G.R. No. 206419, June 01, 2016
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. RUBEN DELA ROSA, Accused-Appellant.
R E S O L U T I O N
Before us for review is the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in C.A. G.R. CR-H.C. No. 03818 dated 28 September 2012, which dismissed the appeal of appellant Ruben dela Rosa and affirmed with modifications the Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Binangonan, Rizal, Branch 67, in Criminal Case No. 05-373, finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Qualified Rape.
In line with the ruling of this Court in People v. Cabalquinto,3 the real name and identity of the rape victim, as well as the members of her immediate family, are not disclosed. The rape victim shall herein be referred to as A A A, and her mother as BBB.
Appellant was charged with the crime of rape in an Information, the accusatory portion of which reads as follows:
That, sometime in June, 2004, in the Municipality of Binangonan, Province of Rizal, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above named accused, taking advantage of his moral authority and influence to the offended party, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with [AAA], a thirty-one (31) year old woman with a mental age of a nine (9) year old minor, against the latter's will and consent, the said crime having been attended by the qualifying circumstance that the accused knew of the mental disability, emotional disorder and/or physical handicap of his victim at the time of the commission of the offense, the offended party being a retardate is deprived of reason, aggravated by the circumstances of abuse of superior strength, dwelling and the act having been committed with insult or in disregard of the respect due the offended party on account of her mental disability, to the damage and prejudice of said victim [AAA].4ChanRoblesVirtualawlibraryAppellant pleaded not guilty to the crime charged. Trial on the merits ensued.
The foregoing considered, we find the accused Ruben Dela Rosa GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of qualified rape under Article 266-A, Paragraph 1 (d) in relation to Article 266-B, Revised Penal Code and sentence him to serve a penalty of Reclusion Perpetua. We further order him to pay P50,000.00 as moral damages and P50,000.00 as exemplary damages plus costs.10ChanRoblesVirtualawlibraryOn intermediate review, the Court of Appeals rendered the assailed decision affirming with modifications the trial court's judgment, to wit:
IN VIEW OF ALL THESE, the appealed Decision convicting accused-appellant Ruben Dela Rosa in Criminal Case No. 05-373 is AFFIRMED, with the following MODIFICATIONS:Appellant filed the instant appeal. In a Resolution12 dated 19 June 2013, appellant and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) were asked to file their respective supplemental briefs if they so desired. Both parties opted to dispense with the filing of supplemental briefs.13
a) The award of Moral Damages to be paid by accused-appellant to AAA is increased from Php 50,000.00 to Php 75,000.00; b) The award of Exemplary Damages to be paid by accused-appellant to AAA is decreased from Php 50,000.00 to Php 30,000.00; and, c) Accused-appellant is ordered to pay AAA the amount of Php 75,000.00 as Civil Indemnity.11
Article 266-A. Rape; When and How committed. - Rape is committed -Carnal knowledge of a woman who is a mental retardate is rape under the aforesaid provisions of law. Proof of force or intimidation is not necessary, as a mental retardate is not capable of giving consent to a sexual act. What needs to be proven are the facts of sexual congress between the accused and the victim, and the mental retardation of the latter.151.) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:x x x x
a. Through force, threat or intimidation;
b. When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious;
c. By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and
d. When the woman is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present.
Article 266-B. Penalty- Rape under paragraph 1 of the next preceding article shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.
x x x x
The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:
x x x x
10. When the offender knew of the mental disability, emotional disorder and/or physical handicap of the offended party at the time of the commission of the crime.14ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Appellant, on the other hand, denied having raped AAA and averred that he and his family had already been living somewhere else at the time of the alleged commission of the offense. He even testified of some barangay complaint his wife had purportedly filed against BBB and the latter's sister, perhaps to intimate ill motive on the part of AAA and family in the filing of the instant case. Notably, except for appellant's testimony, defense did not formally offer as evidence this supposed barangay complaint.
