G.R. No. 220889, July 05, 2017
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. MARLON BELMONTE Y SUMAGIT, MARVIN BELMONTE Y SUMAGIT, ENRILE GABAY Y DELA TORRE A.K.A "PUNO", AND NOEL BAAC Y BERGULA, Accused,
MARLON BELMONTE Y SUMAGIT, Accused-Appellant.
D E C I S I O N
Accused-appellant Marlon Belmonte y Sumagit assails the Decision1 dated April 22, 2014 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 05774, affirming his conviction for Robbery with Rape in Criminal Case No. 135982-H.
The Prosecution, through the undersigned Public Prosecutor, charges Marlon Belmonte y Sumagit, Marvin Belmonte y Sumagit and Enrile Gabay y Dela Torre @ "Puno" with the crime of robbery with rape, committed as follows:The trial of the case proceeded against the accused-appellant, his cohorts, Marvin and Enrile, who all pleaded not guilty to the crime charged. However, Noel remained at large.4On or about September 1, 2007, in Pasig City and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above accused, armed with a gun, conspiring and confederating together with one Noel Baac who is still at-large and all of them mutually helping and aiding one another, with intent to gain and by means of force, violence and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, steal, and divest from complainants the following, to wit:x x x [A]nd on the occasion thereof said Noel Baac, by means of force, threats and intimidation and with the use of a gun, willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously, have carnal knowledge with AAA,2 against her will and consent, which is aggravated by the circumstances of nighttime and dwelling, to the damage and prejudice of the said victim.
x x x x
Contrary to law.3
WHEREFORE, the Court finds accused Marlon Belmonte y Sumagit, Marvin Belmonte y Sumagit, and Enrile Gabay y Dela Torre a.k.a. "Puno" guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Robbery with Rape and hereby sentences each of them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The accused are also ordered to jointly and severally pay Hiroshi Emmanuel L. Zorilla the amount of P23,000.00, as actual damages; Spouses Teodora and Robert Dela Cruz, the amount of P132,150.00, as actual damages; and [AAA], the amount of P50,000.00, as civil indemnity and P50,000.00, as moral damages.On appeal, the CA modified the trial court's decision as follows:
WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision dated June 6, 2012 is modified as follows:Only accused-appellant appealed to this Court for review.(1) Accused-appellant Enrile Gabay y Dela Torre is acquitted on ground of reasonable doubt Unless detained for some other lawful reasons, accused-appellant Enrile Gabay y Dela Torre is hereby ordered released immediately.SO ORDERED.12
(2) Accused-appellant Marvin Belmonte is hereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of simple robbery and .is sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment at 4 years and 2 months of prision correccional medium, as the minimum period, to 10 years of prision mayor maximum, as the maximum period. As ordered by the trial court, accused-appellant Marvin Belmonte and accused-appellant Marlon Belmonte should jointly and severally pay actual damages to Hiroshi Emmanuel Zorilla in the amount of Php23,000.00, and to spouses Teodora and Robert Dela Cruz in the amount of Php132,150.00.
(3) The conviction of accused-appellant Marlon Belmonte for robbery with rape is affirmed. He is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole. He is also ordered to pay AAA Php75,000.00 as civil indemnity, Php75,000.00 as moral damages and Php30,000.00 as exemplary damages, plus interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum on all damages awarded from the date of finality of judgment.
For a conviction of the crime of robbery with rape to stand, it must be shown that the rape was committed by reason or on the occasion of a robbery and not the other way around. This special complex crime under Article 294 of the RPC contemplates a situation where the original intent of the accused was to take, with intent to gain, personal property belonging to another and rape is committed on the occasion thereof or as an accompanying crime.15There is no basis to disturb the findings of the trial court as affirmed by the CA respecting accused-appellant's criminal culpability. The prosecution's evidence established with certainty that accused-appellant, together with his brother Marvin, and co-accused Noel, have intruded the house of spouses Teodora and Robert on the occasion of Hiroshi's birthday celebration thereat. They aided each other in divesting the guests of Hiroshi of their personal belongings through violence and intimidation. The evidence disclosed that they were armed with guns and knife, and they tied the hands of their victims and threatened them with harm if they disobeyed their orders. Noel and Marvin, on the same occasion, entered the room of spouses Teodora and Robert through the window and succeeded in taking away from their possession some pieces of jewelry, laptop, ATM card, and cash.
The trial court correctly convicted accused-appellant Marlon Belmonte of the special complex crime of robbery with rape even if he did not rape AAA, as accused-appellant Marlon Belmonte had the opportunity but did not endeavor to stop accused Noel Baac from raping AAA. x x x The accused's failure to prevent his co-accused from committing rape despite an opportunity to do so made him liable for the rape committed. x x x.18 (Emphasis and underscoring ours)While the evidence directly points to Noel as AAA's rapist, accused appellant did not prevent him from committing the lustful act despite an opportunity to do so.
