G.R. No. 194234, June 18, 2014
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JAYSON CRUZ Y TECSON, Accused-Appellant.
D E C I S I O N
In an information filed on June 11, 2003, Cruz was charged with the crime of Rape under Article 266-A in relation to Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code committed as follows:“That on or about the 26th day of May, 2003 in Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused by means of force and intimidation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have sexual intercourse with AAA, a minor, 15 years of age, inside the room of said accused at No. 118 Villareal St., Brgy. Gulod, Novaliches, this City, against her will and without her consent.[?]Upon his arraignment on July 30, 2003, Cruz, with the assistance of a counsel, pleaded not guilty to the offense with which he was charged. x x x.
“CONTRARY TO LAW.”
During the trial, the prosecution presented the testimonies of the three witness[es], namely: the private offended party AAA, Arturo M. Reyes, a BSDO at Gulod, Novaliches, Quezon City and P/Chief Inspector Mary Ann Gajardo, the Medico Legal Officer of the PNP Crime Laboratory. The prosecution’s evidence proved the following facts:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
On May 26, 2003 at around 9:00 o’clock in the evening, AAA was at her home when Cruz called her through her father’s cellphone and asked her to go over the latter’s place. Both were residing in the same street known as Villareal Street, located at Gulod, Novaliches, Quezon City. She was able to get the permission of her mother and went straight to the house of Cruz. Upon her arrival at his house, she knocked at the door and Cruz let her enter inside the sala where the latter’s friends were drinking. By that moment she entered the house, Cruz’s friends went out and she was left alone with Cruz. She talked with Cruz and later she was forced to get inside the [sic] his bedroom which was only covered by curtains. Cruz held her right arm and pulled her into the bedroom despite AAA’s struggle to get free of herself. AAA asked Cruz what he wanted to do with her but the latter did not answer and kept on pulling her until they were inside the bedroom. Once they were inside, Cruz pushed her to the bed and AAA’s head bumped on the wall which made her feel dizzy and weak. Cruz then removed his T-shirt and went on top of her. She tried to push him but Cruz remained on top of her and managed to remove her shorts and panties by pinning her legs with his knees. After that, Cruz removed his shorts and spread open AAA’s legs using his two hands. She pleaded him not to pursue with his intentions but Cruz ignored her plea and, while on top of her, he inserted his penis into AAA’s vagina and moved forward in a pumping motion. While Cruz was doing this, AAA was crying because of the pain but still she was ignored by him. After a while, Cruz removed his penis and put it on her right leg and he ejaculated there. Thereafter, he handed AAA her shorts and panties. Cruz went outside the house and left the main door locked so she was not able to open the door and get out of the house. What she did was to shout for help but nobody answered her. She just remained inside the bedroom where she fell asleep and, when she woke up the next day, Cruz was beside her. She was told that her sister was looking for her and, despite her plea to go home, she was still ignored and locked up inside the house. She could see persons outside the house but her call for help was still ignored by them. She stayed there for the entire day and waited until she had the chance to get out of the house. It happened when Cruz went to the comfort room and the door was left open so AAA was able to escape and run outside. She went directly to her house where she was met by her mother. AAA did not immediately reveal to her mother what had happened to her and, instead, asked her mother to stay with her elder sister. After she divulged to her sister what had happened, they returned to their house and the whole incident was confessed to their mother. They sought the help of the BSDO in their barangay and immediately reported to the Police Station-4 for investigation as well as to file a complaint against Cruz. AAA was examined by P/Chief Inspector Mary Ann Gajardo, who made the findings that there was a deep-healed laceration at 4:00 and 9:00 o’ clock positions. She concluded that the subject of the examination was in a non-virgin state physically.
Cruz, to exculpate himself from criminal liability, interposed the defense of alibi and denial. Cruz’s version of the facts can be summed up as follows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
AAA was his girlfriend since August 10, 2002 who used to send him letters dated April 8, 2003 and October 10, 2002. About 9:00 o’clock in the evening of March 26, 2003, he was having a conversation with his friends when he heard a knock on his door. When he opened it, he saw AAA and the latter asked him to elope with him. When he disagreed with what she wanted, AAA told him that she would tell her mother that he raped her. Cruz replied that she could say that to her mother but there was no truth about it. Thereafter, AAA left his house at around 10:00 o’ clock. Cruz was then invited to the barangay hall where he was informed that he was charged with rape.