Q Kilala mo ba si Ruben Dela Rosa? A Opo. Q Nandito ba si Ruben ngayon? Ituro mo nga. A (Witness pointing to a person wearing prisoner's uniform who when asked his name answered Ruben Dela Rosa) Q Paano mo tinatawag si Ruben? Ben ba, papa ba o daddy? A Daddy. Q Noong buwan ng June, 2004, saan nakatira itong si Daddy? Sa inyo ba o sa kapit-bahay ba? A Sa bahay namin. Q Si Ruben ba mabait sa'yo o salbahe? A Ni-rape ako... COURT [AAA] anong ginawa sa'yo? WITNESS (Witness demonstrating with hands that she was raped) Q Saan ginawa sa'yo? A Sa kwarto. x x x x Q Tapos nakahiga ka at pumasok sya, anong kauna-unahan nyang ginawa? A Hinubad yung t-shirt ko tapos yung bra. COURT Anong ginawa nya sayo [AAA]? Hinawak-hawakan nya yung dede mo? WITNESS (Witness nodding) Q Tapos a no pang ginawa bukod sa hinawakan nya yung dede mo? Hinalikan o dinede? A Hinalikan. x x x x Q Pagkahubad nya nung palda mo at nung panty mo anong ginawa nyang sumunod? A Pinasok nya (Witness demonstrating with hands, her finger pointing to the palm that the penis of the accused was inserted to her vagina)17
Given AAA's appearance, and considering that appellant and his family have lived with AAA and BBB for a length of time, appellant could only have been too aware of the apparent and noticeable fact of AAA's mental condition.25cralawred
Q Can you tell us the mental condition of your daughter? A Ang anak ko po, mabait naman siya. Q No, her mental condition. A Tumutulo po ang laway nya, ganun minsan. COURT Q Mababa ang IQ? A Yes, Your Honor. PROSECUTOR ARAGONES Q Is she mentally retarded? A Yes, Ma'am.24
* Additional Member per Raffle dated 18 May 2016.
1Rollo, pp. 2-16; Penned by Associate Justice Michael P. Elbinias with Associate Justices Isaias P. Dicdican and Nina G. Antonio-Valenzuela concurring.
2 Records, pp. 104-105; Presided by Presiding Judge Dennis Patrick Z. Perez.
3 533 Phil. 703 (2006).
4 Records, p 1.
5 TSN, 4 October 2007, pp. 3-6.
6 TSN, 17 January 2008, pp. 5-8.
7 TSN, 4 October 2007, pp. 7-8.
8 TSN, 3 May 2007, p. 9; Exhibit "A," and Records, pp. 53-54.
9 TSN, 31 July 2008, pp. 3-6.
10 Records, p. 105.
11Rollo, p. 15.
12 Id. at 22.
13 Id. at 27-28 and 30-31.
14 Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 8353, otherwise known as the "The Anti-Rape Law of 1997."
15People v. Magabo, 402 Phil. 977, 983-984 (2001).
16People v. Pascua, 462 Phil. 245, 252 (2003).
17 TSN, 17 January 2008, pp. 5-8.
18People v. Tagana, 468 Phil. 784, 807 (2004).
19 Id. at 807-808.
20 See People v. Lerio, 381 Phil. 80, 88 (2000).
21 See People v. Toralba, 414 Phil. 793, 800 (2001).
22People v. Dalandas, 442 Phil. 688, 697 (2002).
23 Exhibit "A," pp. 53-54.
24 TSN, 4 October 2007, pp. 8-10.cralawred
25 TSN, 4 June 2008, p. 3.
26People v. Dela Paz, 569 Phil. 684, 705 (2008) citing People v. Itdang, 397 Phil. 692, 704 (2000).cralawred
27 Otherwise known as "An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines."
28People v. Gambao, G.R. No. 172707, 1 October 2013, 706 SCRA 508.
29People v. Vitero, G.R. No. 175327, 3 April 2013, 695 SCRA 54, 69.