In the course of the robbery, one of them, particularly Mamerto Soriano, succumbed to lustful desires and raped [the victim] while accused-appellants just stood outside the door and did nothing to prevent Mamerto Soriano. We have previously ruled that once conspiracy is established between two accused in the commission of the crime of robbery, they would be both equally culpable for the rape committed by one of them on the occasion of the robbery, unless any of them proves that he endeavored to prevent the other from committing the rape. The rule in this jurisdiction is that whenever a rape is committed as a consequence, or on the occasion of a robbery, all those who took part therein are liable as principals of the crime of robbery with rape, although not all of them took part in the rape. (Emphasis ours)As stated above, once conspiracy is established between several accused in the commission of the crime of robbery, as in the present case, they would all be equally culpable for the rape committed by anyone of them on the occasion of the robbery, unless anyone of them proves that he endeavored to prevent the others from committing rape.20 The immediately preceding condition is absent in this case. The factual finding of the trial court as affirmed by the CA is already irreversible holding that while accused-appellant did not rape AAA, he, however, did not endeavor to stop Noel despite an opportunity.
AAA's testimony was straightforward, candid and consistent on material points detailing the bestial act of accused Noel Baac in ravishing her. Besides, her statement was corroborated by the medical certificate dated September 7, 2007 finding AAA's genitals to have suffered from deep fresh laceration. No young and decent woman in her right mind especially of tender age as that of AAA who is 18 years old would concoct a story of defloration, allow the examination of her private parts and thereafter pervert herself by being subjected to a public trial, if she was not motivated solely by her desire to obtain justice for the wrong committed against her.21On the face of the evidence against him, accused-appellant's defense consisting merely of his bare allegation that he and his brother Marvin were at their house when the crime was committed does not persuade Us to rule in his favor. By their own admission, they live at 97 Eastbank Road, Kapitbahayan, Floodway, Sta. Lucia, Pasig City. It was easy for them to negotiate the distance between their house and the victims' house. Their place of residence and the place where the crime was committed are both situated in Barangay Sta. Lucia, and the distance could be negotiated within 15 minutes.
II. For Simple Rape/Qualified Rape:Accordingly, accused-appellant shall pay AAA civil indemnity of PhP 100,000, moral damages of PhP 100,000, and exemplary damages of PhP 100,000.
1.1 Where the penalty imposed is Death but reduced to reclusion perpetua because of RA 9346:
a. Civil indemnity - PhP 100,000.00
b. Moral damages - PhP 100,000.00
c. Exemplary damages - PhP 100,000.00
The trial court correctly awarded actual damages suffered by Hiroshi Emmanuel L. Zorilla and spouses Teodora and Robert Dela Cruz in the amounts of P23,000.00 and P132,150.00, respectively, as they are duly supported by receipts.25 (Emphasis ours)
Truly, actual damages to be compensable must be proven by clear evidence, as in this case.
WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is DISMISSED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 05774 dated April 22, 2014, finding accused-appellant Marlon Belmonte GUILTY of the crime of Robbery with Rape is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that the accused-appellant is ORDERED to pay AAA civil indemnity of PhP 100,000, moral damages of PhP 100,000, and exemplary damages of PhP 100,000. Interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum is imposed on all the damages awarded in this case from date of finality of this Decision until fully paid. The rest of the assailed CA Decision STANDS.
Carpio,*Velasco, Jr., (Chairperson), Bersamin, and Reyes, JJ., concur.
* Designated additional Member per Raffle dated March 15, 2017 vice Associate Justice Francis H. Jardeleza.
1 Penned by Associate Justice Fernanda Lampas Peralta, concurred in by Associate Justices Francisco P. Acosta and Myra V. Garcia-Fernandez; rollo, pp. 2-35.
2 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.
3 CA rollo, pp. 13-14.
4 Id. at 20.
5 Id. at 20-21.
6 Id. p.21-22.
7 Id. at 22.
8 Id. at 23.
9Rollo, p. 6.
11 CA rollo, p. 57.
12Rollo, pp. 33-34.
13People v. Tamayo, G.R. No. 137586, July 30, 2002.
14 G.R. No. 137586, July 30, 2002.
16People v. Cantila, Jr., G.R. No. 139458, December 27, 2002.
17People v. Catuiran, et al., G.R. No. 134761, October 17, 2000.
18Rollo, p. 32.
19 G.R. No. 130650, September 10, 2002.
20People v. Evangelio, G.R. No. 181902, August 31, 2011.
21Rollo, p. 25.
22 AN ACT PROHIBITING THE IMPOSITION OF DEATH PENALTY IN THE PHILIPPINES. Approved on June 24, 2006.
x x x x
Section 2. In lieu of the death penalty, the following shall be imposed.
(a) the penalty of reclusion perpetua, when the law violated makes use of the nomenclature of the penalties of the Revised Penal Code; or
x x x x
23Rollo, p. 32.
24 G.R. No. 202124, April 5, 2016.
25Rollo, p. 32.