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PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. Nos. 142561-62. February 15, 2002.]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JOSE VELASQUEZ y LUALHATI @ "UTE" and "BANGKUTA", Accused-Appellant.

D E C I S I O N


YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:


These cases are before us on automatic review pursuant to Article 47 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. 1

Accused-appellant Jose Velasquez y Lualhati was charged in two separate informations for rape, committed as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

Criminal Case No. 9278 —

That sometime in the month of December, 1997 at Sitio Maysahing, Brgy. Haligue Silangan, Batangas City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, motivated by lust and lewd design, by means of force, violence and intimidation, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge to (sic) one Annine 2 de Guzman y Lualhati, a 9-year old girl, against the latter’s will and consent.

That the commission of the offense was attended by the aggravating circumstance of grave abuse of trust and confidence, the accused being the uncle of the undersigned offended party.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

CONTRARY TO LAW. 3

Criminal Case No. 9281 —

That sometime in the month of December, 1997 at Sitio Maysahing, Brgy. Haligue Silangan, Batangas City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, motivated by lust and lewd design, by means of force, violence and intimidation, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge to (sic) one Nancy de Guzman y Lualhati, a 6-year old girl, against the latter’s will and consent.

That the commission of the offense was attended by the aggravating circumstance of grave abuse of trust and confidence, the accused being the uncle of the undersigned offended party.

CONTRARY TO LAW. 4

The two cases were assigned to Branch 4 of the Regional Trial Court of Batangas City. At his arraignment, Accused-appellant entered a plea of not guilty to the two charges. 5

After trial, the court a quo rendered judgment as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

WHEREFORE, Accused Jose Velasquez y Lualhati alias "Ute" alias "Bangkuta" is hereby sentenced to Death in the manner provided for by law in each of these two (2) cases. Further, he is directed to indemnify Annie de Guzman y Lualhati and her sister, Nancy de Guzman y Lualhati in the amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) each and to pay the costs.

SO ORDERED. 6

From the evidence of the prosecution, it appears that one afternoon sometime in December, 1997, Annie de Guzman, then nine years old, was asked by her Tia Arda, wife of accused-appellant, to come to their house to take care of their baby, Rica. While Annie was in the house, Accused-appellant dragged her into the bedroom. He made Annie lie down on the floor and then took off her panties. Then accused-appellant unzipped his pants and took his penis out of his briefs. He lay on top of Annie and made jerking motions, trying to insert his penis into her vagina. Annie felt pain in her genitals. However, she did not shout because she was afraid. 7

After a while, Annie felt hot sticky substance come out of accused-appellant’s organ. Then accused-appellant put on his briefs and left. Annie also put on her panties and went out to take care of Rica. 8

Subsequently, on December 11, 1997, Annie’s sister, six-year old Nancy, was brought by accused-appellant to a banana plantation near their house. Accused-appellant undressed Nancy and took off his clothes. Then he lay himself on top of Nancy and inserted his penis into her vagina, causing her to feel pain. Accused-appellant told Nancy not to shout and she obeyed him. Moments later, Nancy felt something sticky come out of accused-appellant’s penis. When accused-appellant got up, she saw white fluid on his penis. After sexually abusing Nancy, Accused-appellant gave her three pesos. 9

When Nancy got home, her mother, Luisa, noticed that she was behaving strangely. When she asked Nancy, the latter told her what happened. She inspected Nancy’s vagina and saw that it was reddish. Immediately, she brought her to the Batangas Regional Hospital for medical examination. From there, they proceeded to the police station to report what happened. 10

Nancy told her mother that accused-appellant also raped her older sister, Annie. Luisa confronted Annie, and the latter confirmed she had been raped by Accused-Appellant. Thus, Annie was also brought to the Batangas Regional Hospital for medical examination, then to police headquarters to report the incident. 11

Accused-appellant denied the charges. When asked why his nieces filed the complaints against him, he testified that their parents envied him because he was closer to his parents-in-law. On the other hand, his brother-in-law and his parents-in-law did not see eye to eye. 12

In his Appellant’s Brief, Accused-appellant maintains that the evidence of the prosecution was insufficient to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. He makes capital of the findings of the Medico-Legal Officer, Dr. Melissa Lim, that the hymens of Annie and Nancy were both intact and had no lacerations.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

We are not convinced.

In order to establish rape, it is not necessary to show that the hymen was ruptured, as full penetration of the penis is not an indispensable requirement. Even the absence of spermatozoa in the vagina or thereabouts does not negate the commission of rape. What is fundamental is that the entrance, or at least the introduction of the male organ into the labia of the pudendum, is proved. The mere introduction of the male organ into the labia majora of the victim’s genitalia, and not the full penetration of the complainant’s private part, consummates the crime. Hence, the "touching" or "entry" of the penis into the labia majora or the labia minora of the pudendum of the victim’s genitalia constitutes consummated rape. 13

. . . Jurisprudence abound that full or complete penetration of the vaginal orifice is not required to consummate rape, for what is essential is the introduction of the male organ into the labia of the pudendum, no matter how slight. In People v. Villanueva, 14 this Court emphasized: "In order that the crime of rape may be consummated, the successful penetration by the rapist of the female’s genital is not indispensable. Penile invasion, it has often been held, necessarily entails contact with the labia and even the briefest of contacts under - circumstances of force, intimidation or unconsciousness, even without laceration of the hymen, is deemed to be rape in our jurisprudence." 15

