G.R. No. 192820, June 04, 2014
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. RENATO DELA CRUZ, Accused-Appellant.
D E C I S I O N
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
[CRIMINAL CASE NO. 3253-M-2004]
That on or about the 9th day of September 2003, in [XXX], and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, father of the offended party, [AAA], did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, by means of force, violence and intimidation and with lewd designs, have carnal knowledge of the said [AAA], then fifteen (15) years old, against her will and without her consent.
[CRIMINAL CASE NO. 3254-M-2004]
That sometime in the month of October 1999, in [XXX], and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, father of the offended party, [AAA], did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, by means of force, violence and intimidation and with lewd designs, have carnal knowledge of the said [AAA], then eleven (11) years old, against her will and without her consent.
[AAA] is the third of four (4) girls in the family of [CCC] and Renato dela Cruz, the herein accused-appellant. The family is living in a one-storey house with one bedroom in [XXX]. [CCC] the mother works as a “labandera” and “plantsadora” while the father is a “mananari” or the person installing the bladed instrument during cockfights. The mother usually leaves the house early in the morning to sell at the Bocaue market.
One early morning in October of 1999, [AAA] was roused from sleep after she felt a touch from somebody. It turned out to be her father who immediately covered her mouth and told her to keep quiet. Out of shock and fear, she was not able to do anything and just laid down while her father kissed and touched her private parts. [AAA] was only eleven (11) years old at that time.
On 09 September 2003, [AAA] and her three (3) sisters were in the bedroom while their parents were sleeping in the sala. At about 3:00 o’clock in the morning of that date, [AAA] was awakened by the touch (kalabit) on her foot by her father; her mother was then out to the market. When she sat on the bed, accused-appellant forcibly held her hand to stand up and led her out of the room. Overcome by fear, she offered no resistance as her father laid her on the bed at the sala. In an instant, accused-appellant inserted his penis in her vagina -- totally impervious of her well-being as a daughter and a budding young woman.
Moments later, [AAA’s] eldest sister [BBB] woke up to urinate; as she switched on the lights at the sala, she was horrified to see accused-appellant on top of her sister with a blanket covering the lower part of their bodies. Caught by surprise, accused-appellant hurriedly stood up, put on his pants while holding his brief and proceeded to the kitchen in pursuit of [BBB]. On the other hand, [AAA] quickly went out of the house without a word. [BBB] looked for her and eventually proceeded to their aunt’s house to tell what she witnessed. Later in the day, [BBB] also told her mother about the incident.
The examination of the medico-legal officer on [AAA] concluded that “subject is in a non-virgin state physically.”9 (Citations omitted.)ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
In his defense, accused Renato dela Cruz testified that [AAA], private complainant herein, is [his] daughter; that he has four (4) children; that [i]n September 2003 and in the year 1999, he was residing in [XXX] together with his family; that his eldest daughter [BBB] testified before this Court against him; that prior to September 2003, he and his daughter [BBB] were having frequent arguments regarding his child with another woman as he wanted his child to go to school; that on the said date, his child with another woman was living in the house of his parents in Nueva Ecija; that before they filed the instant cases against him, [BBB] told him “Putang-ina mo, Tatay. Wala kang kwentang magulang”; that prior to September 2003, his relationship with the victim was good; that nothing happened on September 9, 2003 and in [the] year 1999, and the reason why her daughter filed a case against him was that she got mad about his wrongdoings to his wife; that on September 9, 2003 at 3:00 o’clock in the morning, he was in their house sleeping, and he was awakened when his wife woke him up to inform him that she was going to the tiangge in Bocaue, Bulacan; that on that particular date, he slept in the sala while [AAA] slept in the room together with her siblings; that he did not rape the victim on September 9, 2003, nor did he touched (sic) her “maseselang bahagi ng katawan” in the year 1999.
On cross-examination, this witness testified that on September 9, 2003, he was living together with the victim and his wife under one roof.10cralawlawlibrary
(a) In Crim. Case No. 3254-M-04 Guilty of the lesser crime of Acts of Lasciviousness, and hereby sentences him to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six (6) months of arresto mayor as minimum to six (6) years of prision correccional as maximum.
The accused is likewise directed to indemnify the private complainant in the amount of P50,000.00.
(b) In Crim. Case No. 3253-M-04, Guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime as charged, and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA.
