G.R. No. 199494, November 27, 2013
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. WELMO LINSIE Y BINEVIDEZ, Accused-Appellant.
D E C I S I O N
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
That on or about the 14th day of December, 2005, in the City of Parañaque, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed with a knife, by means of force, threat and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with the complainant [AAA4], against her will and without her consent.
[AAA] testified that she resides with her common law husband, [BBB], and brother [CCC], for almost a year already at x x x, Brgy. Moonwalk, Parañaque City. The three of them work at Kingsmen Tailoring, located at x x x, Brgy. Moonwalk, Parañaque City from 7 in the morning till 6 in the evening. She has known [appellant] for a very long time because he is a “kababayan” from Bicol. On December 14, 2005, she did not report for work because she had a headache and high fever. She only stayed at home. At around 11:00 in the morning, while resting, she heard someone knocking on the door. Thinking it was her husband, she opened the door, but, instead, she saw [appellant]. [Appellant] asked her if Edna was there to which she answered no. Knowing that she was alone, [appellant] pushed and closed the door, drew a knife which is about 6 to 8 inches long with a wood handle and pointed it to the center of her neck. [Appellant] covered her mouth with his left hand. She fought back but [appellant] punched her on the stomach. With the knife pointed at her, [appellant] asked her to undress. Fearing that [appellant] might kill her, she undressed and took off her shirt and then her bra. [Appellant] also took off his clothes with his one hand while the other hand was holding the knife which was still pointed at her. [Appellant] started kissing her neck for which she objected to by repeatedly slapping him even though she was using her hands in covering her chest. This made [appellant] mad and pressed the knife harder into her neck. She tried resisting the acts of [appellant] but he held her hair tighter. [Appellant] then removed her panty and inserted his penis into her “pepe”. [Appellant] got naked ahead of her. They were already near her room when [appellant] was able to go on top of her. [Appellant] was able to sandwich her legs with his legs and succeeded in raping her. She did everything to resist [appellant]. She kicked [appellant] and made some noise. She was not able to shout since the knife was still pointed at her. After raping her, [appellant] threatened to kill her and told her not to tell her common law husband about what happened. Accused put on his clothes and left. After crying, she dressed up and sat on their bed. Her common law husband arrived at around noon, but she did not tell him what happened, fearing that his feeling might change towards her upon learning about it. Both of them ate lunch afterwards. Because she could no longer hide from her husband what happened, she told him about it the following day (December 16). They both went to the barangay and had the incident blottered. In response to her complaint, the barangay people accompanied her to the work place of [appellant] but the latter was not there so they just waited for him at his house. She was able to have a medical check up only on December 17, 2005. She executed a Sworn Statement (Exhibit A), narrating what [appellant] did to her.
Faltiquera was no longer placed [o]n the witness stand because the matters that she would testify on were already stipulated by the defense, thus, that: 1.) she is a neighbor of the complaining witness; 2.) at the time of the incident, she was in her house; and 3.) she heard a commotion from the house of the complaining witness.
With respect to Barangay Tanods Roberto Sagun and Oroya, their presence was likewise dispensed with. The defense merely admitted that; [appellant] voluntarily surrendered to them and that they had the case referred to the women’s desk of Parañaque Police Station. The defense also admitted the due execution and genuineness of the Medical Certificate that Dr. Zaldua issued on December 17, 2005. With that admission, the prosecution dispensed with the presentation of Dr. Zaldua.
In the Order of this Court dated April 20, 2009, prosecution’s Exhibits “A” to “C” were admitted against the objection of [appellant] as part of the testimony of its witnesses.
Defense presented as witnesses, Allan Talinghale and [appellant] himself.
Talinghale testified that on December 14, 2005, he saw [appellant] mixing cement for the construction of the house of a certain Aling Gigi. The house being constructed was in front of his store, located at Annex 35, Block 44, Cleopaz St., Betterliving Subdivision, Parañaque City, with a distance of more or less 6 to 7 meters. Between 11 and 11:30 in the morning, [appellant] went to his store and bought ice and 2 sticks of Hope cigarettes. He asked [appellant’s] name and the latter said “Welmo”. [Appellant] paid him P50.00. He gave P46.00 to [appellant] as his change. Thereafter, [appellant] went back to work at around 11:20 in the morning. He saw [appellant] place the ice in the pitcher.
