225.cralawlibrary
25 325 Phil. 718 (1996).cralawlibrary
26 CA rollo, p. 55.cralawlibrary
27 People v. Butiong, G.R. No. 168932, October 19, 2011, 659 SCRA 557, 575.cralawlibrary
29People v. Escultor, 473 Phil. 717, 730 (2004).cralawlibrary
30 G.R. No. 178485, September 4, 2009, 598 SCRA 416, 425-426.cralawlibrary
31 People v. Magabo, 402 Phil. 977, 983-984 (2001).cralawlibrary
32 Supra note 27 at 569; citing III Ramon Aquino, The Revised Penal Code (1997 Ed.), pp. 410-411.cralawlibrary
33 Although under Republic Act No. 7659 (The Death Penalty Law), the crime of qualified rape is punishable by death, Republic Act No. 9346 (An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of the Death Penalty in the Philippines), which took effect on June 24, 2006, prohibits the imposition of the death penalty. Under this Act, the proper penalty to be imposed in lieu of the death penalty is reclusion perpetua (Section 2) without eligibility for parole (Section 3).cralawlibrary
34Sison v. People, G.R No. 187229, February 22, 2012, 666 SCRA 645, 667.