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G.R. No. 201103, September 25, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JIMMY CEDENIO Y PERALTA, Accused-Appellant.

G.R. No. 201103, September 25, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JIMMY CEDENIO Y PERALTA, Accused-Appellant.

PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 201103, September 25, 2013

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JIMMY CEDENIO Y PERALTA, Accused-Appellant.

RESOLUTION

REYES, J.:

Appealed in this case is the Decision1 dated July 29, 2011 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 04220, affirming with modification the Decision2 dated September 21, 2009 rendered by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasay City, Branch 119, in Criminal Case No. 04-2742 for Rape. The dispositive portion of the CA’s Decision provides:chanrobles virtua1aw 1ibrary
FOR THE STATED REASONS, the assailed RTC Decision convicting accused-appellant Jimmy Cedenio of the crime of rape is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that, in addition to the award of [P]50,000.00 as civil indemnity, he is ORDERED to pay [AAA]3 the amount of [P]50,000.00 as moral damages.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

SO ORDERED.4
The evidence for the prosecution established the following: Twenty one (21)-year old AAA and accused-appellant Jimmy Cedenio (Cedenio) rented separate rooms on the same floor of a building in Pasay City. AAA lives with her boyfriend BBB and two (2) other persons, while Cedenio lives with his family. They all use a common bathroom. At around 9:30 a.m. of October 20, 2004, after her roommates left for work, AAA went back inside the room after taking a bath. She noticed that the light inside the room was on. Upon entering the room, Cedenio, from behind the door, placed his arm around her and poked a fan knife at her side. She pleaded for him not to kill or rape her but he told her that he only wanted to talk. Cedenio, however, then told her to lie down on the foam spread on the floor, and grabbed the towel wrapped around her. She pleaded with him to spare her and told him that she was having her period, to no avail. After Cedenio was able to have sex with AAA, he threatened to kill her if she tells anybody about it. With Cedenio still inside the room, AAA hurriedly dressed up and left. She went to Baclaran Mall where BBB was working and related her ordeal to him. They immediately went to the barangay hall to report the incident. While there, AAA saw Cedenio in the vicinity and told BBB who immediately ran after Cedenio. BBB was joined by barangay tanods and Cedenio was eventually collared. At that point, PO3 Herman Abanilla, who was on board a tricycle, saw the fracas, arrested Cedenio and brought him to the police headquarters.5cralaw virtualaw library

Cedenio denied the accusation against him and set up the defense of alibi. He claimed that he was out selling cigarettes and candies in Pasay Rotunda at the time of the incident. He went back home at around 10:30 a.m. to put down his goods and thereafter fetched his children from school. He was near the barangay hall in the afternoon to buy food when the tanods approached him and, after confirming his identity, arrested him.6cralaw virtualaw library

Both the RTC and the CA gave more weight and credit to the prosecution’s version of the incident and did not heed Cedenio’s alibi. Both courts did not find any reason to disbelieve AAA’s testimony and ruled that Cedenio failed to establish any ill-motive on AAA’s part for her to maliciously implicate him. The CA further disregarded Cedenio’s claim that AAA’s lack of physical resistance is contrary to common human behavior, ruling that AAA was at knife point at that instance and there is no uniform reaction from rape victims.7 The CA thus affirmed Cedenio’s conviction for Rape, the imposition of reclusion perpetua as penalty and the award of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity. The CA also awarded moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00.8cralaw virtualaw library

Upon review, the Court does not find any reason to overturn Cedenio’s conviction of the crime of Rape.

Under Article 266-A(1)(a) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, rape is committed when: (1) the offender had carnal knowledge of a woman; and (b) that the same was committed by using force and intimidation.9 In this case, the prosecution’s evidence established that Cedenio was able to forcibly have carnal knowledge of AAA on October 20, 2004 after he poked her with a knife and threatened to kill her. The Court, like the CA, cannot sustain Cedenio’s claim that AAA’s lack of physical resistance is not a normal behavior in such cases. “Physical resistance need not be established in rape cases when intimidation is exercised upon the victim who submits against her will because of fear for her life and personal safety.”10 If a knife on one’s side is not a sufficient source and cause of fear, then what is?