Rodrigo Francisco testified that, during the night of March 26, 2003, he was outside the house of Cruz and was chatting with a friend. He recalled that AAA arrived and knocked at the door of Cruz’s house. It was Cruz who opened the door and talked to AAA. Rodrigo overheard that AAA was asking Cruz to elope with her but the latter did not agree. He noticed that AAA got angry and threatened that she would report to her parents.
Another witness for the defense, Christopher Ray Idago, testified that he remembered AAA arrived at the house of Cruz at about 9:00 o’clock in the evening of March 26, 2003. He was able to hear the conversation of Cruz and AAA which was about the latter’s protest against Cruz’s departure to work. AAA did not allow Cruz to leave her but he insisted otherwise. Christopher also overheard that AAA wanted to elope with Cruz. After the conversation was done, Cruz returned to his friends and without anything else that happened, AAA left the house.4 (Citations omitted)
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused Jayson Cruz Y Tecson GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA and to indemnify the offended party [AAA] the sum of [P]50,000.00, to pay moral damages in the sum of [P]20,000.00 and to pay the cost.
The accused, if qualified, shall be credited the full time period of his detention in accordance with law.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the assailed decision rendered on August 21, 2007 by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 94, in Quezon City, finding Jayson Cruz guilty of the crime of rape is hereby AFFIRMED by us with the MODIFICATION that the amount of moral damages be increased to [P]50,000.00.
FINDINGS:PHYSICAL INJURIES: No external signs of application of any form of physical trauma
GENITALIA: HYMEN: Presence of deep healed lacerations at 4 and 9 o’clock position
CONCLUSION:The subject is in non-virgin state physically.
There are no external signs of application of any form of physical trauma.21 (Emphasis ours)
Q: And when you examined the subject and found this presence of deep healed lacerations, that was on June 8? A: Yes sir. Q: And these deep healed lacerations you found must have been about ninety days or one hundred days old? A: Well, I cannot totally denote the exact time of infliction, sir. Q: But will you tell the Honorable Court if it was one day old? A: We will see actually if it is a one day old laceration if it is fresh laceration produced, if it is one day old. x x x x Q: Now these deep healed lacerations that you found on the subject, will you kindly tell the Honorable Court whether it is possible that it had been there for at least ninety days? x x x x WITNESS: Well, your honor, when we say deep healed laceration, it can be inflicted weeks, months or even years prior to the examination. x x x x COUNSEL: x x x In your study of wounds, you have the fresh wound, the healed wound and the too healed, very healed wound? x x x x COUNSEL: In what category will this fall? WITNESS: Well, as noted in my report, it is a deep healed laceration meaning… Q: This is more than a month old? A: Actually, I cannot note if it is a month old.22 (Emphasis ours)
FISCAL: Can you tell us Mr. Witness when did [AAA] become your girlfriend? WITNESS: November 10, 2003, ma’am. x x x x FISCAL: How did you court her? Did you go to their house? WITNESS: Sometimes, ma’am, [sic] when we see each other outside. x x x x FISCAL: Do you know a letter dated October 10, 2002, Mr. Witness, which was marked as Exhibit “2” for the defense? WITNESS: Yes, ma’am. x x x x FISCAL: Were you already girlfriend and boyfriend were [sic] [AAA] when you received this letter marked as Exhibit “2”? WITNESS: Yes, ma’am. FISCAL:
Is it not, Mr. Witness, that you said awhile ago, you testified a few minutes ago that you became girlfriend and boyfriend with [AAA] on November 10, 2002?
WITNESS: Yes, ma’am. FISCAL:
The said letter, Exhibit “2”, Mr. Witness, is dated October 10, 2002, and you said [AAA] was your girlfriend at the time?