[Appellant] had 2 companions, Mang Jhun and Philip. He was able to see [appellant] the whole time as there was no obstruction in front of him. [Appellant] continued mixing cement and handed it to those working on the top floor of the house. [Appellant] never left his place of work and went back to his store at around 5:10 in the afternoon to buy candy. The following day, he learned from Aling Gigi that [appellant] was accused of raping someone.
[Appellant] testified that he does not know of any reason [AAA] is accusing him of rape. He denied that on December 14, 2005 at around 11:00 o’clock in the morning, armed with a knife, he raped [AAA]. He had known [AAA] for only less than a week. On December 14, 2005, he left his house at around 6 o’clock in the morning and along with a certain Kuya Jun, boarded a tricycle and went to Annex 35 where he was working as a construction worker in the house of Aling Gigi. As a construction worker, he mixes the cement and as an assistant mason “tagadala ng mga halo at kung ano pang kailangan ng mason”. He started working at 8 o’clock in the morning and had his break time at around 11 o’clock in the morning. He then went to the store of Kuya Allan which is located in front of the construction site. He then took his lunch and waited for their work to resume. His work for the day ended at around 5 o’clock in the afternoon. After resting for a while and cleaning his body, he dressed up and boarded a tricycle to go home. He arrived at his house at 6 o’clock in the evening. He learned that someone was accusing him of rape only on December 16, 2005 from Ate Baby. He asked her to accompany him to the Barangay Hall of Moonwalk to inquire about the case filed against him by [AAA]. He asked the barangay tanods to call [AAA]. When [AAA] arrived, he talked to her and asked her why she was accusing him of such crime when all the time she said she was raped, he was at work and would be impossible for him to do so. [AAA] insisted that he was the one who raped her. He was then brought to the police precinct at Coastal. He was not informed of his constitutional rights to remain silent and to have counsel of his own choice. Immediately, he was detained. After four days of detention, he was brought to the City Hall but was not informed of the reason why he was there.6
WHEREFORE, this Court finds accused WELMO LINSIE Y BINEVIDEZ, GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT of the crime of Rape under Art. 266-A, 1st paragraph in relation to Art. 266-B 2nd paragraph of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by RA 8353 and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua without the eligibility of Parole, which carries with it the accessory penalties of civil interdiction for life or during the period of the sentence as the case may be, and that of perpetual absolute disqualification which the offender shall suffer even though pardoned as to principal penalty, unless the same shall have been expressly remitted in the pardon.
Accused is likewise ordered to pay private complainant the amounts of Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos, as indemnity ex delicto, Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos as moral damages, Twenty[-]Five Thousand (P25,000.00) Pesos as exemplary damages.7
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the 27 January 2010 decision of the Regional Trial Court of Parañaque City (Branch 195) in Criminal Case No. 06-005 finding accused-appellant Welmo Binevidez Linsie guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and directing him to indemnify private complainant P50,000.00 as civil indemnity ex delicto, another P50,000.00 as moral damages and P25,000.00 as exemplary damages is AFFIRMED.8
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT FOR THE CRIME OF RAPE DESPITE THE PROSECUTION’S FAILURE TO PROVE HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY BASED SOLELY ON THE INCREDIBLE AND UNCORROBORATED TESTIMONY OF THE PRIVATE COMPLAINANT.9
Art. 266-A. Rape, When and How Committed. – Rape is committed –
- By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:
- Through force, threat or intimidation;
- When the offended party is deprived of reason or is otherwise unconscious;
- By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority;
- When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present.
x x x
Art. 266-B. Penalties. – Rape under paragraph 1 of the next preceding article shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.
Whenever the rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death. (Emphases supplied.)
[F]actual findings of the trial court, especially when affirmed by the Court of Appeals, are “entitled to great weight and respect, if not conclusiveness, for we accept that the trial court was in the best position as the original trier of the facts in whose direct presence and under whose keen observation the witnesses rendered their respective versions of the events that made up the occurrences constituting the ingredients of the offenses charged. The direct appreciation of testimonial demeanor during examination, veracity, sincerity and candor was foremost the trial court’s domain, not that of a reviewing court that had no similar access to the witnesses at the time they testified.” (Citation omitted.)