Moreover, Cedenio’s defense of alibi is an inherently weak defense that is easy to fabricate.11 Cedenio failed to present clear and convincing evidence that he was in a place other than the situs criminis at the time the crime was committed, such that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime when it was committed.12 The CA noted that Cedenio’s job gave him mobility and it was easy for him to go home and commit the crime; thus, his alibi cannot prosper.13cralaw virtualaw library

The CA also correctly affirmed the imposition of reclusion perpetua as penalty.14 The same should be imposed without eligibility for parole.15cralaw virtualaw library

As to the civil liability, both the RTC and the CA ordered Cedenio to pay AAA P50,000.00 as civil indemnity. The CA further awarded P50,000.00 as moral damages. Civil indemnity is mandatory upon the finding of the fact of rape, while moral damages are proper without need of proof other than the fact of rape by virtue of the undeniable moral suffering of AAA due to the rape.16 The amounts awarded are all in accord with prevailing jurisprudence.17cralaw virtualaw library

The Court, however, further awards exemplary damages in the amount of P30,000.00. The award of exemplary damages is justified under Article 2229 of the Civil Code to set a public example or correction for the public good.18 In addition, interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum shall be imposed on all the damages awarded, to earn from the date of the finality of the Court’s resolution until fully paid.19cralaw virtualaw library

WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby DISMISSED. The Decision dated July 29, 2011 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 04220 is AFFIRMED, with modifications that exemplary damages in the amount of THIRTY THOUSAND PESOS (P30,000.00) be awarded and that the penalty of reclusion perpetua imposed on accused-appellant Jimmy Cedenio shall be without eligibility for parole. Moreover, the damages awarded in this case shall earn an interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum from the date of the finality of this Resolution until fully paid.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

SO ORDERED.

Sereno, C.J., (Chairperson), Leonardo-De Castro, Perlas-Bernabe,* and Leonen,**JJ., concur.

Endnotes:


* Acting member per Special Order No. 1537 (Revised) dated September 6, 2013.cralawnad

** Acting member per Special Order No. 1545 (Revised) dated September 16, 2013.cralawnad

1 Penned by Associate Justice Mario V. Lopez, with Associate Justices Magdangal M. De Leon and Socorro B. Inting, concurring; CA rollo, pp. 116-128.cralawnad

2 Issued by Judge Pedro De Leon Gutierrez; id. at 25-34.cralawnad

3 The name of the victim, her personal circumstances and other information which tend to establish or compromise her identity shall not be disclosed to protect her privacy and fictitious initials shall, instead, be used, in accordance with People v. Cabalquinto, 533 Phil. 703 (2006), and A.M. No. 04-11-09-SC dated September 19, 2006.cralawnad

4 CA rollo, p. 127.cralawnad

5 Id. at 26-27, 117-118.cralawnad

6 Id. at 89, 119.cralawnad

7 Id. at 125.cralawnad

8 Id. at 127.cralawnad

9People v. Malana, G.R. No. 185716, September 29, 2010, 631 SCRA 676, 685.cralawnad

10People v. Aguilar, G.R. No. 185206, August 25, 2010, 629 SCRA 437, 449.cralawnad

11People v. Arpon, G.R. No. 183563, December 14, 2011, 662 SCRA 506, 529.cralawnad

12 Id.cralawnad

13 CA rollo, p. 125.cralawnad

14 REVISED PENAL CODE, as amended, Article 266-A.cralawnad

15 Section 3 of Republic Act No. 9346 (An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines) provides that “[p]ersons convicted of offenses punished with reclusion perpetua, or whose sentences will be reduced to reclusion perpetua, by reason of this Act, shall not be eligible for parole under Act No. 4103, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended.” See also People v. Subesa, G.R. No. 193660, November 16, 2011, 660 SCRA 390, 403, citing People v. Ortiz, G.R. No. 179944, September 4, 2009, 598 SCRA 452, 457; People v. Bulagao, G.R. No. 184757, October 5, 2011, 658 SCRA 746, 761.cralawnad

16People v. Arcillas, G.R. No. 181491, July 30, 2012, 677 SCRA 624, 637.cralawnad

17 Section 3 of Republic Act No. 9346 entitled “An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines”; People v. Tejero, G.R. No. 187744, June 20, 2012, 674 SCRA 244, 260.cralawnad

18People v. Delabajan, G.R. No. 192180, March 21, 2012, 668 SCRA 859, 868.cralawnad

19People of the Philippines v. Rolando Cabungan, G.R. No. 189355, January 23, 2013.
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