G.R. No. 215200, July 26, 2017
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. NOMERTO NAPOLES Y BAJAS, Accused-Appellant.
R E S O L U T I O N
DEL CASTILLO, J.:
This is an appeal from the Decision1 dated March 19, 2014 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 05565 affirming the Decision2 dated February 9, 2012 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Labo, Camarines Norte, Branch 64, in Criminal Case Nos. 02-0881, 03-1029 to 03-1033, finding Nomerto Napoles y Bajas (appellant) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape (six counts).
Version of the Prosecution
"AAA" was 19 years old when her stepfather, herein appellant, began raping her in November 2000. Appellant raped "AAA" six times, once every month, from November 2000 to April 2001.
"AAA" recounted her ordeal at the hands of appellant as follows:
Sometime in November 2000, while at home and listening to a radio program, appellant suddenly grabbed her by the arm, covered her mouth and poked her with a knife. She tried to get away but appellant punched her stomach and pushed her to the bed. While "AAA's" hands were tied over her head, appellant started to undress her, placed himself on top of "AAA" and inserted his penis into her vagina.
Sometime in December 2000, while "AAA" was sleeping alone in the bedroom, appellant, armed with a knife, entered the bedroom, covered her mouth, removed her shorts and panty and inserted his penis into her vagina. Appellant told "AAA" not to shout and threatened to kill her and her mother.
Sometime the following month, January 2001, while "AAA" was in the kitchen heating water, she noticed that somebody had closed the door in the living room. Upon checking it out, she saw appellant holding a bolo. After undressing "AAA," appellant removed his shorts, grabbed her and laid her on the floor. Appellant then inserted his penis into her vagina. All the while, appellant pointed his bolo to her and threatened to kill her if she shouted.
Again, sometime in February 2001, after appellant and "AAA's" mother left the house, the former returned and instructed "AAA" to open the kitchen door. Suddenly, appellant held "AAA's" neck and told her she would be killed if she would not give in. Appellant pinned "AAA" to the wall (pinasandal po ako sa dinding) and undressed her. After appellant removed his short pants, he inserted his penis into her vagina.
Her ordeal was repeated in March 2001. While "AAA" was cleaning their house, appellant suddenly grabbed her. He removed "AAA's" short pants and panty and after undressing himself, he inserted his penis into her vagina. Appellant threatened to kill her siblings if others would learn of what happened.
During the last incident sometime in April 2001, while "AAA" had just finished washing the dishes, appellant suddenly pulled "AAA" telling her, "sige gumalaw ka at humiyaw ka at papatayin kita." He pinned "AAA" against the wall and undressed her. Appellant also removed his short pants; while standing, he spread "AAA's" legs and inserted his penis into her vagma.
Dr. Virginia B. Mazo, the PNP Medico-Legal Officer of Labo, Camarines Norte, examined "AAA" and issued a medico-legal examination report.3 She testified, inter alia, that there is no evident sign of extragenital physical injury at the time of examination but was positive of signs of pregnancy; that the victim had successive penetrations because of the old healed lacerations of hymen due to constant use or possible sexual intercourses; that the victim's uterus is compatible to a 38-week age of gestation, thus she was already pregnant at the time of examination and that the victim was impregnated during the rape incidents.
As a result of her stepfather's molestation, "AAA" became pregnant and delivered a baby girl on November 11, 2001.
Accordingly, appellant was charged with six counts of rape before the Regional Trial Court of Labo, Camarines Norte, Branch 64.
Version of the Defense
In his defense, appellant denied having raped "AAA" during the months of November and December 2000. He proffered that he was either away from home or that family members were at home. However he admitted having sexual intercourse with "AAA" sometime in January, February, March and April 2001 but claimed that the same were consensual.
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
On February 9, 2012, the RTC rendered its Decision finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of six counts of rape and sentencing him for each count to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. He was also ordered to pay "AAA" the amounts of P50,000.00 as moral damages and P25,000.00 as exemplary damages for each offense.
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
On appeal, the CA affirmed the RTC Decision. Thus:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Appeal is DENIED. The assailed Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Labo, Camarines Norte, Branch 64 dated 9 February 2012 in Criminal Cases Nos. 02-0881, 03-1029 up to 03-1033 is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.
The trial court gravely erred in finding the accused-appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes charged.5
1 CA rollo, pp. 119-129; penned by Associate Justice Francisco P. Acosta and concurred in by Associate Justices Fernanda Lampas Peralta and Myra V. Garcia-Fernandez.
2 Records (Crim. Case No. 02-881), pp. 145-157; penned by Presiding Judge Rolando De Lemios Bobis.
3 Exhibit "A," id. at 9.
4 CA rollo, p. 128.
5 Id. at 33.
6People v. Amarillo, 692 Phil. 698, 711 (2012).
7People v. Rubio, 683 Phil. 714, 726 (2012).
8 687 Phil. 416, 435 (2012).
9People v. Delabajan, 685 Phil. 236, 241 (2012).
10People v. Jugueta, G.R. No. 202124, April 5, 2016, 788 SCRA 331, 383.