WITNESS: Yes, ma’am. FISCAL: And so, which is which now, Mr. Witness? I am confused. You are giving us two dates, October 10, 2002 or November 10, 2002? WITNESS: “Isipin ko muna, nakalimutan ko rin po sobrang tagal ko na sa kulungan.” August, 2002, ma’am. FISCAL: And you are giving us another date, Mr. Witness? WITNESS: Yes, ma’am, “medyo nakalimutan ko na rin po sobrang tagal ko sa kulunga[n].” FISCAL: So, there are three (3) dates, August 10, October 10 and November 10, Mr. Witness? WITNESS: August, ma’am. x x x x FISCAL: When you [are] courting [AAA], Mr. Witness, did you visit her at home? WITNESS: I could not go to their house. COURT: But I heard him say sometimes, he said a while ago. Even when you were courting her, you went to her house sometimes? WITNESS: No, your honor. FISCAL: You testified awhile ago… COURT: When you started courting, how did you court her and then, you were asked, did you go to her house? He said sometimes. All right, continue. I will take note of that.26 (Emphasis ours)
Moreover, Cruz had conflicting statements on some details when he testified that it was AAA who went to his house and asked him to elope with her:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
FISCAL: And how many minutes did you talk with [AAA]? WITNESS: Around five (5) minutes, ma’am. FISCAL: Five (5) minutes that you talked with [AAA] and you said in your direct testimony, Mr. Witness, that [AAA] left at 10:00 o’clock in the evening? WITNESS: Yes, ma’am. x x x x FISCAL: So what is your basis now in telling us that [AAA] left at 10:00 o’clock in the evening when you only talked to her for about five (5) minutes? WITNESS: Because we quarreled and she told me to elope with her. x x x x FISCAL: And is [sic] that subject matter only lasted for about five (5) minutes, Mr. Witness? WITNESS: No, ma’am, it went on. FISCAL: For how long was the discussion? WITNESS: Until up to 10:00 o’clock in the evening, ma’am.27 (Emphasis ours)
[I]n all criminal Prosecutions, the Prosecution bears the burden to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. In discharging this burden, the Prosecution’s duty is to prove each and every element of the crime charged in the information to warrant a finding of guilt for that crime or for any other crime necessarily included therein. The Prosecution must further prove the participation of the accused in the commission of the offense. In doing all these, the Prosecution must rely on the strength of its own evidence, and not anchor its success upon the weakness of the evidence of the accused. The burden of proof placed on the Prosecution arises from the presumption of innocence in favor of the accused that no less than the Constitution has guaranteed. Conversely, as to his innocence, the accused has no burden of proof, that he must then be acquitted and set free should the Prosecution not overcome the presumption of innocence in his favor. In other words, the weakness of the defense put up by the accused is inconsequential in the proceedings for as long as the Prosecution has not discharged its burden of proof in establishing the commission of the crime charged and in identifying the accused as the malefactor responsible for it.29 (Citations omitted)
1 Penned by Associate Justice Isaias P. Dicdican, with Presiding Justice Andres B. Reyes, Jr. and Associate Justice Priscilla J. Baltazar-Padilla, concurring; CA rollo, pp. 93-110.
2 Issued by Judge Romeo F. Zamora; id. at 5-13.
3 The real name of the victim, her personal circumstances and other information which tend to establish or compromise her identity, as well as those of her immediate family or household members, shall not be disclosed to protect her privacy and fictitious initials shall, instead, be used, in accordance with People v. Cabalquinto (533 Phil. 703 ), and A.M. No. 04-11-09-SC dated September 19, 2006.
4 CA rollo, pp. 94-97.
5 Id. at 5-13.
6 Id. at 12-13.
7 Id. at 34.
8 Id. at 35.
9 Id. at 93-110.
10 Id. at 109-110.
11 Id. at 111-112.
12People v. Painitan, 402 Phil. 297, 312 (2001).
13People v. Divina, 440 Phil. 72, 78-79 (2002).
14 CA rollo, p. 99.
15 Id. at 108.
16 TSN, August 4, 2003, p. 7.
17People v. Del Mundo, 418 Phil. 740, 753 (2001).
18 TSN, August 4, 2003, p. 21.
19People v. Taguilid, G.R. No. 181544, April 11, 2012, 669 SCRA 341, 350-351.
20 Records, p. 10.
22 TSN, June 21, 2004, pp. 8-9.
23 TSN, May 4, 2004, p. 3.
24 TSN, June 21, 2004, p. 2.
25Rollo, pp. 62-63.
26 TSN, September 7, 2004, pp. 3-10.
27 Id. at 21-22 .
28 G.R. No. 164457, April 11, 2012, 669 SCRA 135.
29 Id. at 150-151.
30Yadao v. People, 534 Phil. 619, 640 (2006).
31Moster v. People, 569 Phil. 616, 628 (2008).
32 Supra note 12, at 313.