G.R. No. 209038, June 08, 2016
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. RONALD BACALAN GABUYA AND RYANNEAL MENESES GIRON, Accused-Appellants.
D E C I S I O N
DEL CASTILLO, J.:
This is an appeal from the June 20, 2013 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR. CR-H.C. No. 00441, which affirmed the January 31, 2006 Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu City, Branch 24, in Criminal Case No. CBU-62026, finding appellants Ronald Bacalan Gabuya (Gabuya) and Ryanneal Meneses Giron (Giron) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of robbery with rape defined and penalized in Article 294, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), and sentencing them to death.
Proceedings before the Regional Trial Court
Gabuya and Giron were charged with the crime of robbery with rape for robbing "AAA" by taking her personal belongings through violence and intimidation and thereafter taking turns raping her. The charge against them stemmed from the following Information:
That on or about the 18th day of March, 2002, at about 12:20 A.M., in the City of Cebu, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, armed with a knife, conniving and confederating together and mutually helping each other, poked said knife at one "AAA"3 and announced a "hold-up" with deliberate intent, with violence and intimidation upon person, took turns in divesting her bag, with its contents such as wristwatch, one casio calculator; cash money and coin purse with a total value of P2,965.00 from the possession of and belonging to said "AAA" while the latter was walking along Visitacion St., a public highway against her will, to the damage and prejudice of the latter in the amount aforestated, and on the occasion thereof, dragged said victim to a vacant lot and then there take turns in having sexual intercourse with said victim while the other accused held her shoulders, without the consent and against the will of the complainant.
CONTRARY TO LAW4cralawred
x x x ["AAA"] positively identified the two suspects to be the same persons who robbed and raped her. She cannot be mistaken because she has been familiar with the two since they were seen by her around the vicinity of CAP and along Visitacion Street whenever she comes home from work. During that fateful evening, when she noticed that there were persons who followed her, she was frightened and when they were about 8 meters away, she turned around to have a good look at the said persons and saw the two familiar faces of the accused who were seen earlier as she passed by the CAP building. An hour after the incident, she immediately and positively identified the culprits at the police station. The police officers who responded to the alarm and in the hot pursuit operation, collared accused at an alley in the interior portion at the back of CAP. The arresting officers were able to seize from them the calculator owned by the victim and the two fifty-peso bills which is the amount left of the P480.00 cash money taken from her.
It is established in evidence that there was forceful penile penetration as shown by the medical certificate and presence of spermatozoa. The puncture wound indubitably indicates that a sharp instrument was pointed to her neck. The abrasions and hematoma found in the body of the victim [are] consistent with the struggle put up by the rape victim, as evidence of rape abound.8
WHEREFORE, finding the two accused GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged, this Court hereby sentences each to suffer the supreme penalty of DEATH by lethal injection. They are jointly and solidarity adjudged liable to indemnify the victim as follows:
1. One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00) - as civil indemnity ex delicto;
2. One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00) - as moral damages;
3. One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00) in medical expenses;
4. One Thousand Four Hundred Pesos (P1,400.00) unearned income;
They are also ordered to restore unto the complainant the wristwatch or if not feasible, to pay the value thereof; and to return the money taken in cash amounting to P380.00. The two fifty-peso bills, as well as the calculator, used as evidence, is released and returned to her.
xxx Inadmissibility of these out-of-court identifications [does] not render the in-court identification of accused-appellants inadmissible for being the 'fruits of the poisonous tree.' These in-court identifications were what formed the bases of the trial court's conviction of the accused-appellants. As they were not derived or drawn from the illegal arrest of accused-appellants or as a consequence thereof, they are admissible as evidence against them.10
In the present case, rape was undoubtedly committed by the accused-appellants when they forcibly dragged the victim to a vacant lot, removed her clothes, and took turns in raping her by placing their penis inside her vagina. Contraiy to defendants-appellants' allegations that the victim did not shout or never resisted on the carnal acts, thus, there was no element of force or intimidation, records revealed and as already discussed above, the victim was continuously intimidated by accused-appellants' threat of killing her when she resists or shouts, AAA has no other recourse but to give in to accused-appellants' orders so as to preserve her life and safety. In any case, the law does not impose upon a rape victim the burden of proving resistance. Physical resistance need not be established in rape when intimidation is exercised upon the victim and she submits herself against her will to the rapist's lust because of fear for life and personal safety.
Moreover, the Supreme Court has ruled that due to its intimate nature, rape is usually a crime bereft of witnesses, and, more often than not, the victim is left to testify for herself. Thus, in the resolution of rape cases, the victim's credibility becomes the primordial consideration. It is settled that when the victim's testimony is straightforward, convincing, and consistent with human nature and the normal course of things, unflawed by any material or significant inconsistency, it passes the test of credibility, and the accused may be convicted solely on the basis thereof. The trial court's assessment of the witnesses' credibility is given great weight and is even conclusive and binding.
In the present case, the victim gave a straightforward and positive narrative of the events which only evinces the veracity of her testimony. The medical certificate issued by Dr. Maniwang is likewise consistent with the possibility that the complainant had been a victim of rape. In addition, AAA promptly reported the incident to the police further bolstering her credibility. The incident occurred in the early hours of March 18, 2002, and immediately after going to the hospital for examination, she went to the Fuente [Osmena] Police Station and exposed her ordeal in the hands of the accused-appellants.
Besides, the accused-appellants failed to prove any ulterior or improper motive which could have induced the victim and her witness to testify against or falsely implicate them in the commission of the crime. Indeed, if an accused had really nothing to do with the crime, it is against the natural order of events and human nature and against the presumption of good faith that the prosecution witness would falsely testify against the former. Thus, we adhere to the established rule that in the absence of any evidence to show that the witnesses for the prosecution were actuated by any improper motive, their identification of the accused-appellants should be given full faith and credit.11
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal is DENIED. The January 31, 2006 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City in Criminal Case Number CBU-62026 convicting accused-appellants for the crime of Roberry with Multiple Rape is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS.
Accused-appellants Ronald Gabuya and Ryanneal Giron are found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the special complex crime of robbery with rape and are hereby sentenced to reclusion perpetua without eligibility of parole pursuant to R.A. 9346. They are ordered to make reparation for the value of the items they unlawfully took; such as the wristwatch, cash amounting to Php3 80.00, two (2) fifty peso bills, and calculator. They are solidarity liable to pay AAA Php75,000.00 as civil indemnity; Php75,000.00 as moral damages, Php30,000.00 as exemplary damages and interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum on all the damages awarded from date of finality of this judgment until fully paid. The award of medical expense and unearned income are DELETED.
*Per Special Order No. 2353 dated June 2,2016.
1 CA rollo, pp. 100-117; penned by Associate Justice Carmelita Salandanan-Manahan and concurred in by Associate Justices Ramon Paul L. Hernando and Ma. Luisa Quijano-Padilla.
2 Id. at 59-65; penned by Judge Olegario R. Sarmiento, Jr.
3 Pursuant to Republic Act No. 9262, otherwise known as the "Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004" and its implementing rules, the real name of the victim, together with that of her immediate family members, is withheld and fictitious initials instead are used to represent her, both to protect her privacy. [People v. Cabalquinto, 533 Phil. 703 (2006).]
4 Records, p. 1.
5 TSN, September 3,2002, p. 9.
6 Id. at 10.
8 Records, pp. 95-96.
9 Id. at 96-97.
10 CA rollo, p. 109.
11 Id. at 112-113.
12 Id. at 116-117.
13People v. Amper, 634 Phil 283, 290 (2010).