To be sure, a medical examination of the victim, as well as a medical certificate, is merely corroborative in character and is not an essential element of rape. 16 The accused may be convicted even on the basis of the lone uncorroborated testimony of the rape victim, provided that her testimony is clear, positive, convincing and otherwise consistent with human nature and the normal course of things. 17

After a careful scrutiny of the testimonies of the two victims in the cases at bar, we find that their narration of the events are worthy of credit. They contain peculiar details, specifically referring to the male genitalia, which could not have been known to girls of their young age. Moreover, they did not waver even during cross-examination. They remained consistent in their story. In sharp contrast, Accused-appellant merely offered bare denials of the rape charges. Indeed, our review of the records point to no other conclusion than that the trial court did not err in convicting accused-appellant of the two counts of rape.

It bears stressing that the victims herein are minors, whose testimonies therefore deserve full credence. 18 Courts usually give greater weight to the testimony of the victim of a sexual assault, especially a minor. No woman would be willing to undergo a public trial and put up with the shame, the humiliation and the dishonor of exposing her own degradation were it not to condemn an injustice and to have the offender apprehended and punished. The embarrassment and stigma she suffers in allowing an examination of her private parts and testifying in open court on the painfully intimate details of her ravishment effectively rule out the possibility of a false accusation of rape. Her account of her horrible ordeal evinces sincerity and truthfulness. 19

However, the trial court erred in imposing the death penalty on accused-appellant, applying Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7659. We have consistently held that the circumstances under the amendatory provisions of Section 11 of R.A. No. 7659, the attendance of which could mandate the imposition of the single indivisible penalty of death, are in the nature of qualifying circumstances which cannot be proved as such unless alleged in the information. Even in cases were such circumstances are proved, the death penalty cannot be imposed where the information failed to allege them. To impose the death penalty on the basis of a qualifying circumstance which has not been alleged in the information would violate the accused’s constitutional and statutory right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. 20

While the informations in this case alleged that accused-appellant is the uncle of the two victims, they did not state that he is their relative within the third civil degree of consanguinity or affinity. The testimonial evidence that accused-appellant’s wife and Luisa de Guzman are sisters 21 is immaterial. The circumstance that accused-appellant is a relative of the victims by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree must be alleged in the information. In the case at bar, the allegation that accused-appellant is the uncle of private complainants was not sufficient to satisfy the special qualifying circumstance of relationship. It was necessary to specifically allege that such relationship was within the third civil degree. 22 Hence, Accused-appellant can only be convicted of simple rape on two counts, for which the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua in each case.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

Finally, we agree with the trial court’s award of civil indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00 to each victim. It has been the policy of the Court to award an amount not exceeding P50,000.00 to victims of rape upon an indubitable showing of its commission, which award is categorized as civil indemnity ex delicto. 23 In addition, however, a separate award for moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00 should be given to compensate for the appalling and outrageous sexual violence which will most certainly haunt these young victims for the rest of their lives. 24

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Consolidated Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Batangas City, Branch 4, in Criminal Cases Nos. 9278 and 9281, finding accused-appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of rape, is AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION. Accused-appellant is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for each count of rape, and to pay each of private complainants Annie de Guzman y Lualhati and Nancy de Guzman y Lualhati the amounts of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages.

Costs de officio.

SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Buena, De Leon, Jr., Sandoval-Gutierrez and Carpio, JJ., concur.

Endnotes:



1. By Republic Act No. 7659, Section 22.

2. Should read "Annie" .

3. Rollo, p. 5.

4. Ibid., p. 7.

5. Record, p. 12.

6. Consolidated Decision dated December 28, 1999; Record, pp. 171-178, at 177-178; penned by Judge Conrado R. Antona.

7. TSN, December 14, 1998, pp. 4-6.

8. Ibid., pp. 18-20.

9. TSN, February 2, 1999, pp. 4-5, 7.

10. TSN, November 3, 1998, pp. 12-13.

11. Ibid., pp. 6-8.

12. TSN, June 9, 1999, pp. 11-12; TSN, July 7, 1999, pp. 8-9.

13. People v. Aguiluz, G.R. No. 133480, March 15, 2001.

14. 339 SCRA 482 [2000].

15. People v. Makilang, G.R. No. 139329, October 23, 2001; emphasis and underscoring copied.

16. People v. Asuncion, G.R. No. 123916, June 19, 2001.

17. People v. Carino, G.R. No. 131203, August 2, 2001; People v. Abacia, G.R. Nos. 13555253, June 21, 2001; People v. Buenviaje, G.R. No. 130949, April, 4, 2001.

18. People v. Fernandez, G.R. No. 137647, February 1, 2001.

19. People v. Manayan, G.R. Nos. 142741-42, October 25, 2001.

20. People v. Panganiban, G.R. Nos. 138439-41, June 25, 2001.

21. TSN, November 3, 1998, p. 4.

22. People v. Libo-on, G.R. No. 136737, May 23, 2001.

23. People v. Manayan, supra.; People v. Rapisora, G.R. No. 140934-35, October 23, 2001.

24. People v. Madia, G.R. No. 130524, June 20, 2001.

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