The accused is likewise directed to indemnify the private complainant in the amount of P100,000.00.11
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 13 of Malolos, Bulacan in Criminal Cases Nos. 3253-M-04 and 3254-M-04 is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
(1) In Criminal Case No. 3253-M-04, appellant Renato dela Cruz is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua with no possibility of parole and is further ordered to pay the following:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrarya) P75,000.00 as civil indemnity;
b) P75,000.00 as moral damages; and
c) P30,000.00 as exemplary damages.
2 In Criminal Case No. 3254-M-04, appellant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Acts of Lasciviousness and sentences him to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six (6) months of arresto mayor as minimum to six (6) years of prision correccional as maximum and to indemnify the private complainant the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity.
Costs de oficio.12cralawlawlibrary
ART. 266-A. Rape, When and How Committed. – Rape is committed –
1. By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
a. Through force, threat or intimidation;
b. When the offended party is deprived of reason or is otherwise unconscious;
c. By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority;
d. When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present.
ART. 336. Acts of lasciviousness.- Any person who shall commit any act of lasciviousness upon other persons of either sex, under any of the circumstances mentioned in the preceding article, shall be punished by prision correccional.
Jurisprudence instructs that when the credibility of a witness is of primordial consideration, as in this case, the findings of the trial court, its calibration of the testimonies of the witnesses and its assessment of the probative weight thereof, as well as its conclusions anchored on said findings are accorded respect if not conclusive effect. This is because the trial court has had the unique opportunity to observe the demeanor of a witness and was in the best position to discern whether they were telling the truth. When the trial court’s findings have been affirmed by the appellate court, as in the present case, said findings are generally binding upon this Court. (Citation omitted.)ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
In rape cases, the testimony of complainant must be considered and calibrated in its entirety, and not in its truncated portion or isolated passages thereof. The true meaning of answers to questions propounded to a witness is to be ascertained with due consideration of all the questions and answers given thereto. The whole impression or effect of what has been said or done must be considered, and not individual words or phrases alone. Facts imperfectly stated in answer to a question may be supplied or clarified by one’s answer to other questions. (Citations omitted.)
Art. 266-B. Penalties. – x x x.
The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the following aggravating/qualifying circumstances:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
1. When the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, stepparent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim. (Emphasis ours.)ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
1Rollo, pp. 2-13; penned by Associate Justice Marlene Gonzales-Sison with Associate Justices Andres B. Reyes, Jr. and Vicente S.E. Veloso, concurring.
2 Records, pp. 87-92; penned by Presiding Judge Andres B. Soriano.
3 Id. at 87.
4 The real name and other personal circumstances of the private complainant and those of her immediate family members are withheld per Republic Act No. 7610 (Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act); Republic Act No. 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004); and A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC effective 15 November 2004 (Rule on Violence Against Women and Their Children). See People v. Cabalquinto, 533 Phil. 703 (2006).
5 Records, p. 11.
6 TSN, May 16, 2005; TSN, June 27, 2005; TSN, August 1, 2005.
7 TSN, October 17, 2005; TSN, November 21, 2005.
8 TSN, December 11, 2006; TSN, February 12, 2007.
9 CA rollo, pp. 58-60.
10 Records, p. 90.
11 Id. at 92.
12Rollo, p. 12.
13People v. Trayco, G.R. No. 171313, August 14, 2009, 596 SCRA 233, 244.
14People v. Velasco, G.R. No. 190318, November 27, 2013.
15 Records, p. 41.
16 616 Phil. 498, 512 (2009).
17 G.R. No. 176743, July 28, 2010, 626 SCRA 77, 96.
18 TSN, August 1, 2005, pp. 10-11.
19 Supra note 16 at 513.
20 Records, p. 42.
21 TSN, December 11, 2006, p. 3.
22 Republic Act No. 9346 is entitled An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines. The law took effect on June 30, 2006.
23People v. Dimanawa, G.R. No. 184600, March 9, 2010, 614 SCRA 770, 783.
24 Art. 64. Rules for the application of penalties which contain three periods. — In cases in which the penalties prescribed by law contain three periods, whether it be a single divisible penalty or composed of three different penalties, each one of which forms a period in accordance with the provisions of Articles 76 and 77, the courts shall observe for the application of the penalty the following rules, according to whether there are or are no mitigating or aggravating circumstances:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
x x x x
3. When only an aggravating circumstance is present in the commission of the act, they shall impose the penalty in its maximum period.
25People v. Banzuela, G.R. No. 202060, December 11, 2013.
26People v. Pareja, G.R. No. 202122, January 15, 2014.