[B]oth denial and alibi are inherently weak defenses which cannot prevail over the positive and credible testimony of the prosecution witness that the accused committed the crime. Thus, as between a categorical testimony which has a ring of truth on one hand, and a mere denial and alibi on the other, the former is generally held to prevail. Moreover, for the defense of alibi to prosper, the appellant must prove that he was somewhere else when the offense was committed and that he was so far away that it was not possible for him to have been physically present at the place of the crime or at its immediate vicinity at the time of its commission. x x x. (Citations omitted.)
[Appellant’s] testimony that he was at the construction site from 8 in the morning till 5 in the afternoon on the date in question (December 14, 2005) is not worthy of belief considering that aside from his self-serving testimony, no other clear and convincing evidence was presented to substantiate the same. When asked by this Court if his employer keeps a logbook or a record of the time in and time out of the workers (page 44. TSN dated May 26, 2008), he answered in the affirmative. However, no logbook or record was presented by him. Neither was [his] alleged employer, Aling Gigi, nor any of his co-workers, was presented to corroborate his testimony that he was indeed at the construction site on the date and time in question.
Instead of presenting Aling Gigi or any of his co-workers, defense presented Talinghale whose testimony can hardly be given credence. Admittedly, Talinghale, on the date and time in question was, tending his store which is 6 to 7 meters away from the construction site. It is, therefore, impossible for him to be attending to his customers or answering the call of nature and at the same time watching [appellant]. What is very possible under this situation, is for [appellant] to leave the construction site, granting for the sake of argument that he was really there, without Talinghale noticing him. Most importantly, it is not physically impossible for [appellant] to be in the house of [AAA] at one time and to be in his work place on another time simply because the house of [AAA] is very near the construction site. It would take [appellant] only two (2) tricycle rides to reach [AAA]’s house, located at x x x, Bgy. Moonwalk, Parañaque City. As testified to by [appellant] himself, he took his break at 11 in the morning, the time that [AAA] said she was raped. x x x.20
1Rollo, pp. 2-14; penned by Associate Justice Marlene Gonzales-Sison with Associate Justices Noel J. Tijam and Leoncia R. Dimagiba, concurring.
2 CA rollo, pp. 18-23.
3 Records, p. 1.
4 In line with jurisprudence, the real name of the victim-survivor is withheld and fictitious initials are used to represent her. Likewise, the personal circumstances of the victims-survivors or any other information tending to establish or compromise their identities, as well as those of their immediate families or household members, are not disclosed. (See People v. Cabalquinto, 533 Phil. 703 .)
5 Records, p. 15.
6 CA rollo, pp. 18-20.
7 Id. at 22.
8Rollo, p. 13.
9 CA rollo, p. 74.
10Rollo, pp. 37-44.
11 People v. Buado, Jr., G.R. No. 170634, January 8, 2013, 688 SCRA 82, 95.
12People v. Penilla, G.R. No. 189324, March 20, 2013, 694 SCRA 141, 149.
13 G.R. No. 189280, April 17, 2013.
14 TSN, May 29, 2006, pp. 34-35.
15People v. Monticalvo, G.R. No. 193507, January 30, 2013, 689 SCRA 715, 734-735.
16People v. Veloso, G.R. No. 188849, February 13, 2013, 690 SCRA 586, 598.
17People v. Basallo, G.R. No. 182457, January 30, 2013, 689 SCRA 616, 641.
18People v. Buado, Jr., supra note 11 at 103.
19 G.R. No. 200329, June 5, 2013.
20 CA rollo, pp. 30-31.
21 People v. Atadero, G.R. No. 183455, October 20, 2010, 634 SCRA 327, 345.
22 People v. Toriaga, G.R. No. 177145, February 9, 2011, 642 SCRA 515, 522.
23People v. Cabungan, G.R. No. 189355, January 23, 2013, 689 SCRA 236, 248-249.