G.R. No. 223678, July 05, 2017
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ALFREDO GUNSAY Y TOLENTINO, Defendant-Appellant.
D E C I S I O N
Accused-appellant Alfredo Gunsay y Tolentino assails the Decision1 dated May 20, 2015 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-HC. No. 06325, which affirmed with modification the Judgment dated April 18, 2013 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Urdaneta City, Pangasinan, Branch 49, in Criminal Case No. 13643. Accused-appellant was convicted of Rape and sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The CA ordered him to pay the private offended party the amounts of PhP 75,000 as civil indemnity, PhP 75,000 as moral damages, and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages. Accused-appellant was also ordered to pay legal interest on all damages awarded at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum from the date of finality of the decision until the same shall have been fully paid.
That on or about 8:00 o'clock in the morning of March 21, 2005 at Brgy. Santiago, Binalonan, Pangasinan and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, by means of force, violence and intimidation, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have sexual intercourse with AAA,2 minor, 17 years old, against her will and consent, to her damage and prejudice.Accused-appellant pleaded not guilty when arraigned. A pre-trial was conducted, and thereafter, trial on the merits ensued.
CONTRARY to Art. 266-A, par. 1, in rel. to Art. 266-B, 1st par., as amended by R.A. 8353.3
WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused ALFREDO GUNSAY y TOLENTINO, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape.On appeal, the CA affirmed accused-appellant's conviction and penalty of imprisonment of reclusion perpetua. The appellate court, however, modified the award of damages against accused-appellant:
Accordingly, he is sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua. All the time during which he is under preventive imprisonment shall be credited in his favor.
Accused is ordered to pay the offended party civil indemnity of Fifty Thousand Pesos (PhP50,000.00) and moral damages of Fifty Thousand Pesos (PhP50,000.00).
Without unnecessary delay, the accused is ordered committed to the Bureau of Corrections, Muntinlupa City for the service of his sentence.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the instant appeal is hereby ordered DENIED and, consequently, DISMISSED. The appealed Decision rendered by Branch 49 of the Regional Trial Court of the First Judicial Region in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan in Criminal Case No. 13643 which was dated April 18, 2013 is hereby AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the accused-appellant Alfredo Gunsay y Tolentino is ordered to pay the private offended party "AAA" the amounts of P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P75,000.00 as moral damages and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages. He is further ordered to pay legal interest on all damages awarded in this case at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum from the date of finality of this decision until the same shall have been fully paid.Accused-appellant now filed this instant appeal to this Court.
The gravan1en of the offense of rape is sexual intercourse with a woman against her will or without her consent. Thus, the prosecution must prove that (1) the offender had carnal knowledge of a woman; and (2) such act was accomplished through the use of force or intimidation; or when the victim is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; or when the victim is under twelve (12) years of age, or is demented.8By AAA's own testimony, accused-appellant punched her on the abdomen, pulled her to the cornfield, and placed grass in her mouth. Holding a knife and pointing it to AAA, accused-appellant removed her pants and panty, and succeeded in having sexual intercourse with her. He also threatened AAA not to report to anyone that she was raped.
Jurisprudence teaches that between categorical testimonies that ring of truth, on one hand, and a bare denial, on the other, the Court has strongly ruled that the former must prevail. Indeed, positive identification of the accused, when categorical and consistent, and without any ill motive on the part of the eyewitness testifying on the matter, prevails, over alibi and denial.13After going over the evidence presented by the prosecution and the defense in this case, the Court finds no reason to overturn the judgment of conviction rendered by the trial court, as affirmed by the CA, as the prosecution sufficiently proved accused-appellant's guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Particularly, the trial court correctly stated, viz.:
Unfortunately, for the prosecution witnesses, the use of any bladed weapon was not specifically alleged in the information and to consider such fact as an aggravating circumstance would violate the right of the accused to be informed of the the nature and cause of accusation against him. For such reason, the accused may be convicted of simple rape only under Article 266-A, paragraph 1, in relation to Article 266-B, paragraph 1 of Republic Act No. 8353.The order of the CA to pay AAA civil indemnity in the modified amount of PhP 75,000.00 and moral damages in the amount of PhP 75,000.00 is in order, thus, it is affirmed, except for the amount of exemplary damages in the amount of PhP 30,000.00. Said amount is increased pursuant to the guidelines laid down in People v. Jugueta,15 to wit:
x x x x
The penalty for the crime of rape under Article 266-A in relation to Article 266-B is reclusion perpetua. x x x.14 (Emphasis ours)
II. For Simple Rape/Qualified Rape:Accordingly, accused-appellant shall pay exemplary damages to AAA in the increased amount of PhP 75,000.
x x x x
2.1 Where the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua, other than the above mentioned:
a. Civil indemnity - P75,000.00
b. Moral damages - P75,000.00
c. Exemplary damages - P75,000.00
1 Penned by Associate Justice Isaias P. Dicdican, concurred in by Associate Justices Elihu A. Ybañez and Victoria Isabel A. Paredes; rollo, pp. 2-12.
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.
3Rollo, p. 3.
4 Id. at 6.
5 CA rollo, p. 109.
6Rollo, p. 11.
7 G.R. No. 137597, October 24, 2003.
9 CA rollo, p. 107.
10 Id. at 98.
11People v. Gopio, G.R. No. 133925, November 29, 2000.
12People v. Caiñgat, G.R. No. 137963, February 6, 2002.
13People v. Tejaro, G.R. No. 187744, June 20, 2012.
14 CA rollo, p. 108.
15 G.R. No. 202124, April 5, 2016.
16People v. Magallanes, G.R. No. 171731, August 11, 2006.